No. 66. >> Tell me, please, how does the pastor stand as a person in contrast to his members? Is he any better than them because of his ordination? A better Christian? A more esteemed person? I ask this because I heard that this had been a discussion during the Reformation in Roman Catholicism. Which seemed to say that a priest stands above all members of the church and possesses some sort of spiritual quality which his members do not have. >>DR. KLAUS DETLEV SCHULZ: Nick, I have spoken about this issue already previously. But let me return back to it. I said that the priest in the Old Testament terms was somebody who came out of a special chosen raise called the tribe of the Levites. With the going of the Old Testament and it being replaced by the new, we need to go through the ministry of Jesus Christ. And in the ministry of Jesus Christ we can clearly see that as high priest he has fulfilled all of the ceremonial laws. In other words, he functions now as the high priest of the church. He intercedes for us. He sacrificed with his only life. What happens then with the Levite priesthood? It falls away. In other words, now those who serve the church in the Word and sacrament ministry need to ask themselves: Do I in any way resemble in terms of dignity or in status as that of the Old Testament Levite priesthood? The answer definitely is no. At least this is what the understanding of the Reformation has been. Now pastors can be chosen from all races, from all social classes. They are open to election. And the church needs to see that it needs to follow a specific procedure of putting these pastors in place. There's one word that has been dismissed in the time of the Reformation and in our Lutheran Confessions that the Romans have always claimed for themselves at ordination or the consecration of a priest. It's called the indelible character. Or ***caritas indelebilis. By that they mean that through ordination, which is in their understanding a sacrament, a special gift is being endowed to the individual who is the incumbent of that office of a priest so that he is, indeed, declared in terms of dignity and spiritual quality something more distinct and different to that of the priesthood of all believers or of all Christians. We cannot accept that. I have said clearly that in the I Timothy letter there are indications of a gift being bestowed to the individual whose hands are laid on him. I don't consider that gift as something that is given to an individual which then elevates him in terms of physical or spiritual quality above all other Christians. What I'm saying there is that if somebody preaches from the pulpit and performs the functions, then the gift of the Holy Spirit will be with him. That is, he will be blessed as he does those functions. I certainly believe that there is a functional blessing, so to speak, given to the pastor when he performs his duties. Namely, when the Spirit comes and supports his ministry and works through it. Namely, through the Word that he preaches. So we dismiss the ***caritas indelebilis, the statement that the Roman Catholics have made the consecration of the priest. You may recall the story of Martin Luther's first consecration in Erfurt in the beautiful cathedral there. Martin Luther was terrified of performing the first mass. Because he doubted whether his ordination has, indeed, elevated him to a dignity that makes him worthy to perform the mass. Because it was absolutely crucial at his time that this indelible character is needed for somebody to stand before Christ and sacrifice a mass for the members of that church.