"If anyone shall say that by the words: 'Do this for a commemoration of Me' Christ did not make His Apostles priests or did not ordain them so that they and other priests might offer His Body and Blood, let him be anathema (accursed)." Council of Trent

The Priesthood

What saith the Scripture?

© Copyright 1999, by Diane Dew

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I.   The New Testament teaches all believers are "priests" to God. There is no special class, as the Old Testament priesthood was abolished in the New Testament.

               Exodus 19:5, 6
               1 Peter 2:5, 9  "Ye also, ... an holy priesthood..."
                Isaiah 61:6
                Malachi 2:9, 10
                Acts 2:46

II.   Jesus is the Mediator between God and man. We can come directly to God;
      we don't need an intermediary.

                I Timothy 2:5
                Hebrews 8:6
                Hebrews 12:24

III.  The book of Hebrews says the priesthood of Jesus Christ is an eternal priesthood.

                Hebrews 7:3, 11-13, 15-17, 21-22, 23-25, 27-28; 8; 9; 10; 5:5-6
                Hebrews 5:4-6
                       "And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God,
                              as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest
                              ... As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the
                              order of Melchisedec." (citing Psalms 110:4)

                Hebrews 7:11
                       "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the
                               people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest
                              should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after he order of Aaron?"

                Hebrews 7:21
                       "For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that
                              said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever
                              after the order of Melchisedec"

IV.   Catholicism requires its priests to remain celibate* (unmarried). Scripture, however,
        teaches that "marriage is honourable in all..." Hebrews 13:4

         A.  Celibacy was not required of even the Old Testament priesthood.

                       Leviticus 21 and 22
                       Ezekiel 44:22
                              "Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is
                                        put away: but the shall take maidens of the seed of the house
                                        of Israel, or a widow that had a priest before."

         B.  Zachary was a married priest. 

                       Luke 1:5, 13
                              "There was ... a certain priest named Zacharias ... and his wife..."

         C.  Bishops (pastors) of the early church married.

                        1 Timothy 3:1-4, 5, 12
                              "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife..."
                        Titus 1:6
                             "... the husband of one wife, having faithful children ..."

         D.  The first apostles (including Peter, the "first pope") married.

                         Mark 1:30
                              "But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever..."
Matthew 8:14
                         Luke 4:38
                         1 Corinthians 9:5

         E.  Forbidding marriage is wrong.

                         1 Timothy 4:1-3
                                "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall
                                          depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines
                                          of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with
                                          a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats,
                                          which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which
                                          believe and know the truth."

         F.  God does not want us taking vows (i.e., of celibacy).

                          Ecclesiastes 5:4-6; Leviticus 5:4; Deuteronomy 23:21-23;
                          Matthew 5:33-37; Mark 6:23; James 5:12 

         G.  Not only does God not require celibacy* (abstinence from marriage), but asceticism
               is incapatible with Scripture.

                          Colossians 2:18-23

*  "All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate 'for the sake of the kingdom of heaven' ... Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church's minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God." Catechism, pg. 395, #1579

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