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Save to the Uttermost

11 October 2011 by Matt Gumm

Q. 43. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in his revealing to the church, in all ages, by his Spirit and Word, in divers ways of administration, the whole will of God, in all things concerning their edification and salvation.

Q. 44. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering himself a sacrifice without spot to God, to be a reconciliation for the sins of his people; and in making continual intercession for them.

Q. 45. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to himself, and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them; in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them for their sins, preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings, restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory, and their good; and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel.

In his book Vintage Jesus, Mark Driscoll 1 lays out the roles prophet, priest, and king against the backdrop of our modern society in a way that helps me get my arms around what is being said.

Driscoll makes an effective argument that to magnify some of these roles to the neglect of others throws the mission of Jesus out of balance. He uses three examples:
  • Prophet + King - Priest = Jesus of Shallow Fundamentalism
The strength of fundamentalism is its keen awareness of Jesus’ prophetic role as bold truth-teller and commander of repentance, along with his role as king who rules and reigns in all authority. However, they are also prone not to appreciate fully the priestly role of Jesus. As a result, God seems primarily cold, distant, stern, harsh, and even cruel.
  • Prophet + Priest - King = Jesus of Fluffy Evangelicalism
In this form of religion, people know that Jesus speaks the truth as their prophet and loves them as their priest. So when they sin, they know that Jesus will forgive them and still love them. But they still rule over their own life. When they need help, they read the Bible or ask Jesus to serve them. Practically, they don’t see Jesus ruling over them, but rather coming alongside them to help them to achieve their objectives.
  • Priest + King - Prophet = Jesus of Social Liberalism
Prone to understand Jesus as our priest, who is filled with grace, love, mercy, and tolerant patience, as well as our king, who rules over all peoples and seeks to extend to them grace, love, and mercy. However, the weakness of typical liberal Christianity is that it fails to fully appreciate the hard-edged role of Jesus as prophet. The sad result is that Jesus is seen as someone who would never offend us, raise his voice, hurt our feelings, speak harshly, or command individuals to repent with a sense of urgency because he is only infinitely patient, tolerant, and understanding.
I think Driscoll’s modern examples hammer home the point that the Catechism wants us to see: it isn’t just about believing in a Jesus, it is about believing in the Jesus—the one from the Bible; the one who takes care of all the things that are needed by us for life and godliness; the one who can save to the uttermost.

  1. Live with it.  He wrote a book that said something useful.  That's why the comments are open - leave your comments there.  


Rachael Starke

Really? Not even one drive-by discerno-blogger comment???

FWIW, a good friend and I spent dinner-time talking about this very topic of Jesus being Prophet, Priest and King, along with the implications thereof, as it relates to mothering frustrations. I heard it first from the Rev. Driscoll. Crazymaking aside, he, and you, are right on. Thank you both for saying it.

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