The Shepherd’s Voice Pastor Randy Junker The Priesthood of All Believers (by Dr. Art Lindsey) (This the second article in a series I have chosen to give understanding of the Laver in the C&MA logo. Pastor Randy) There is an important biblical idea that has great implications for our personal spirituality and public life in the Church and in the world: the idea that every believer is a priest, regardless of his or her full-time occupation. This notion was one of the top three ideas of the Protestant Reformation. The first two, Sola Scriptura—which asserts the sole authority of Scripture—and Sola Fide—which teaches justification by faith alone—have been widely taught, but the notion of the “priesthood of all believers” has been by far the most neglected. Martin Luther thought that “this word priest should become as common as the word Christian” because all Christians are priests. Yet for whatever reason, the priesthood of all believers has been much less understood, taught, and expounded upon in writing. When Luther referred to the priesthood of all believers, he was maintaining that the plowboy and the milkmaid could do priestly work. In fact, their plowing and milking was priestly work. So there was no hierarchy where the priesthood was a “vocation” and milking the cow was not. Both were tasks that God called his followers to do, each according to their gifts. This has enormous implications for how Christians live their daily lives. If the Church teaches that working in business, communications, politics, or any other profession is just as impactful as working directly in the ministry, it allows Christians to connect their beliefs to their everyday actions, giving them purpose in their jobs and equipping to them to serve others and improve society though their daily work. On the other hand, if the Church implies that the ministry is a higher calling than other professions, it will lose the impact that it has on individuals and society through “secular” vocations. Clearly, the idea of the “priesthood of all believers” is vital for the health and effectiveness of the Church. Perhaps one reason for its neglect is that the “priesthood of all believers” is seen as a negative, controversial subject. It implies the rejection of the Roman Catholic idea of priesthood. This implication is certainly present in the concept that Luther put forth: However, it would be a mistake to focus on a purely negative meaning of this idea. Along with this rejection of a separate order of priests, there is a positive call for us as believers to exercise certain priestly roles. There are both privileges and responsibilities that come with being a “priest.”
2016