Liberty of Conscience and The Believer's Priesthood

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Mark Osgatharp, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,719
    Likes Received:
    0
    Baptists have historically taken "religious liberty" to mean that the government has no right to dictate how men shall worship or what men shall believe nor can any one force the conscience to accept that which it does not believe.

    The believer's priesthood simply means that the individual Christian can pray to God through Jesus Christ without any human mediator.

    Unfortunately, there are many infidels parading under the Christian banner who have taken these biblical and historical Baptist beliefs and twisted them to mean that a man has the right to believe every heresy imaginable and still be considered a Baptist in good standing.

    These are they of whom Jude prophesied would sneak into the churches, turn the grace of God into lasciviousness and thus deny the Lord.

    The word of God gives very explicit instructions as to how to deal with these heretics:

    "Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them."

    "Whose mouths must be stopped."

    "A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition, reject."

    "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations."

    No where does the Bible allow that a person who adheres to false teachings has a right to be a member of one of the Lord's churches. To the contrary, the Lord severly admonished the churches of Asia because they tolerated within their membership vile heretics, such as Jezebel, who taught His servants to commit fornication.

    It is time for the true Baptist churches of this country to rise up and expunge themselves of every vestige of Modernism/Liberalism. Those who do not will eventually be consumed. "A little leaven leavens the whole lump."

    Hear what I say and the Lord give you understanding.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  2. DocCas

    DocCas
    Expand Collapse
    Retired Staff

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2000
    Messages:
    4,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    I could not agree more! The forgotten Baptist Distinctive is Church Discipline! Purge out the old leaven that the lump may be pure, renewed, meet, fit, and prepared for the Master's use!

    This coming Sunday I will begin my 18th year as senior pastor here. In those years we have had, on a few occasions, members go doctrinally astray. After repeated attempts to correct them (Galatians 6:1) if they have not responded, they are dismissed from the membership of our church. This has happened over the false so-called charismata, other serious doctrinal error, and moral failure. The problem is that local Baptist churches have also abandoned the concept of church discipline to the point where those in error can simply go to the church down the street and be welcomed with open arms without those churches bothering to check with us as to their membership status. Perhaps it is the additional income such erring churches covet? So, too often, these people continue in their error until God takes them home, or their false doctrine causes heartache in that church, or even splits that church! How sad. When someone visits our church from another church in the area the first thing I do on Monday morning is call the pastor of that church and tell him his sheep are straying. It is sad that many other pastors do not practice such ethics. :(

    [ September 10, 2002, 11:45 AM: Message edited by: DocCas ]
     
  3. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,719
    Likes Received:
    0
    DocCas,

    Amen! to everything you just said.

    There are many different heresies that churches might need to address. The Modernism heresy is particularly repugnant because, by its very nature, it removes all doctrinal and ethical foundations and leaves the individual to the whims and desires of the flesh.

    100 years aga those who fought against fledgling modernism predicted that it would eventually throw off all moral restraint. Time has proved them true and today, even in this very forum, we have men professing to be "Baptist" who advocate outright immorality and justify it in the name of "Christian liberty." Peter spoke of these when he said,

    "while they [the heretic] promise them [God's people] liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption."

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  4. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well put Thomas and others. I would add that in a previous centuries, church discipline took place for things like missing communion and gossip. We pretty much accept (and even enjoy???) those today.

    I would add that "liberty of conscience" is a slippery item. A conscience operates according to the standard by which it is trained. A poorly trained conscience that accepts moral or doctrinal deviancy is not a matter of personal soul liberty. It is a matter of sin and must be repented of or disciplined out.
     
  5. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,126
    Likes Received:
    320
    Several amens to the above notes.

    We should also remember the heritage behind the soul liberty distinctive.

    Every person has the right to believe according the dictates of his conscience (hopefully a sanctified conscience) without having to fear being burned at the stake.

    HankD
     
  6. longshot

    longshot
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi DocCas,
    You are one of the few people on here I would'nt question about anything, especially pastoral ethics, but here I gotta. Do you have stipulations about calling the home pastor? I can think of many reasons why someone might want to visit or scope out another church and would not neccessarily want their pastor knowing about it.
    Is it ethics or professional courtesy? And while I'm picking your brain, how would you approach and what would you say to one of your flock who was "straying"? Thanks Doc.

    [ September 10, 2002, 08:42 PM: Message edited by: longshot ]
     
  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,139
    Likes Received:
    25
    Bold added to that which I want to emphasize.

