(What makes a Baptist a
Baptists have historically believed that the 66 books of the
Bible are verbally inspired of God, that they are inerrant and
that the Bible is the final authority for all issues of life and
Autonomy of the Local Church
Baptists have historically held to the Apostolic teaching of the
church as established in the book of Acts and the epistles of
the New Testament. Each local assembly of believers is self
governing and independently accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ
for their beliefs and practices. Each local assembly of
believers is governed by congregational decision as they seek
the will of God, not by a hierarchical system of clergy.
Priesthood of the Believer
Baptists have historically believed in the Bible doctrine of the
priesthood of every believer. They believe the believer has one
Mediator between man and God, the “man Christ Jesus.” The
believer has direct access to the “throne of grace.” Because all
believers serve as priests before God, they are obligated to be
sanctified and consecrated in their “work of the ministry.”
Baptists maintain the Apostolic teaching that there are only two
Biblical offices ordained of God for local churches. Those
offices are the Pastor and Deacons. These offices have detailed
Scriptural qualifications and specific job descriptions.
Individual Soul Liberty
Baptists have historically held that all people (believers and
unbelievers alike) have been given by God the individual freedom
to choose whatever belief system or manner of worship they deem
to be Scriptural. In the same sense they understand that each
person will be individually held accountable by God for the
correctness of their belief system and worship either at the
Judgment Seat of Christ (for believers) or the Great White
Throne (for unbelievers).
Baptists have historically believed in the Scriptural command to
live their lives separate from worldly practices and amusements
and have refused to be identified with or cooperate with those
who deny the historical faith of the Word of God even though
those people may profess to be Christians.
Baptists have historically believed that the only two ordinances
for the Church are the Lord’s Supper and Believer’s Baptism.
They believe that neither of these ordinances confer any grace
to the participants. They do not believe there is any
sacramental merit in theses ordinances. The believer is
positionally “complete in Christ” the moment he believes and
nothing needs to be added to what Christ has done.