Editorial: Reflecting on Priests, Priesthood, and the Glory of Christ -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 22:2 (Summer 2018)
Article: Editorial: Reflecting on Priests, Priesthood, and the Glory of Christ
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Editorial: Reflecting on Priests, Priesthood, and the Glory of Christ

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and editor of Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He received his PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he is the author of numerous essays and articles and the co-author with Peter Gentry of Kingdom through Covenant, 2nd edition (Crossway, 2012, 2018) and God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology (Crossway, 2015); the co-editor of Progressive Covenantalism (B&H, 2016); the author of God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of the Person of Christ (Crossway, 2016) and Christ Alone—The Uniqueness of Jesus as Savior (Zondervan, 2017); and the co-author of Christ from Beginning to End: How the Full Story of Scripture Reveals the Full Glory of Christ (Zondervan, 2018).

In this issue of SBJT and a forthcoming issue next year, we are going to think through a biblical and systematic theology of priest, priesthood, and the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. The theme of “priests and priesthood” is a rich and important one in Scripture. In fact, the theme of “priests and priesthood” traverses the entire storyline of the Bible from creation to the new creation, and if traced through the biblical covenants, it leads us to a greater appreciation and grasp of Christ’s work for us and our calling as his people in relation to him.

First, the theme of priests and priesthood reminds us about who Jesus is and what he has done for us in his entire office of Mediator as our Lord and Savior. By thinking about how the priestly theme unfolds in Scripture, we discover how Jesus alone is our Redeemer by virtue of his incarnation, obedient life, and substitutionary, sacrificial death. In fact, by the development

of this theme across redemptive history and through the covenants, we learn how God-given types and patterns reach their fulfillment in Christ and grasp better the nature of his work for us as our new covenant head and great high priest.

It is hard to deny that our Lord’s work is presented in Scripture as a priestly work. To make sense of this we must place Christ’s priestly work in the context of the OT. Most people begin their reflection on what a priest is by going to the old covenant and comparing and contrasting Jesus’ priestly work to the Levitical priest. No doubt this is correct as the entire book of Hebrews teaches us. As the author of Hebrews develops the priestly theme in his letter, he starts by giving a helpful su...

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