The priesthood of believers has its basis in both Old and New Testament Scriptures. In each case this status is given in the context of the body of believers.
God proposed to the people of Israel between the time they left Egypt and entered the promised land that they would be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). This status was conditioned upon their obedience and keeping of the covenant. At times they fulfilled their side of the covenant while at other times they failed to fulfill it. However, failure did not abrogate their privilege and responsibility as priests of God to share the message of His sovereignty and grace to the whole world.
With the coming of Jesus Christ the privilege and responsibility shifted to all Christians. The early Christians declared that the great high priest, by his life, death, and resurrection constituted the saved to be his holy people, his priesthood. The Holy Spirit through Peter stated: “You are...a royal priesthood,...a holy nation, God’s special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9).
The concept is based on the truth that every person has direct access to God through faith in Jesus Christ without the need of any human mediator. No pope, potentate, priest, or pastor is necessary for one to receive the grace of God through faith in Christ. While one who is already a believer may assist a person to be saved by acting as a priest of God, every person is both competent and responsible to come to God as drawn by the Holy Spirit.
Historically, Baptists as we know them have stood for this truth since their earliest days. In 1677 the London Confession of Faith (and agreed to by the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1742) said soul liberty, soul competency, and human freedom mean that individuals are free and competent to relate to God, and to interpret Scriptures in the Christian community under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
As Christians, we are all called to be priests of God, ministering to one another and to the lost by sharing the message of God’s love. We have the mandate of Jesus Christ to minister to others in our words, actions and behavior-living out the priesthood. Martin Luther said: “Christ has made it possible for us, provided we believe in him, to be not only his brothers, co-workers, and fellow kings, but also his fellow priests.” This does not eliminate the call of some as ministers in a formal sense, but it reflects the biblical truth that all stand equal before God, both in privilege and in responsibility as his children . All are called by God to be priests. No calling is more important than any other. Some are called as pastors, some as deacons, some as teachers, some as administrators, some to give care and/or hospitality, some to lead, etc. But all are called to serve others in the spirit of Christ.
The priesthood of all believers does not mean that we can believe anything we choose and call ourselves Baptist. It is not an occasion for denying the role of the local body of Christ in the lives of individual believers. It does not allow us to exist independently of a body of believers, ignore Scriptures with which we do not agree, nor to deny to others the rights and privileges we claim for ourselves.
The doctrine of the priesthood of all believers not only means a privilege to be received with humility, but also the responsibility of service to persons in need. It gives us the privilege to study and interpret Scripture as led by the Holy Spirit. It posits a radical idea that the people in Christ can be trusted to seek God’s will for themselves and their church. It opens the door to dissent as different people see the things of God in a different light. It provides every believer with the opportunity for growth.
God has made us free in Christ to seek his will individually and corporately in local bodies of believers. It is our privilege and responsibility to exercise that priesthood under the leadership of the Holy Spirit as we study the Bible and apply it in our own lives and to share its message of salvation with others at every opportunity.
The Spirit of SBA, April 2000
Apr 19 Carey Snellings (Hunting Creek)
Apr 29 Elmer & Tiena Sellers (Retired)
Rev. Grant Harbridge has concluded his pastorate at Bethlehem and is available for interim/supply/full-time ministry. Contact info is 434.941.1820 or email@example.com.
Flint Hill has begun an ALMS (Aid to Local Ministries) ministry in which needed items are collected and hands-on help is provided when possible. The following ministries are being emphasized: January, Lake Christian Ministries; February, Agape Center; March, Flint Hill’s Food Pantry/Benevolent Fund; April, Bedford Pregnancy Center; May, Bedford Christian Ministries. Other ministries will be added throughout the year. During the school year, a group from Flint Hill helps with the Pack-a-Backpack program for Body Camp Elementary School. Pastor Mark leads a worship service at Carriage Hill Retirement Center every fourth Sunday.
Flint Hill will have an 11-week Beth Moore study on Daniel. Led by Mildred Smith, it will be held every Tuesday at 6 p.m., beginning April 16. If you are interested in participating in the study or have questions, please contact Mildred at 540.586.8350 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost of the workbook is $14.95. Deadline to register is Sunday, March 31.
On Friday, April 5, 2013, 9-11:30 a.m., Mentow will host a meal packaging event for Stop Hunger Now. Led by the youth, the entire church family will be participating.
June 9 is the date for Trinity’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. The special worship service with former pastor Rev. David Engleman and special music will be followed by lunch and a concert.
Trinity has exceeded its goal by collecting $1,845 for the Praetorian Project. This partnership of 100 SBCV churches is striving to establish a network of churches close to the four main Marine Corps installations worldwide.
Flint Hill Baptist Church in Moneta, VA, is looking for a part time, permanent, paid, Youth Minister. Please contact Pastor Mark Oblinger at 540.297.6783 for details, or send resume to: Flint Hill Baptist Church, 8997 Dickerson Mill Road, Moneta, VA 24121.
Summer Music Camp
(Children who have completed grades K-6)
Saturday, September 21, 2013, 4-8 p.m.
(For young people, ages 11-18)
You’re invited to our next planning meeting on Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m., in Mentow’s fellowship hall. For more info, contact Kim Kirby at email@example.com or 540.330.8071.
Church Ministry Anniversaries
Apr 6 Mike Smith (Pastor/5 yrs/Bethel)
Dear Fellow Servants in Christ,
At this time there are 14 churches participating in the Fall Revival Meetings. We need to finalize planning, therefore at the last Pastors meeting March 12 we were in agreement that as of April 15, the churches involved would be final.
We also divided the Strawberry Association into four areas seeking to match churches with other churches in geographical location. Although nothing is finalized, here are the four areas.
Area One: Mount Zion, Walnut Grove, Mountain View, and Rainbow Forest
Other churches not listed had already scheduled Fall events. Our goal and prayer is to saturate the Bedford area with ongoing Revival during the month of September and continue God’s moving in the months (years) to come. I know with all the planning for Easter it is difficult to participate in more meetings therefore we decided to wait till our April meeting to make any other decisions. This also allows us time to pray concerning God’s direction and will.
If you have any questions or thoughts please do not be hesitant to call me. God’s richest blessings.
A Place for You in WMU!
Women on Mission : Thaxton is leading weekly devotionals at Oakwood Manor in April; Sedalia will lead them in May. Palestine will host the April birthday party for residents of Bedford County Nursing Home; Flint Hill will host it in May.
Strawberry WMU Annual Meeting
Saturday, April 6, 2013, 10 a.m.
At the meeting, the WMU Executive Board will recommend that we sponsor a Meal Packaging event with Stop Hunger Now at our 2014 Annual Meeting at Hunting Creek. It is a fun, hand’s on mission project that is suitable for all ages. The assembly process combines rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix including 21 essential vitamins and minerals into small meal packages. These meal packages are shipped around the world to support school feeding programs and crisis relief. The food stores easily, transports quickly, and has a shelf-life of five years. The cost to host the event is 25 cents per meal, with a minimum of 10,000 meals for a mobile packaging event. So our cost would be $2,500. If we vote to do this, the Executive Board will also recommend that the offering received at our meeting be used toward the project.
This year, 2013, Woman’s Missionary Union turns 125
Fannie Exile Scudder Heck
SBA’s Vision Statement: Due to our common faith in Jesus Christ and His body, the Church, we Commit ourselves to Connecting with one another for Coordinating the missions and ministries of our member churches and Communicating opportunities to partner together to fulfil the Great Commission and Great Commandment.
We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.
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