'By What Authority Do I Preach?'

The following is the extemporaneous speech that Nancy Hastings Sehested gave before the Shelby County Baptist Association on October 19, 1987.

"I am Nancy Hastings Sehested, messenger from Prescott Memorial Baptist Church, pastor of Prescott Memorial Baptist Church and servant of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"I am a full-blooded Southern Baptist. My mother is a Baptist deacon. My grandfather was a Southern Baptist minister for 70 of his 93 years. My dad is a retired Southern Baptist minister [with] 50 years of ordained ministry.

"My four siblings were the creative ones in our family, choosing creative careers. But me? No. I decided to follow in my dad's and my granddad's footsteps and become a pastor.

"By what authority do I preach? That question you ask of me. It is not a new question. It is a question that was asked of our Lord Jesus Christ on a number of occasions. He had not the authority of the religious establishment, nor the authority of the state, [but] the authority of none other than the Holy Spirit that moved in his midst.

"And so by what authority do I preach and bear witness to my faith? By the authority of the Southern Baptist Convention? By the authority of the Shelby County Baptist Association? By the authority of Prescott Memorial Baptist Church?

"No. No, my brothers and sisters. By the authority of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, who did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, becoming a servant.

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