    Mark, I think this is a fine point (and a great one) that many people miss. My defense of your right to believe every imaginable heresy extends only to the world we live in - not into my local church. There you are required to believe the Bible and are accountable in that belief to the whole body. In the United States you may be an atheist, Moslem, Buddhist, etc. and I will defend your freedom to have those beliefs. It is not acceptable to believe those and other heresies and still be a Baptist! AND just because some heretic wants to start his own church and call it Baptist does not mean I am bound to recognize it as such.
     
  8. DocCas

    DocCas
    Expand Collapse
    Retired Staff

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2000
    Messages:
    4,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    It is a matter of ethics! From my Philosophy of Ministry:
    2) Some Guidelines for response to visiting families from other churches of like faith:

    a) Call the pastor on Monday morning after their visit on Sunday. This provides him with a chance to "mend the fence." Very likely he will not even know they are unhappy.

    b) Pledge to the pastor that you will not visit the family.

    c) Refuse (that is the word I mean!) to receive them into your membership until they have

    (1) met with their pastor,

    (2) made a considered attempt at reconciliation, and

    (3) you have a sincere blessing from their pastor!

    d) This is the only Biblical way to receive these people, based on 1 Corinthians 12:18: "But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him."</font>[/QUOTE]
     
  9. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,969
    Likes Received:
    128
    DocCas writes
    We have a lot of established churches in our area. Discipline is a problem, particularly when the nearby churches are not of like faith. One local Mega church has become a Mecca for problem members. One member I interviewed said that their family was leaving our church and attending the other “so they could get lost” [in the crowd]. How appropriate.

    My GARBC church has a gym site and a church site. On the gym site we sponsor a Southern Baptist Church, (kinda weird Huh?). The relationship works just as you have expressed. The pastors contact each other when the congregation members attend other churches. Perhaps because the pastors have a deep respect (love) for each other and the work of the gospel.

    [ September 10, 2002, 07:38 PM: Message edited by: Deacon ]
     
  10. Bible-belted

    Bible-belted
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2002
    Messages:
    1,110
    Likes Received:
    0
    The distinctives od Soul Liberty and the Priesthood of All Believers were never meant to be taken out of the context of Regenerate Church Membership.
     
  11. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,126
    Likes Received:
    320
    Right! Thanks for that reminder Latreia.

    HankD
     
  12. Norm

    Norm
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2002
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Originally posted by Mark Osgatharp: ... The believer's priesthood simply means that the individual Christian can pray to God through Jesus Christ without any human mediator. Unfortunately, there are many infidels parading under the Christian banner who have taken these biblical and historical Baptist beliefs and twisted them to mean that a man has the right to believe every heresy imaginable and still be considered a Baptist in good standing.

    Norm: Isn't it a wonderful thing that we have many different types of Baptist churches in this country. The progressive Baptist co-signed to hell in one congregation can find a place to worship and serve God in another, and the conservative Baptist viewed as irrelevant in one can also find a place to worship and serve God in another, too. Whereas I would not fit DocCas' congregation, and believe it rather intrusive and disrespecting of him inserting himself in my business, others have no problem with his behavior and would not find it intrusive but rather pastoral. Baptist are going to differ; it is part of the Baptist DNA. Perhaps it behooves us to try to be a bit more tolerant and understanding of other Baptist sisters and brothers, thereby toning down the usually unecessary rhetoric that charges the other as a heretic and an infidel? Baptists of all stripes have much in common, enough, at least, in which they can work together in many areas of service to the Lord. As we begin to give less attention to the shrillful voices of division, and look for ways to affirm what we can in the other (for example, whereas I do not agree with DocCas' pastoral behavior of informing other pastors of visits by their members, I can affirm his understanding of his role requiring such behaviors as necessary for him to believe he is being deeply commited to his parishoners and understanding of scripture; further, although I would respectfully disagree, I am thankful to God that others have found comfort and direction by these pastoral behaviors), the Baptist witness in this country might become a bit more attractive to a nation of people looking for meaning in their lives.
     
  13. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,139
    Likes Received:
    25
    I'm wondering, Norm, would your version of and beliefs concerning soul liberty defend the right of some Baptists to call other Baptists heretics and infidels?
     
