Member Distinctives

Priesthood of the Believer
Soul Liberty

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Member Distinctives

IV. Priesthood of the Believer

A. The Bible teaches that Christ is our High Priest. This is the foundation for the priesthood of the believer.

B. Three aspects to the Priesthood of the Believer.

1. The individual believer enjoys access to God (Heb. 4:16; 10:19, 20; Eph. 2:18).

2. The corporate body of believers – the church – serves God.

3. Evangelization of the lost – we are their priests and prophets.

C. Emphasis is Godward.

D. Limited to born-again believers

1. Only believers are called priests

2. Unbelievers cannot stand before God except to repent or to be judged

V. Soul Liberty

A. Soul Liberty is the freedom to hold beliefs, to worship, and to profess one’s beliefs according to the dictates of one’s heart and allowing anyone of any faith the liberty to worship whom and how they please.

B. Scripture: Romans 14:5, 12; 2 Cor 5:11

C. Emphasis is manward.

D. Pertains to all humans, not just believers

E. Soul Liberty is worked out in three arenas:

1. Political – Religious Liberty

2. Personal – Freedom of Conscience

3. Ecclesiastical – Christian Liberty

4. Results of Soul Liberty

a) Leads away from churches in which the people have no voice.

b) Leads away from Christians who do as they please and instead becomes a basis for Biblical standards.

c) Develops an incentive to genuinely “win” the lost to Christ, not coerce them or trick them into a “conversion.”

Our Distinctives as Baptists

The distinctives discussed in this study are not the traditions of men which have become distinctive of Baptists. They are, rather, biblical truths that distinguished the local churches in the New Testament era and are distinctive of all true New Testament local churches, regardless of the name they use. Baptists have historically espoused all these distinctives, thus they have become known as the Baptist Distinctives. Some other denominational groups accept various of these biblical truths, but not all of them.

The Baptist Distinctives need to be emphasized to every generation of Christians. This is especially true as many Baptists and Baptist organizations have moved away from their biblical foundations, convictions, and distinctives in recent years. Modernism and new-evangelicalism masquerade under the name “Baptist,” as they do under many other names today.

If these truths are not biblically grounded, they should be rejected. If they are taught in Scripture, then they should be believed, defended, and obeyed.

Dr. Richard Weeks, Maranatha’s first academic dean, was an avid bibliophile and Baptist historian. Well educated, he pastored for several years in Chicago before going to Pillsbury and then Maranatha to teach Baptist Polity and Baptist History, among other classes. Not content with the usual BAPTIST acrostic for the Baptist distinctives, he began a study of the various lists of distinctives identified by a wide variety of Baptist writers—old and new, northern and southern, American and European, and especially Fundamental Baptists of the early 20th century. From this study he created a list of what he thought the key Baptist distinctives were, without trying to force them into an acrostic grid. He also established an order to these distinctives, considering not so much that some distinctives are more important than others, but rather that some distinctives tend to flow out of other distinctives. The result was BRAPSIS2.