I propose that the first basis of authority in the church be based on baptism. The following is from Luther's Appeal to the Ruling class.
- To call popes, bishops, priests, monks, and nuns, the religious class, but princes, lords, artisans, and farm-workers the secular class, is a specious device invented by certain timeservers; but no one ought to be frightened by it, and for good reason. For all Christians whatsoever really and truly belong to the religious class, and there is no difference among them except in so far as they do different work.
We all have one baptism, one gospel, one faith, and are all equally Christian. For baptism, gospel, and faith alone make men religious, and create a Christian people. When a pope or bishop anoints, grants tonsures, ordains, consecrates, dresses differently from laymen, he may make a hypocrite of a man, or an anointed image, but never a Christian or a spiritually-minded man. The fact is that our baptism consecrates us all without exception, and makes us all priests.
When a bishop consecrates, he simply acts on behalf of the entire congregation, all of whom have the same authority.
Every one who has been baptized may claim that he has already been consecrated priest, bishop, or pope, even though it is not seemly for any particular person arbitrarily to exercise an office. Just because we are all priests of equal standing, no one must push himself forward and, without the consent and choice of the rest, presume to do that for which we all have equal authority. ....
Hence we deduce that there is, at bottom, no other difference between laymen, princes, priests, bishops, or in Romanist terminology, between religious and secular, than that of office or occupation, and not taht of Christian status. All have spiritual status, and all are truly priests, bishops, and popes. Bu Christians do not follow the same occupation.
On what basis is authority in the world and in the church differentiated? On what basis are offices of authority withheld from women, if all have authority through their baptism.
We say that women have the same gifts of teaching but may not hold the office because they do not have authority. However, a gifted women who is baptized has both baptism and gift. She ought then to have the occupation, but simply lacks being appointed by men as an office-bearer. And where does it say in the scriptures that a woman shall not bear office?