The Christian’s Bill of Rights


Vince Hardy

BECAUSE, you, a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, have been so often reminded of your duties and responsibilities;

AND BECAUSE Holy Scripture also speaks clearly of your rights and freedoms as a member of the family of God and His royal priesthood;

AND BECAUSE you are seldom fully told of your birthrights as a child of God and heir of all things;

AND BECAUSE for seventeen centuries the church has restricted its members to a role far narrower than that intended by the Spirit of God and described in His Word, while separating pastors into a higher professional class and burdening them unduly;

AND BECAUSE this segregation among believers has closed many paths of ministry and service to you, limited your ability to speak in worship and adoration in the church, and grievously suppressed your vital ties to the lives of your Christian brothers and sisters;

Therefore let it be known from this hour and day and year that you, having believed the witness of the Scriptures concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and having put your trust in Him, are a full and
equal member of the body of Christ and enjoy the following rights and privileges:

I. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to call on your Father in the presence of fellow believers and to participate fully in the family life of the household of God. You are free to experience the triumphs and trials of that family and to claim your rich heritage as an adopted child of the King.

II. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to address God in praise and worship, speaking with your own words, both alone and while leading others’ thoughts and hearts in a time set apart for worship. You have been chosen and appointed as a priest of God and given full rights of access to Him, whether alone or in a gathering of ten thousand.

III. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to share your joys and sorrows with the congregation during a time designated for such sharing, and to receive prayers and blessing from them. As you share with them your needs, your progress, and your difficulties in life, they have a mandate to give you their whole-hearted encouragement and support, including practical help when possible.

IV. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT and duty to bless the body of Christ with what you have learned from Scripture and from life during a time of sharing. You may also receive response and confirmation from them, thus enriching the understanding of all.

V. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to support in prayer from your fellow believers as you continue to take steps of faith and persevere. You do not have to face the trails of life alone. When you stumble, you have the option of confessing your sins to the assembly and receiving assurance of God’s forgiveness.

VI. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to experience an ever-new quality of life and to grow daily in your personal walk without undue restriction or minimizing of the gifts, talents, and experience God has given you. You are released and empowered now to learn to communicate freely (yet with self-control,) outgrowing the common reticence that results from a lifetime of sitting in silence.

VII. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to be accountable to – and receive loving discipline and guidance from – your brothers and sisters in Christ as you deepen and expand your relationships with them and with God.

VIII. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT associate with and join forces with others in ministry. You may exercise your gifts in ministry to others by responding directly to God’s leading, without undue
restriction. And you may expect to have that calling confirmed within the congregation.

IX. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to participate fully in the worldwide mission of the church, which may include leading other believers into new efforts. Because of the large and intricate web of
committed Christians around the earth, your impact will not be restricted by time or distance.

X. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to know what God is doing through the world and to join with other Christians in gathering and distributing such information to foster awareness and involvement. You have a right to investigate, to learn, and to share with the church the full scope of His movements in every culture and country.

XI. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT, if you are a pastor, to focus your time and effort upon equipping others to do the work of ministry, rather than being expected always to supervise or perform that
work yourself. As a leader in an open church, you are free from sole responsibility for its success in every endeavor.

XII. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT, no matter what your calling or gifts may be, to live up to your full potential and become like Christ in a way that only you can be, free from the binding customs and
barriers that until now have afflicted those in traditionally-run, closed churches.

In all these twelve spheres of service and growth, you have the right to expect from an open, Scriptural church and its leaders a constant and endless stream of support, strength, guidance, and encouragement. They in turn will expect no less from you.

(The above material was published by Open Church Ministries, Colorado Springs, CO.)

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