Our Great High Priest! (New Song, part 9)
“Our Great High Priest”
Though not specifically mentioned here in this particular hymn, where there is a nation of priests, there also must be a high priest. And, of course, that high priest is Jesus. He is the one who makes constant intercession for us before the father, and it is he who provided the sacrifice that brought us into fellowship with God the Father. Jesus is the only head of the church.
With this in mind, there can be ecclesial hierarchy within the church, though we see hierarchies within many denominations. Many call themselves Bishops or Arch-Bishops or Cardinals, etc… These have no place in Christ’s church. While it is true that the term e∆pi√skopoß (episkopos), from which we get the term “bishop” is a biblical term, it is a term that is used interchangeably with presbuvteroß (presbuteros). Both of these terms refer to one who is an elder in the church. In a sense, then, it is perfectly acceptable for any local pastor to call himself a Bishop, yet, given the way the term has been mis-appropriated by certain denominations, it would be the heights of pride for him to refer to himself in this way. Even the Apostle Peter refers to himself as a “fellow elder” in the church (1 Peter 5:1).
Elect from every nation,
yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.