‘The extraordinary democratic potential of Luther’s teaching was immediately apparent to many of his followers. If faith alone saved, then the various rites and sacraments of the Church were not needed for salvation. Moreover, if faith came from an immediate encounter with Scripture, then priestly intercessors were not only unnecessary, they were actually obstacles to an encounter with God. The priestly caste that ruled European spiritual life and tithes to support them were thus unnecessary. In place of the spiritual elite Luther held up the possibility of priesthood of all believers. Finally, if a God spoke to each man privately through Scripture, then there was no definitive dogma that characterised Christian belief. Individuals might make their own decisions about their religious responsibilities.’

On the attractions of Martin Luther – quoted in The Theological Origins of Modernity – Michael Gillespie