Richard P. Belcher, Jr.
Reviewed by: Jeffrey M. Scott
Prophet, Priest, and King: The Roles of Christ in the Bible and Our Roles Today, by Richard P. Belcher, Jr. P&R, 2016. Paperback, 224 pages, $13.00. Reviewed by OP pastor Jeffrey M. Scott.
I would venture to say that most Christians who self-consciously trace their theological roots back to the apostolic foundation of the church through the Protestant Reformation are not only familiar with, but also greatly encouraged by, the biblical insight that our Savior Jesus was anointed as the Christ to be our chief prophet, our only high priest, and our eternal king. He came to fulfill those crucial roles or offices for us as our Redeemer, and all of his work on our behalf—past, present, and future—is subsumed under them.
But how many of us appreciate the connection between Christ’s anointing and our own by his Spirit, as the Heidelberg Catechism so beautifully does? The catechism calls me to confess that I am called a Christian “because I am a member of Christ by faith, and thus a partaker of his anointing, that I may confess his name, present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to him, and … fight against sin and the devil in this life” (Q/A 32). The catechism implies, at this point, that life in the Spirit makes the Christian a participant in Jesus Christ’s ministry to his church and this world as prophet, priest, and king.
In his valuable new work, Prophet, Priest, and King: The Roles of Christ in the Bible and Our Roles Today, Old Testament scholar Richard Belcher skillfully probes the significance of Jesus Christ’s threefold office for both the church’s worship and her service.
Belcher handles the pertinent biblical texts with impressive exegetical prowess while examining the roles of prophet, priest, and king from the garden of Eden under Adam and Eve to the New Jerusalem under Jesus Christ and his bride. While drawing freely from the Reformed tradition’s insights into the threefold office of Christ and engaging with demurring positions, Belcher demonstrates how Jesus Christ “fulfills and transforms these roles in his earthly ministry and continues to exercise them in his heavenly ministry from the right hand of the Father” (178). He then goes on to amplify for the reader ways in which many activities of “the corporate church, the elders of the church, and individual believers … can be defined by these roles” (178–79).
Both students and teachers should find useful the detailed analytical outline, the robust selected bibliography, the Scripture and subject/name indexes, and the study questions at the end of each chapter. This book will prove both wonderfully accessible to the uninitiated reader and pleasantly stimulating to those well acquainted with these biblical themes. It will also generate in the Christian fresh adoration for Jesus Christ and encouragement to intently pursue life in union with him as our chief prophet, only priest, and eternal king.
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