Christology and Christianity: the theological power of the threefold office in Lord's Day 12
De Boer, Erik A.
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The concept of the threefold office of Jesus was developed in the explanation of the name Christ. The three distinct offices of king, priest and prophet in Israel are thought to be united in the one Messiah. Since the unity of all three offices in one person is not found in so many words in one specific text from the Bible, it is regarded as a theological concept. As such it was developed for the first time in the Heidelberg Catechism (HC). This article traces the development of the exposition of the Apostles’ Creed in earlier Lutheran and reformed catechisms. Special attention is devoted to the one by Johannes Brenz, which was used in the Palatinate before 1563. The main source of the new Catechism of Heidelberg is the Catechismus minor by Zacharias Ursinus, who himself may have been influenced by Martin Bucer and John Calvin and their respective Catechisms. A special feature of the HC is question and answer (Q/A) 32, devoted to a parallel exposition of the name Christian. Caspar Olevianus’ work Vester Grund (A Firm Foundation) is read as a contemporary commentary on the exposition of the Creed. The catechetical power of the concept of Christ’s threefold office is finally demonstrated in its use in systematic theologies as by Gerrit Immink and Michael Welker, especially in their Christologies.
- Faculty of Theology