Strict//EN" ""> EAGLES' REST: Maybe. Just Maybe....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Maybe. Just Maybe....

.... we don't really believe it. Maybe we talk a good game, but when the rubber meets the road, well, no thank you.

I'm talking about the most cherished SB belief .. you know ... competency of the soul ... priesthood of the believer.

I've been following along with the string of comments on Wade Burleson's blog, with some interest. On the one hand, I appreciate all those educated folks who know what all the original language tenses and cases mean, and appreciate brilliant analyses of scripture; on the other, I wonder why we believe in "priesthood of the believer", if it takes a genius to figure out what the Bible really means. That seems to run a bit counter to what's acknowledged as the fundamental baptist distinctive.

At least that's what Herschel Hobbs said it was.

Anyway, here are some random thoughts, after which I will post my conclusion. I say random because I'm not sure what they are, yet, and I'll post my final thought as the conclusion rather than starting with it as a premise. That's because it might change before I get done.

Who knows...

Anyway, I'm assuming the Bible was written to communicate with people. I've always looked at the Revelation as being the hardest book to understand, but even that book is named Revelation, indicating God wants to reveal something, to show forth something; it isn't named Concealment, which would indicate something is hidden from view.

My Dad told me to use all the brains I had, but all I could borrow, too. So I like to read commentaries, and the opinions of others, including the brilliant exegesis of learned folks (I didn't even know what exegesis meant before I read Wade Burleson's blog that first time, but then I didn't know what Arminian, hermeneutics, eisegesis, expository, antinomian, or any of the lapsarians meant. Or lots of others I had to look up whilst reading blogs). While they may help me to understand some nuance of scripture, it does cause some friction with that priesthood of the believer thing, in that it's easier to subscribe to what some Brilliant Person hath said, than to settle all this stuff in my own mind via my spirit listening to His Spirit.

Interestingly, it was a lot easier being a Presbyterian. We could point to the Westminster Confession and say "That's what we believe", and that would pretty well cover it. But try that with the BF&M, and the response ... from non-baptists ... will likely be "OK, but what about miracles, Spiritual Gifts, women teachers, predestination..." or any of the other theological points on which we as baptists have freedom ... whereas folks in most other denominations don't. So ... what if it were true, that we're not really all that comfortable with having that responsibility ourselves, and would rather have some Priest tell us what to believe?

Even if we don't call them "Priests"?

If we acknowledge the priesthood of the believer, we have to acknowledge that God communicates His truth to people via the witness of the Spirit. I buy that totally, or else we'd all believe the same things about all things, like career, eschatology, whether wives should always stay home with the kids, etc. But with that "priesthood" comes responsibility for getting it right, in a manner of speaking, and we really, really want some agreement from others, since that'll make us feel more secure in our beliefs.

Those two set up a dichotomy which will always exist where dissent is allowed.

How does that play out in SBC members, particularly those who participate in the process?

Those in the power structure seem to want to stifle dissent, sometimes by simply eliminating people around them, who disagree with their views on something. The dismissal of various professors and others in a position of authority stand as evidence of that.

Those not in the power structure will often line up with someone inside, someone whose views are widely known, and support them. Often vocally, sometimes adamantly, and occasionally even despite glaring inequities, obvious critical flaws, and blatant and outlandish behaviors.

One of the training things I went through, relative to witnessing, talked about sin. It poses the question: when we commit one sin, how many good sinless deeds would it take to offset that one sin? The analogy was made to offenses against criminal law; how many miles of driving at the speed limit does it take to offset busting a school zone at 70 mph? How many months of driving sober would repay one episode of drunk driving in which we ran over someone? How many times do we have to BUY something to make up for STEALING something?

The Klouda episode stinks to high heaven (which is really a contradiction of terms). One man's particular interpretation, and perhaps his simple prejudice against women, has torn up a family's life. THAT IS AN OUTRAGE! So how many years of good stuff does it take to negate that .. to make it OK for him to do that? Yet people will flock to his defense all day long.

We do that with priests.

