This is the work of Brother Adrian Moore. He has given us his permission to use the material here freely.
Bible - the soul authority for faith and practice
Autonomy or independence of the local church
Priesthood of all believers
T wo offices -
Individual soul liberty and responsibility
Separation of Church & State
Believer's Baptism by immersion
Saved, baptized and serving members
Baptist Distinctives More Detailed.
Bible- The soul authority in faith and practice
The Bible is a Divine Revelation given of God to men, and is a complete and infallible guide and standard of authority in all matters of religion and morals; whatever it teaches is to be believed, and whatever it commands is to be obeyed; whatever it commends is to be accepted as both right and useful; whatever it condemns is to be avoided as both wrong and hurtful; but what it neither commands nor teaches is not to be imposed on the conscience as of religious obligation.
The New Testament is the constitution of Christianity, the charter of the Christian Church, the only authoritative code of ecclesiastical law, and the warrant and justification of all Christian institutions. In it alone is life and immortality brought to light, the way of escape from wrath revealed, and all things necessary to salvation made plain; while its messages are a gospel of peace on earth and of hope to a lost world.
Quoted from "The New Directory for Baptist Churches", Written by: Edward T. Hiscox (1859)
The doctrine of the INERRANT (free from error), INFALLIBLE (incapable of error), INSPIRED (God breathed), Word of God has always been at the forefront of Baptist belief. It must be the final authority in faith and practice for it is GOD'S WORD given to man to reveal Himself and to instruct mankind in the way of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the instruction manual in righteousness and can not be superseded by any other set of rules or creeds of man. The dictates of man must never usurp the position of preeminence of the Holy Bible.
KEY VERSES: II TIMOTHY 3:14-17
PLENARY... complete in every respect, all
VERBAL... the very words
Baptists believe that all (plenary) of the very words (verbal) of the Bible are inspired (God breathed) by God.
Profitable... helpful, serviceable, advantageous, to heap up and accumulate benefit
Doctrine... teaching, instruction
The Bible may be used as the perfect textbook to present the systematic teachings of the great truths relating to God Himself.
Reproof... proof of conviction
The Bible is to be used to convict man of the wrong in his life.
Correction... a straightening up again
The Bible will show the right way
Instruction... tutorage, training
Righteousness... right living
God's Word provides all the necessary details, which will allow a Christian to become fully equipped for every good work.
REFERENCES: Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 119; Proverbs 30:5; Luke 4:4; Luke 11:28; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 4:12; I Peter 1:23; I John 2:14
Autonomy or independence of the local church
Webster defines autonomy as (1) the quality or state of being self-governing; esp: the right of self-government (2) self-directing freedom and esp. moral independence.
Baptists assert that each particular local Church is self-governing, and independent of all other churches, and of all persons and bodies of men whatever, as to the administration of its own affairs; that it is of right and should be, free from any other human authority, whether civil or ecclesiastical, and that this is the New Testament idea of church government.
Quoted from "The New Directory for Baptist Churches," Written by: Edward T Hiscox (1859)
Even though there is nothing wrong with cooperation between local churches, one church is not to exercise authority over another. Each local assembly is to stand before God as an independent entity and is responsible for its own actions. The local church is to call its own pastor, carry out its own discipline, administrate (for that local assembly) the statutes of the Word of God and endeavor to serve the Lord as guided by the Holy Spirit.
AUTONOMY REFERENCES: Matthew 18:15-17 (church discipline)
Acts 13:1-3 (church sends out missionaries)
Philippians 4:15,16 (local church supports missions)
Revelation 2:8,12,18; 3:1,7 (local assemblies)
KEY VERSES: ACTS 14:26 - 15:31
14:26...They go back to their local sending church
14:27...They give a mission report.
15:1...There were certain teachers in the church at Antioch that taught a doctrine that was causing confusion.
15:2... they determined...The they is the membership of the local church.
15:3... brought on their way by the church...The local church was seeking advice from the church at Jerusalem.
15:4... they were received of the church...This is the church at Jerusalem.
15:6-21...The matter at hand is discussed.
Peter speaks (vs.7-11)
Paul & Barnabas speak (v.12)
James speaks (vs. 13-21)
James is the pastor of the Jerusalem church.
Multitude listened (v.12)
These are the church members of the Jerusalem church.
15:22...The findings pleased the whole church and so a RECOMMENDATION was made to be sent to the church at Antioch.
15:30... multitude together...These are the members of the church at Antioch.
15:31...The recommendation was accepted by the church at Antioch.
IT WAS NOT MANDATORY THAT THE CHURCH AT ANTIOCH AGREE WITH THE CHURCH AT JERUSALEM. THE FINDINGS WERE NOT IMPOSED ON THEM, BUT ACCEPTED BY THEM AS RIGHT AND PROPER COUNSEL. THEY HAD THE AUTONOMOUS PRIVILEGE TO DECIDE FOR THEIR OWN LOCAL ASSEMBLY.
