Based on the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39), a Christian term referring to all the people we encounter in the arenas of our daily lives. When Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbor?” he responded by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus concluded the parable by saying: “Go and do likewise!” In this age of environmental crisis, we do well also to understand creation itself and all creatures as our neighbors.
Neighborliness of All Believers
After the Reformation the term, “priesthood of all believers,” was a radical claim about the equal status of all believers before God based on baptism. The priesthood of all believers was intended to overcome the dependency of the laity on the ministrations of a clerical hierarchy. One problem with contemporary references to the priesthood of all believers is that it appears to infer that in order to have real status as a minister one should become a “priest,” that is, an ordained pastor. The neighborliness of all believers builds on the original intention of the priesthood of all believers concept, but emphasizes the equal status of all believers before God in relation to the service of neighbors. All believers in Christ are equally called to serve the neighbors God gives them in their spheres of influence.