I had a good conversation about these things with my pastor, Mike Shaw, today. I happened to stop by the office on some other matters, and he was there, so we kicked the dog round a little. We're probably the best example, of unity in diversity, that I know of. I'm a Calvinist. He's not. I speak in tongues. He doesn't. I've been Methodist, 3 brands of Presbyterian, and Baptist by choice at age 46. His mother was baptized in an SBC church while pregnant with Bro. Mike, and he grew up in the church. But we have this really neat unity because, quoting him, "When I look at you I don't see a Calvinist. I see a brother."

Maybe the great hypocrisy of our age isn't referring to 8 or 9 million people whose location we can't even account for, as "members". Maybe the greater hypocrisy is saying we believe in the priesthood of the believer, when we spend so much time acting like we don't.

Labels: , ,


At 10:13 PM, April 15, 2008, Blogger Gary Snowden said...


Excellent reflections. I appreciate your words on the importance of the priesthood of the believer and how we as Baptists aren't doing such a great job of defending and living by this principle that at one time we cherished deeply. The change in the wording of the BF&M 2000 from the priesthood of the believer (singular) to priesthood of the believers (plural) was one of the several objections that I had to that document that kept me from signing it in good faith and conscience. While the rationale offered was that this would prevent a Lone Ranger mindset and head off the effects of neo-orthodoxy, my take on it (and I think it's been borne out by recent developments) is that it was one more measure of eliminating dissent and encouraging individuals to wrestle with the text and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to them through it. Those in power would prefer that their interpretations be accepted without any questions.

At 10:47 PM, April 15, 2008, Anonymous Lee said...

A few years back there was an attempt to try to change the interpretation of Priesthood of THE Believer to Presthood of BELIEVERS, vesting authority in the church as a body (in reality, Pastor as the master) but the DNA of the previous doctrine is too ingrained for that to have happened.

It is also hard for some people to admit that, even though they may have tremendous skills in Biblical languages, and can get down into the deep word studies with the best of them, the end result is still human effort, and doesn't necessarily mean that you've hit any closer to the truth than anyone else has done.

At 7:01 AM, April 16, 2008, Blogger Debbie in NC said...


Thank you for stopping by my blog! After reading a few of your posts with interest, I knew I was getting into a DEEP subject here :)

Thinking to myself, after reading your posts, you hop over to mine and see a double toilet has me laughing out loud!

Have you read "A New Earth"? Gosh, just jumping in here. I think you would really enjoy it...being the intelligent and introspective individual I perceive you to be!

If you have, or if you do, I would love to hear your opinion :)

Have a good one!

At 9:19 AM, April 16, 2008, Blogger Scotte Hodel said...

Hi Bob,

While recovering from chemo, I've had lots of time for my hobby of memorizing scripture (Currently in Galatians), and I've stayed away from church due to concerns about my immune systems.

As a result, I find myself falling into my own modes of thought, generally lacking "Christianese" veneer. I think that some of what I've learned thus far supports your thesis.

In Galatians, I am struck by Paul's use of pronouns. In Galatians 3 Paul writes,
"so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith."

In the first paragraph or two of Chapter 4 he alternates between you (plural), we (plural), and you (singular):

"so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!' So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God."

It strikes me that Paul easily slips back and forth between community, himself, individuals, and back again. It's as if he sees no difference - and yet reinforces his own unity between himself and those "Gentile" believers, which was a part of his point in the letter.

There's something in there that I haven't distilled into words, but I think it backs up your point.

At 12:24 AM, April 17, 2008, Blogger CB Scott said...

You are blessed with a very analytical mind and the ability to express it in an understandable way, Bob.


At 12:32 PM, April 21, 2008, Anonymous bryan riley said...

ditto what CB said.

At 12:46 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger Wayne Smith said...


I posted this on Wades Blog and will repost it here for all to see what is happening with the changes that were made to the BFM2000 by the Cunning / Crafty Ones that are going against what the Bible says. They must have changed their minds to suite Their Agenda to put themselves into Power and Control of TRUE Believers in Jesus Christ. We are not to add to or take away from what God’s Word Says.