  14. Norm

    Norm
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2002
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  15. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hello Latreia -

    I am in agreement with the second part of your post, namely, "...the Priesthood of All Believers were never meant to be taken out of the context of Regenerate Church Membership." The Priesthood of believers is firmly rooted in 1 Peter 2:9-10. Peter actually borrows this phrase from Exodus 19:6 in which the Isrealites are told that they are the chosen. The New Testament Scriptures make it clear that the "Light to the Gentiles" opened this priesthood to all Christian belivers. Other supporting Scriptures for this are Matthew 27:51 when the curtain is torn in the Temple through Christ's death, Ephesian 2:17-18, and Acts 2:17-18 where the Holy Spirit is poured out on men and women, young and old, slave and free.

    However, the concept of Soul Liberty applies to more than just believers. Soul Liberty as a concept requires a few logical deductions upon reading of the Scriptures. Yes, the early Jewish converts were liberated from the Law, as are we, for the sake of our salvation, but this is only a part of the concept. The cornerstone, for me personally, is Romans 14:10-12.
    Now, this statement made by Paul, borrowed from Isaiah 49:18 & 23, leads us to three conclusions:
    1) I alone am accountable to God for my actions,
    2) My fellow believer is also accountable for his actions,
    3) EVERY human being is accountable for their own actions.

    This is Soul Liberty in a nutshell. From these deductions we are led into the fragile concept of RESPECT for the individual believer. The apostles before the Sanhedrin in Acts 5:29 declared that it was to God that they stand accountable and must therefore obey Him. Christ told us not to fear those that could kill the body but rather fear He Who can destroy body and soul. We are not answerable to other men, hence, we gain a respect that they are not answerable to us.

    The concept of Soul Liberty IS abused, don't get me wrong. However, it is a God-given right to every descendant of Adam who possesses the Divine Breath of God sparking his or her existence. Soul Liberty goes not only to the regenerated church membership, it also extends to the heretic and non-believer as well.

    It is Christ who will seperate the righteous from the non-righteous as He claimed that right, given by the Father, in John 5:22.

    In short, Paul asks a rhetorical question in 1Corinthians 10:29b:
    It's a good morsel on which to chew, is it not?
     
  16. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,719
    Likes Received:
    0
    Clint Kritzer,

    Liberty in Christ is quite a different thing from liberty of conscience. All men have liberty of conscience. It it not possible to deprive them of it. Liberty of conscience simply means that all mean believe what they believe and, though you may persuade them to change that belief, you cannot force them to believe something they do not believe.

    Christian liberty, by contrast, is the liberty that comes when our souls are set free from the love of sin that we might be the servants of God. The Christian is not at liberty to believe or do anything other than what the Lord commands or allows.

    Romans 14 speaks only of things allowed by God, such as eating meat or not eating meat. I should not judge a man for being a vegetarian nor should he judge me for eating meat because, though it is not wrong to eat meat, neither is it required.

    When God's word says something is categorically wrong, such as lying, I have ever right to judge the man who lies as a sinner. Furthermore, the church has the obligation to judge her membership and discipline them if they refuse to repent of sin or of heresy.

    Liberty of conscience does not mean right to church membership nor Christian fellowship.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  17. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
    Mr. Osgatharp -

    We are in agreement that Soul Liberty or Liberty of Conscience is not relative to the dealings of a church but rather to the individual. That is why I quoted Latreia before making my post.

    However, although Paul is speaking of the eating of meat in Romans 14, the concept is expanded by Paul himself as the chapter continues. Verses 14-18 go on to speak of judgment and Paul's disapproval of it and climaxes with the statement that these are not the things about which the Kingdom of God are centered. Paul was using the issue of eating meat as an example of a triviality. BTW, the meat referred to in this passage is probably meant to mean meat that was offered at pagan temples. I'm not sure that vegetarianism goes back to the first century. [​IMG]

    Likewise, a church has the right to accept or expel members according to immorality or as a result of discipline, yes. However, Christ Himself told us that outside of the church we are to love our enemies and greet those that are not of like mind with us. Matthew 5:43-48 is quite clear about this.

    Nowhere is it required that a church accept anyone off of the street. On the other hand, we are commnanded by Christ to show civility and respect, even to those we view as being in error spiritually.

    [ September 12, 2002, 02:34 AM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  18. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,126
    Likes Received:
    320
    Yes! Thanks for the added insight.

    HankD
     
  19. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,719
    Likes Received:
    0
    Romans 14:2,

    "For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eatheth herbs."

    Sounds like vegetarianism to me. ;0)

    Othewise, I basically agree with your post.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  20. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
    I gladly concede the vegetarian issue! Biblical or not, however, it sounds like a very unpleasant way to go.

    Pass the biscuits and gravy, please! [​IMG]
     

Share This Page

Loading...