graphic website title banner

Priesthood of believers ...makes him hopeful

by Doug Bahr, M.D. (WordAlone board member)

February 3, 2004

My primary reason for joining the Word Alone Network was my concern for the priesthood of all believers. After CCM was passed, I wondered what kind of Church, and what kind of Lutheran faith my children would inherit. How would the Church be affected by this “special sacramental grace” given through the ordination process of the historic episcopate. After five years, the future remains cloudy.

I have been very surprised that this issue does not excite more Lutherans. I try to imagine why this is the case. Possible causes are apathy, time constraints and ignorance of the facts or the issues. Perhaps many of our number don’t really know what it means to be a Lutheran. As a physician, I can’t say why we are stricken with illness, but I can help a patient chart a course of action and treatment to deal with it.

In this case, I think it best to look at what works—at the people who do care about the priesthood of all believers. As I’ve traveled with the WordAlone Board and visited ELCA congregations, I have met many people who are on fire for Christ. They include lay people, pastors, theologians and seminary professors. All are equal in the priesthood of all believers; not one is “more saved” or has received “more grace” than another. What seems to differentiate these individuals is their devotion to study of the Scriptures and regular prayer and worship. I believe that the Holy Spirit, when invited through prayer, will awaken in individuals an understanding of the origin of grace. Ultimately, it may be the priesthood of all believers that revitalizes the ELCA and, therefore, I will remain hopeful and in prayer.