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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sacerdotalism vs. Priesthood of all believers

[2018-04-12: added note in red at bottom]
As one reads from some so-called conservatives, such as Herman Otten of Christian News, the use of the term "sacerdotalists" and "sacerdotalism" is used against many in today's Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  It would be well to understand exactly what these terms mean.  Franz Pieper explains this quite clearly in Volume 3 of his Christian Dogmatics, pgs 456-457:
It is therefore really an unscriptural usage to call a limited number of people within the Christian Church, namely, the officeholders, the "spiritual order," "divines," "priests." Luther says: "In the New Testament the Holy Spirit scrupulously avoids giving the name sacerdos, [or sacerdotes] priest, to any of the Apostles, or any other office, but restricts this name to the baptized or Christians as their birthright and hereditary name from Baptism; for none of us is born in Baptism an Apostle, preacher, teacher, pastor, but solely priests are all of us born; therefore we take some from among these born priests and call and elect them for these offices that they may perform the functions of such office in the name of all of us." (St. L. XIX :1260, paragr. 90; Am. ed. vol 38, pg 188)
So we see that the use of sacerdos, i.e. "priest", for officeholders goes directly against the well-known Scriptural doctrine of the "Priesthood of all believers".  Even the Wikipedia articles on both Sacerdotalism and Universal Priesthood seem to understand these teachings fairly well.  Imagine that!... the Scriptures are indeed clear.  But look, one sees that the editor, Martin E. Lehmann, of Luther's Works, American Edition, vol. 38, page XVI, in the preface to Luther's writing above quoted by Pieper, puts blinders on and says:
Present-day ecumenism within Christendom has provided the climate which has made it possible for Roman Catholics and Lutherans, on the basis of their common Christian heritage, to engage in dialogue about doctrinal differences that go back to Luther’s day. ...
Could it be that these editors and translators of the American Edition of Luther's Works were actually sacerdotalists?  Could it be these comments by the editor are actually describing Unionism perfectly?  Could it be this editor had already abandoned Luther's doctrine?

Just so we know... that if some "officeholder" in the Church begins to lord it over those of the true priesthood of all believers, they are a "sacerdotalist", and so this one shows that they are returning to the faith of Rome.  This is certainly true even if they deny it with all kinds of sophistry, even if they claim the name "Lutheran", even if they claim to be of the "Missouri Synod".  That's why the Holy Spirit gave us His Word in 1 Peter 2:5,9.  God help from us from these "Missouri Synod" sacerdotalists!

So how is it that sacerdotalism has been taking over the LC-MS?  Hint: the loss of LDJ...
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2018-04-12: F. E. Mayer, Religious Bodies in America (4th ed., 1961), p. 574: "Sacerdotalism: The teaching that ordination confers special powers and rights necessary for the exercise of the ministry."

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