You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1Peter 2:5)
Paganism is the default religion of the human race. Without true, Biblical teaching we think like pagans. Many have rightly pointed out that Roman Catholicism is paganized Christianity. In that context, Luther fought to bring us back to the truth of the gospel as found in scripture alone. A concomitant teaching of scripture alone is the priesthood of every believer. Pagans typically wish to have a supposed holy man (or shaman) to stand between them and God, many Christians are looking for the same. False teachers and false prophets take advantage of this tendency to abuse the flock.
In Luther’s day the abuse came from the Pope and the hierarchy of authorities under him. In that context, some Christians from Bohemia wrote to Luther to ask what to do. The Pope was making them send people to Rome at their own expense and pay tribute to have authorized “priests” to head churches. Luther’s answer was the biblical doctrine of the priesthood of every believer. He claimed that the Roman Catholic priesthood was illegitimate and comprised of the unregenerate. As such, they were not truly priests. Luther identified seven functions of priests, and proved from scripture that each of these legitimately pertained to every true saint, born from above.
Today the doctrine of the priesthood of every believer is typically neglected. The implications of the doctrine are not on the minds of many Christians. In this vacuum, religious authorities do what Roman Catholic authorities did in Luther’s day – they abuse the saints. In this article we will examine the seven functions identified by Luther along with his Biblical proof. I will argue that Luther’s doctrine was indeed Biblical and needs to be brought back to the forefront of our preaching and teaching. If we are truly priests to God, we need to know the privileges and duties that attend this position we have in Christ.