What is a Baptist?

Baptist Distinctives are often expressed by the acrostic “B-A-P-T-I-S-T-S”

B – The Bible is Our Final Authority.

We are not bound by tradition, board decisions, papal decrees, or any other extra-biblical books. We take the BIBLE as our ONLY rule for faith and practice. We teach that the Scriptures are sufficient for ALL things and God has provided us with everything necessary to nurture and sustain spiritual life in the Scriptures. (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20-21)

A – The Autonomy of the Local Church

Each church is self-governing and self-propagating. The church answers directly to Christ, the Head of the Church. (Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 5:13; Matthew 18:15; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23)

P – The Priesthood of the Individual Believer

Each believer has direct access to God. A person must only go through one Mediator—the Man Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5,9; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Peter 2:5,9; Hebrews 4:16)

T – Two Ordinances—Baptism by Immersion and Communion

In Baptism by immersion, we publicly confess our commitment to Christ and declare our belief in the death, burial, and resurrection. As we partake in the Lord’s Table, we examine ourselves, publicly renew our commitment to Christ, and proclaim His death until He comes again. There are not sacraments—something that conveys saving grace. (Acts 2:41-47; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:14-16; Romans 6:3-5)

I – Individual Soul Liberty

We believe that the individual believer will give an account to God for their own life before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Each person is accountable for what they have done with Jesus.  (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Romans 14:1-23; 1 John 2:27; Titus 4:3)

S – Saved, Baptized Church Membership

We teach that church membership is limited to those who have publicly professed that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, have obediently followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism by immersion, and have evidenced true conversion by a changed life. We do not place infants on our membership list. Each member, regardless of age, must give a testimony of salvation by grace based on faith and not of works. (Acts 2:41-47, 1 Corinthians 12:12, 2 Corinthians 6:14, Ephesians 4:3)

T – Two Offices: Pastor and Deacon

We have two offices to administrate the Church: Pastor and Deacon. In the New Testament the terms Pastor, Elder, Bishop, and Overseer are all interchangeable.  The pastor is to lead the church but, not alone.  In the New Testament we find a plurality of both elders and deacons. Each office is uniquely gifted to help the pastor lead the congregation.  Elders are spiritual overseers. They don’t rule over the congregation but work in concert with the pastor to shepherd them toward biblical faithfulness.  Deacons are the servant models for the church and take care of needs within the body. The local congregation identifies and elects its own elders and deacons. (1Timothy 3:1-13; Philippians 1:1)

S – Separation of Church and State

The church is not separated from the state (she is active as a voice in policy-making decisions and should vote, etc.). The state is separated from the church and has no power to enforce unbiblical statutes upon the church nor does it have the right to have a state-sponsored church. (Matthew 13:1-7; Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1-8; Acts 4:17-19)

 

 

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