Pro 30:6 Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,

Tim Rogers and Bart Barber,

Why was The priesthood of the believer changed in the BFM2000 to The priesthood of the believers?????????

Why is it that you and the ones you Identify With can’t see How the Powers to Be have and are Manipulating the SBC, I believe the Truth is finally coming to the Surface as to what is happening at SWBTS with the 2 “Pees” that participated in the Writing of the Believers Study Bible when Truth was KNOWN,

Believers Study Bible
Author: Title: The Believers Study Bible

Bible Study Articles
Dr. W.A. Criswell Criswell Center for Biblical Studies, Dallas, Texas
Dr. Jack Graham Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas
Dr. Joel Gregory First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas
Dr. O.S. Hawkins First Baptist Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Dr. Richard Lee Rehoboth Baptist Church, Tucker, Georgia
Dr. John MacArthur Grace to You, Santa Clarita, California
Dr. James Merritt First Baptist Church, Snellville, Georgia
Dr. Dorothy K. Patterson Criswell Center for Biblical Studies, Dallas, Texas
Dr. Paige Patterson Criswell Center for Biblical Studies, Dallas, Texas
Dr. Dwight “Ike” Reighard New Hope Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia
Dr. Adrian Rogers Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tennessee
Dr. Jerry Vines First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida
Dr. Ed Young Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas

Study Notes
David Allen, Ph.D.
Richard D. Land, D.Phil.
L. Russ Bush, Ph.D.
David Dockery, Ph.D.
Keith Eitel, D.Miss.

The Priesthood of the Believer as stated in the Believers Study Bible..

Leviticus 8
8:2 The priesthood of ancient Israel foreshadowed the priesthood of Christ.
The Epistle to the Hebrews forcefully concludes that the O.T. priesthood reaches
its climax in the Person of Christ (cf. Heb 2:17, 18; 3:1; 4:14-16; 5:1-10; 6:20;
7:11-28; 8:1-5; 9:11-25; 10:11-21; 13:11-15). The tearing of the veil (Matt 27:51;
Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45), which was a type of the human body of Christ (Heb
10:20), marked the termination of the O.T. priesthood and the inauguration of the
N.T. priesthood of Christ. Since no human being is any longer needed by the
believer to gain access to God, this results in the great N.T. doctrine of the
“priesthood of the believer.” Aaron’s sons were priests by virtue of their kinship
to Aaron, the high priest; their priesthood was a birthright privilege. Believers
today are priests by virtue of their kinship to the new High Priest (cf. 1 Pet 2:5, 9;
Rev 1:6). Regarding the consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood, cf.
Ex. 29.
In His Name

In reference to my comment, which was addressed to , Fred, I do believe the Baptist Identity People want their Women to be like Stepford wives.
If the shoe fits (Baptist Identity People), wear it. I find it very Odd that any of the Bible Scholars Listed in the Believers Study Bible would want to QUENCH THE HOLY SPIRIT.

The Holy Spirit that comes, on a Man or Woman is the same Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ regardless of ones SEX. Now you may disagree with what I believe to be the Truth of my Bible. I don’t want to be a stumbling block or Quench the Holy Spirit. We have so much LEGALISM in the SBC and it is very SHAMEFUL. I believe in The Priesthood of the Believer as stated in the Bible, not, The Priesthood of the Believers.

Title: The Believers Study Bible

5:19 The phrase “Do not quench the Spirit” may be rendered “stop quenching the Spirit,” suggesting the cessation of an action which is in progress. This verse addresses the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in one’s private life as well as in
the assembly of believers. The present tense of the command exhorts them to stop bringing the working of the Holy Spirit to a halt. It is encouraging to note that God gave them repeated opportunities to be used by His Spirit (see also 4:8).
The metaphor “quench” suggests that the activity of the Spirit conveys a warmth, even a fire within a fellowship. When the Spirit’s fire is not quenched, one will find a Christian, a fellowship, characterized by the positive aspects of 5:12-26.
In His Name


Post a Comment

<< Home