- Bible as only rule of faith and practice
- Regenerate church membership
- Autonomy of the local church
- Priesthood of the believer
- Soul liberty
- Immersion & Lord's Supper the only ordinances
- Separation of Church and State
- Separation Ethically and Ecclesiastically
This definition emphasizes that through Christ every believer enjoys direct access to God. I can represent myself to God because I'm my own priest. This truth is taught in passages such as 1 Tim 2:5 and Rom 5:1-2. But is "each is his own priest" what the Bible teaches when it mentions the believer's priesthood?
"P—the priesthood of the believer" is the personal application of the principle implicit in the autonomy of the church. Just as local churches cannot be made to answer to man-made institutions, such as the papacy, other episcopal overlords, or extra-church presbyteries, so the individual believer within the context of the local assembly answers to Christ alone. We do not need the church to give us authorized interpretations of Scripture or a priest to hear our confession or dispense grace to us; we ourselves exercise the ministry of reconciliation. In short, we do not need a priest because we are priests.
We know that Christ, the great High Priest, has put himself forward as a final sacrifice for sins (Heb 10:10). Furthermore, those who are reconciled to God through Christ's blood are also called priests (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6). When the NT calls believers "priests" it must mean that in some sense believers have a ministry like that of OT priests. The priest's role was to represent the people to God, and God to the people. Through their work the people of Israel were put right with God. The priesthood of NT believers seems to have a "for others" dimension as well, in addition to the teaching that "each is his own priest." When Dr. Saxon mentions the "ministry of reconciliation," he is alluding to 2 Cor 5:11ff. This passage seems to teach that our ministry as God's priests is not mainly for ourselves but for others. Paul explains in 2 Cor 5:19-20 that those who are reconciled to God are in turn charged with a ministry of reconciliation: "[I]n Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."
And 1 Peter 2:9 says much the same thing: "But you are . . . a royal priesthood, . . . that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light."
As priests, we pray for others to be reconciled to God and go about proclaiming the message of reconciliation through Christ. We go to God on behalf of people, and to people on behalf of God, and through our prayers and the message of Christ's once-and-for-all sacrifice people are put right with God. This is the biblical meaning of the priesthood of the believer. The NT seems to emphasize the "for others" dimension of each believer's priestly work, and to teach also that "each is his own priest." I would suggest that BRAPSISS needs to be amended on this point to better reflect the Bible's teaching.