In the fourth chapter of Biblical Authority After Babel by Kevin J. Vanhoozer, the author explores how solus Christus affirms Jesus Christ as the only mediator between God and men but not, “Christ alone, independent of the church.” It actually implies the “royal priesthood” of all believers. The author focuses primarily on how solus Christus leads to the relevance of His body, the church.
Some of my favorite quotes from this chapter:
- “Christ is no tame lion: he cannot be domiciled in and domesticated by any single church or denomination.” (p. 152)
- “The Reformers never meant the distinction between the invisible and visible church to render the latter unimportant.” (p. 156)
- “Luther never spoke of the priesthood of the believer, in the singular, and neither does the New Testament. The Reformers emphasized the priesthood of all believers not as isolated but as gathered individuals, baptized members of a local body anointed with the Holy Spirit. The phrase is not a charter for rank individualism.” “It does not imply individuality. It necessitates community.” (p. 158)
- “Far from being a charter for every individual to read in a way that is right in his or her own eyes, the royal priesthood is an ordered and disciplined community that exists largely to interpret Scripture, binding and loosing certain doctrines and those who hold them in order to preserve its integrity as a local embassy of the kingdom of God.” (p.174)
- “…biblical interpretation is a communal exercise.” (p. 175)
- “Mere Protestant local churches have an obligation to read in communion with other local churches.” (p. 176)
Tonight I celebrated the 13th birthday of our good friend. Ten men, including this young man’s dad, gathered together to have dinner and play some games. Most importantly, we each shared some affirming/encouraging/challenging words specific to this young man. I’m so thankful for these good friends and for our community life together in which we love and support one another and one another’s kids. In our culture, we lack rituals and traditions to call young boys into manhood (and young women into being women). However, in our local community of Christ followers, we are trying (imperfectly, of course) to show and tell young men and young girls what it means to become mature adults who love God, are responsible, and humbly serve others in our community.