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1994 Report of the Presidential Theological Study Committee
The Priesthood of All Believers
Every Christian has direct access to God through
Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, the sole mediator between God and
human beings. However, the priesthood of all believers is exercised within
a committed community of fellow believers - priests who share a like precious
faith. The priesthood of all believers should not be reduced to modern
individualism, not used as a cover for theological relativism. It is a
spiritual standing which leads to ministry, service, and a coherent witness
in the world for which Christ died.
1988 Resolution On the Priesthood of the Believer
Adopted at the Southern
Held in San Antonio, Texas,
June 14-16, 1988 as Resolution No. 5
Whereas, None of the five major writing
systematic theologians in Southern Baptist history have given more than
a passing reference to the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer in
their systematic theologies; and
Whereas, The Baptist Faith and Message
preamble refers to the priesthood of the believer, but provides no definition
or content to the term; and
Whereas, The high profile emphasis on the
doctrine of the priesthood of the believer in Southern Baptist life is
a recent historical development; and
Whereas, the doctrine of the priesthood
of the believer has been used to justify wrongly the attitude that a Christian
may believe whatever he so chooses and still be considered a loyal Southern
Whereas, the doctrine of the priesthood
of the believer can been used to justify the undermining of pastoral authority
in the local church.
Be it therefore resolved, That the Southern
Baptist Convention, meeting in San Antonio, Texas, June 14-16, 1988, affirm
its belief in the biblical doctrine of the priesthood of the believer (1
Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6); and
Be it further resolved, That we affirm
that this doctrine in no way gives license to misinterpret, explain away,
demythologize, or extrapolate out elements of the supernatural from the
Be it further resolved, That the doctrine
of the priesthood of the believer in no way contradicts the biblical understanding
of the role, responsibility, and authority of the pastor which is seen
in the command of the local church in Hebrews 13:17, "Obey your leaders,
and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will
give an account;" and
Be finally resolved, That we affirm the
truth that elders, or pastors, are called of God to lead the local church
From the Report of the
Baptist Faith and Message Study Committee
to the Southern Baptist Convention
June 14, 2000
Baptists cherish and defend religious liberty, and deny the right of any secular or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of churches. We honor the principles of soul competency and the priesthood of believers, affirming together both our liberty in Christ and our accountability to each other under the Word of God.
Baptist churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability. We are not embarrassed to state before the world that these are doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice.
As a committee, we have been charged to address the "certain needs" of our own generation. In an age increasingly hostile to Christian truth, our challenge is to express the truth as revealed in Scripture, and to bear witness to Jesus Christ, who is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
The 1963 committee rightly sought to identify and affirm "certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified." Our living faith is established upon eternal truths. "Thus this generation of Southern Baptists is in historic succession of intent and purpose as it endeavors to state for its time and theological climate those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us."
It is the purpose of this statement of faith and message to set forth certain teachings which we believe.
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