What Do Baptist Really Believe?
What makes your church unique? What do Baptists believe that makes us distinct from other churches of other denominations in our area...and other religions in the world? It is no secret that Baptists are distinct in their belief system. It stems from a desire to make God’s Word the foundation of every belief, never putting the traditions of man or the teachings of our fathers above the authority of Scripture.
Colossians 2:8 states, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Does what a church teach really matter? Honestly, what we are seeing in our "Christian" culture is a move toward tolerable views of Scripture, a denial of the sufficiency of Scripture, the embracing of the social gospel, a captivation by worldiness, and an unbiblical view regarding church leadership.
The reality is that a church that doesn’t stand for much may seem to reach many people..but they are probably reaching them with watered down truth; a shallow gospel message backed by shallow doctrinal truths at best produces shallow Christians with a shallow understanding of God’s Word. However, at its worst, it produces individuals depending on their experiences, relationships, and feelings for their salvation and sanctification.
2 Timothy 3:16 states, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
So shouldn’t we just study the Bible...disconnected from denomination or labels?
Actually, labels are helpful. They help us understand where we stand and where others stand. The fact that we can define clearly what we believe in Scripture in relation to how our church implements that truth is a direct result of our holding up the truth of Scripture as our template for ministry and worship.
In the next few weeks we will spend some time looking at the beliefs that make us distinct, or different, from other religions. This will not be all-inclusive, and will not cover all of the major doctrines of our faith. There are many aspects of Biblical Christianity that other denominations share.
many use the Bible
many believe in a person called Jesus
many believe in a heaven and a hell
Instead, we will try to study those things that make us distinct...the aspects of our Baptist doctrine that distinguish us from other “Christian” denominations.
B - Biblical Authority
A - Autonomy of the Local Church
P - Priesthood of the Believer
T - Two Ordinances (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper)
I - Individual Soul Liberty
S - Saved Church Membership
T - Two Offices (Pastor and Deacon)
S - Separation of Church and State
Biblical Authority - The Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. No decree of men or of any council of churches can supersede the Bible (2Tim 3:16,17)
Autonomy of the Local Visible Church - The local church is an independent body accountable only to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. No religious hierarchy outside the local visible church may dictate a church's beliefs or practices (Col 1:8)
Priesthood of Believers - Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No human mediator is needed between God and man (1 Peter 2:5-9)
Two Ordinances - The local visible church practices only two ordinances, Baptism by immersion in water and Lord's Supper, or communion (Mat 28:19,20; 1 Cor. 11:23-32)
Individual Soul Liberty - Every individual has the liberty and responsibility to believe as his own conscience dictates, within the framework of the Word of God. No one is forced to assent to any belief against his will. However, this doctrine does not grant a license to sin or to continually oppose the practices of the Church based upon Scripture (Rom. 14:5-12)
Saved Church Membership - Local, visible church membership is restricted to individuals who give believable testimony of a personal faith in Christ and publicly identified themselves with Him in believer's baptism (Acts 2:41-47)
Two Offices - Pastor and Deacon - Only two Biblically mandated offices exist in the Church: Pastor and Deacon. These two offices exist within the local visible church, not as a hierarchy outside of or over the local church (1 Tim 3:1,13)
Separation of Church and State - God established both the Church and the civil government, and gave each its own distinctive sphere of operation. Neither should control the other (Matt. 22:15-22)
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