Here’s something for this weekend – October 31 is this Sunday. Pastor Peter J. Leithart has an excellent reflection on Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the Wittenberg church door (which he probably didn’t actually do, btw, but never mind) titled “Priesthood of believers.”
“Every Christian is a cleric, Luther proclaimed in one of his earliest treatises, The Freedom of a Christian, and those who ‘are now boastfully called popes, bishops, and lords’ are in reality ‘ministers, servants, and stewards, who are to serve the rest in the ministry of the word’—servants of the servants of God. Whether he knew it or not, Luther was ringing the changes on a patristic teaching that had never wholly been lost during the medieval period.
“Unfortunately, the priesthood of the faithful in both its Protestant and Catholic forms has been corroded by fusion with modern individualism. …
“Timothy George captures Luther’s viewpoint in one sentence: ‘Every Christian is someone else’s priest, and we are all priests to one another”'(emphasis added).
“In the hands of some Protestants, ‘priesthood of believers; became an anti-ecclesial slogan, a ‘get out of church free’ card. Understood in its original biblical and Reformation sense, the priesthood of believers is quite the opposite. It is not a solvent of ecclesial Christianity but an affirmation of churchly piety and the foundation of a thoroughly catholic church practice. Five hundred years after the event, this Reformation slogan may be even more relevant than it was when Luther first shouted it out from Wittenberg.”