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Author Topic: Dispensationalists Got Rid of the Old Southern Baptist Belief In the Priesthood of the Believer  (Read 4409 times)

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Dispensationalists Got Rid of the Old Southern Baptist Belief In the Priesthood of the Believer
Bernard Pyron

Under the leadership of dispensationalist W.A. Crisswell, at the 1988 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in
San Antonio, a resolution was passed critical of the Baptist belief in the "priesthood of the believer " and promoted the authority of the Baptist clergy over the doctrines of the church members. Crisswell told a group of pastors that "the man of God who is the pastor of the church is the ruler."

The priesthood of the believer means that the believer has the authority from God to bring Christian doctrines and morality to the world - and also to be his own "priest" in interpreting the word of God. To be your own "priest" or preacher you must first know the truth from Scripture and have a strong love for it. Otherwise, the believer as "priest" may simply accepts for himself some set of false doctrines and tries to make others believe the false doctrines.

The New Testament authority for the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer is I Peter  2: 5 and 2: 9-10  " Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 .  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."

I Peter 2 :5, 9 -10 is a translation of Exodus 19: 3-6 from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant, from the Old Covenant priesthood to the priesthood of all believers in Christ's Gospel.

In Exodus 19: 5 God says the people of Israel of the Old Covenant were
"a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:" In I Peter 2 : 9 Peter says "you are a chosen generation, a peculiar people."

In Exodus 19: 6 God says to the people of Israel, "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Peter in I Peter 2 : 9 says "ye are.royal priesthood, a holy nation."

Who is Peter talking about in I Peter 2 : 5-9 ? He is clearly saying that the Christian believers in Christ's Gospel are now lively stones built up into a spiritual house, in Christ Jesus, who is the chief corner stone laid in Zion, who is precious to those which believe, but is a stumbling stone to those who stumble at the word and are disobedient to it.

And Peter in I Peter 2 : 5 is saying that now under the New Covenant by Christ those who believe in him and in his Gospel are priests.

Why would W.A Crisswell and the other diepensationalists involved in their takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention in the sixties and later oppose the old Baptist doctrine of the priesthood of the believer?

Crisswell told a group of pastors that "the man of God who is the pastor of the church is the ruler."

Remember that I Peter 5: 2-3 says "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3. Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock."

I Peter 5:2-3 says that what we call priests and preachers are to feed God's people , but they are not to constrain the people of God, are not to make money from feeding the people of God, and are not to be lords over them. This identifies how the priests and hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church redefined the ekklesia (Greek), the Ecclesia (Latin) and the churche (early English) so that the priests and religious hierarchy could rule over the people . The ekkle is just a meeting,assembly,gathering or congregation of God's people , his elect plus some who are beginning to become interested. The ekklesia is not a proper noun; it is a common noun. The Ecclesia and the Churche were made into proper nouns,and into a man-made organization to be ruled by the clergy class.

William Tyndale in his 1526 New Testament translated ekklesia consistently as congregation, except for Acts 14: 13 and Acts 19: 37 where he used churche, meaning a pagan place of worship.

Any doctrine is established by the original meaning of the Hebrew or Greek words used to express that doctrine. A translation into English should not change that doctrine. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance defines ekklesia , number 1577, as "a calling out, i.e. (to) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation..."

The old English word circe, chirche, kirk or churche is said to have meant the house of a lord , a place of pagan worship, or circe, the Greek goddess. But circe, or churche was redefined by the clergy. Neither churche as a house of a pagan lord or circe as the Greek goddess have the same meaning as the Greek word ekklesia .

Why was the church redefined, and what did it come to mean?

"The word "church" was used by Theodore Beza in 1556, a Protestant, who followed John Calvin at Geneva, Switzerland. As a Presbyterian, Beza believed in the idea of a catholic church and its hierarchical form of government and therefore chose to support this false concept by using the word "church" instead of "assembly." The reason is obvious in that the use of the word "congregation" or "assembly" would not support his church's hierarchical form of church government. William Whittingham's Testament of 1557 followed Beza's usage of "church" and was actually the first edition of the Geneva Bible and was a revision of the Tyndale New Testament."

The King James Version followed the Geneva Bible in translating ekklesia as church.

Dispensationalist W.A. Crisswell wanted the preacher to rule over the doctrines of his congregation and hence he opposed the old Southern Baptist doctrine of the priesthood of the believer.  The Baptist belief in the priesthood of the believer goes back to the 18th century American Great Awakening Revivals, out of which some evangelical denominations arose.

The Great Awakening Revivals in the 13 colonies was an American re-boot of the Reformation, and helped create our "birth right," which is no longer talked about very much.

Since W.A. Crisswell was a dispensationalist and dispensationalism is taught and maintained within a church system in which the preacher is the authority and rules over the beliefs of the members, he opposed the doctrine. The older pre-dispensationalist Southern Baptist priesthood of the believer does not work within the dispensationalist church system which rules over the beliefs of the members to make sure they follow dispensationalist doctrines.

W.A. Crisswell and others in the sixties led the Southern Baptist Convention to become a totally dispensationalist denomination.  They fired the professors in their seminaries who were not dispensationalists and apparently over the next years got rid of the preachers who were not dispensationalists.

George W. Truett was an earlier preacher of the First Baptist Church in Dallas - but Truett was not a dispensationalist like W. A. Crisswell.


"George Washington Truett , also known as George W. Truett (1867 1944), was an American clergyman who was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, from 1897 until 1944 and the president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1927 to 1929. He was one of the most significant Southern Baptist preachers and writers of his era."

Again from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_Truett

"Truett had a special affinity with cowboys who worked the cattle drives. He was concerned that these men spent a great deal of their lives isolated from society and the availability of the church. Every year for thirty-seven years, he took several weeks from his pulpit to travel with the cattle drives in the Davis Mountains of West Texas. By the 21st century, many area had established Cowboy churches to minister to these individuals"

This reminds me of Robert Gaddy Baucom, pastor of the South San Antonio Baptist Church, who was a regular at the campfires of the southwest Bexar county, Texas "Wolf Hunters," who ran hounds after coyotes.  Baucom even had his own dogs which he brought out on Saturday nights to join with the hounds of others.  I doubt if Robert Baucom was a dispensationalist at the time when he was the preacher at the South San Antonio Baptist Church

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