From Collins, Keenan Jones: Jesus Our Priest – A Christian Approach to the Priesthood of Christ
Little ofﬁcial teaching and theological reﬂection on Christ’s priesthood developed over two thousand years of Christianity. His priesthood was taken for granted and rarely became controversial. Even when controversies emerged, as they did at the Reformation, they focused on those who shared in Christ’s priesthood rather than on his priesthood in itself. The most sustained period of reﬂection on his priestly ofﬁce came in the seventeenth century. But, even then, the French School concentrated on the spiritual life of all those who shared in the self-sacriﬁcing priesthood of Christ, whether through baptism or through ministerial ordination.
Regularly, even if not always, those who did contribute something to a deepening understanding of Christ’s priesthood had all commented on the Letter to the Hebrews (Origen, Chrysostom, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin). This letter (or, more accurately, homily) is, unquestionably the key source for understanding and interpreting the priesthood of Christ. Yet over the centuries Hebrews has not drawn the kind of attention that Christians gave to the Gospels, Romans, and other books of the New Testament. One might speak of a ‘marginalizing’ of Hebrews, a marginalizing that was associated with, and even encouraged, a diminished interest in the priesthood of Christ. Given this widespread and chronic reticence about Christ’s priesthood, we thought it best to be crisply clear about where we stand and set out our conclusions in the form of theses. Some of the theses that follow will be relatively uncontroversial, others more controversial. But in all cases we will provide our motives for proposing them.