We’ll come back and hit “Two Ordinances” tomorrow but I’m going to combine the discussion of Priesthood and Soul Liberty into one today.
The P and I of the BAPTIST acronym can most easily summed up as the “We Ain’t No Catholics” declarations.
For unlike the papists, every Baptist gets to be his very own priest and can directly access God to pray, confess his sins, and debate the efficacy of abstaining from meat on Fridays. The absence of a priest does not mean, however, that the penitent man gets a free pass. Penance will be exacted each Sunday morning after the second hymn while the organist plays Nothing Between.
Individual Soul Liberty, on the other hand, theoretically grants each individual person the right to decide for themselves what to believe and practice based on their understanding of what the Scriptures command. This is the reason why fundamentalist churches allow each person the freedom to set their own personal standards based on their convictions rather than exerting authoritarian rule. (Permit me a moment to wipe away the tears of mirth after writing that) No, but seriously though, there has never to my knowledge been a recorded case of a fundamentalist actually being caught practicing soul liberty and living to tell the tale.
Combine these two points together and they definitely prove that Baptists are not Roman Catholics. Yet, somehow, similarities remain. For all the lip service to liberty it seems that they are as dependent on the traditions of men as any person possibly could be.
“We already have our own local pope and household god, thanks. We don’t need to be bothered with yours.”