The doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, a phrase taken from 1 Peter 2 but a concept reflected in all the letters of the New Testament, is not an excuse to claim that your interpretation of scripture is just as good or as right as anyone else’s interpretation. We do not have authority over God’s Word, but God’s Word has authority over us. Nor does this doctrine mean that no one in the church is given any special authority over us. We still have some accountability to the elders or pastor of our church.
It is this second issue that Dr. L. Russ Bush will focus on as he teaches through the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. This series of four podcast episodes was recorded in a single day on January 10th, 1989, at Indian Creek Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The series begins with the reason why Dr. Bush was asked to speak on this particular issue, some history of how this doctrine has been approached by Baptists and other Protestants, and begins the discussion of “What is priesthood?” with Genesis 14.
The particular situation that called for the discussion was a conversation being held between churches in the Southern Baptist Convention at the time, but the issue still creates small scale controversy in many churches today. How this doctrine is applied is just as relevant now as it was in 1989, and will likely remain so long into the future. People never seem to like their pastor telling them something from scripture that they didn’t already agree with before he got up there to preach.
This is the first installment in a four part series on the Priesthood of All Believers, an introduction to why this is an important topic to discuss and makes the distinction between a prophet, who brings God’s word to us, and a priest, who brings our words to God. The second installment looked at how the priesthood developed and both the responsibilities and limitations of a priest which define the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. The third installment clarifies the ministry of a pastor, and the final installment walks through the authority of the pastor as leader of the congregation.