Priesthood of all believers
This is the belief that all born-again believers have the privilege of direct access to God. It is not necessary to go through any other human channel. The Old Testament priest stood between God and man and represented man to God. They offered the sacrifices and performed all ceremonial acts of worship. They were keepers of the Tabernacle and later the Temple. They would burn the incense and sprinkle the blood of the sacrifices upon the altar. But now, because of the shedding of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, (which makes access to God possible), we can go directly to God as a result of our right standing before Him. We have the necessary way to be priests before a Holy God.
OLD TESTAMENT PRIESTHOOD
Leviticus 21:17-23 NO BLEMISH
Ezra 2:62 PROOF OF GENEALOGY
Exodus 28:40,41 SPECIAL GARMENTS
Exodus 29:21 PURIFIED BY BLOOD
EXODUS 19:6.....COMPARED TO.....I PETER 2:9
NEW TESTAMENT PRIESTHOOD
Ephesians 5:25-27 NO BLEMISH
John 1:12 PROOF OF GENEALOGY
Romans 13:12-14; Ephesians 6:11;
Revelation 19:8 SPECIAL GARMENTS
I Peter 1:19 PURIFIED BY BLOOD
ENTRANCE MADE POSSIBLE
Matthew 27:50,51 VEIL IS RENT
Ephesians 2:14-18 PARTITION BROKEN DOWN
Ephesians 3:2 ACCESS MADE AVAILABLE
I Peter 2:9 ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
Revelation 1:6 KINGS AND PRIESTS
Hebrews 4:14-16 COME BOLDLY BEFORE THE THRONE
Hebrews 10:19-22 ENTER THROUGH THE BLOOD
I Peter 2:5 OFFER SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES
I Timothy 2:1-6 INTERCESSION FOR ALL
Two offices - Pastor and Deacon
Baptists hold that there are two; pastors and deacons: besides these, there are no others. They assert that bishop and elder in the primitive churches were identical in office and authority, being pastors when holding the superintendence of churches, and evangelists when preaching from place to place; and that ruling and teaching elders were not, and properly should not be, distinct and separate offices in the churches. Consequently bishops are not a superior order of clergy, nor ruling elders an order distinct from teaching elders.
The term pastor signifies a shepherd, and well indicates the nature of the relation he sustains to the Church; that of leading, feeding, guiding and guarding the flock committed to his care.
The term deacon (diakonos) in the New Testament means a minister; a servant; one who ministers to, or serves others.
Quoted from The New Directory for Baptist Churches Written by: Edward T. Hiscox (1859)
Qualifications for Pastor: I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9
The term Pastor is found only once in the New Testament...Ephesians 4:11
The term bishop is found in Philippians 1:1; I Timothy 3:1,2; Titus 1:7; I Peter 2:25
(I Peter 2:25 refers to Jesus)
The term elder is found in many passages. Acts 14:23; 15:2,4,6,22,23; 20:17; 21:18;
I Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:5; (notice the interchangeable terms)
James 5:14; I Peter 5:1
Qualifications for Deacon: I Timothy 3:8-13
The need for deacons is introduced in Acts 6:1-7. (They are not called deacons here in the passage, but we find the need continued and the office ordained)
Philippians 1:1 constitutes the entire membership of the local church as SAINTS, BISHOPS, DEACONS
Individual soul liberty and responsibility
Every man by nature possesses the right of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures, and in all religious concerns; it is his privilege to read and explain the Bible for himself, without dictation from, or dependence on, any one, being responsible to God alone for his use of the sacred truth.
Every man has the right to hold such religious opinions as he believes the Bible teaches, without harm or hindrance from any one on that account, so long as he does not intrude upon, or interfere with, the rights of others by doing so.
All men have the right, not only to believe, but also to profess and openly declare, whatever religious opinions they may entertain, providing they be not contrary to common morality, and do no injustice to others.
All men possess the common right to worship God according to the teachings of the Scriptures, as they understand them, without hindrance or molestation, so long as they do not injure or interfere with the rights of others by so doing.
Quoted from The New Directory for Baptist Churches Written by: Edward T. Hiscox (1894)
The individual, born again believer, has within himself the Holy Spirit, (John 14:17, Romans 8:9) which is fully capable to teach the truth of the Word of God to that individual (John 14:26). It is not that there is no need for teachers in the church, for God has certainly placed these in the body of Christ for that purpose (Ephesians 4:11-12); however, God ultimately imparts truth to the heart of the individual and that person is responsible as well as accountable for that truth.
I Thessalonians 5:21-22 (proven to self)
II Peter 3:18 (individual growth)
Acts 17:11 (searching for truth)
II Timothy 1:12 (personal assurance)
II PETER 1:20...(a contradictory verse or not?) This verse must be understood in light of proper context.
Verse 21 refers to the Holy Spirit revealing the Word, therefore it must be through the Spirit that it is understood.
Private interpretation means self-explanation apart from God, which will lead to the wrong conclusions. (John 15:5) GOD SAID WHAT HE MEANT TO SAY, MEANT WHAT HE SAID, AND KNOWS WHAT IT MEANS. I Corinthians 2:14 declares that biblical truth is understood by spiritual means.
No individual believer has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit over another. In other words, IF YOU ARE SAVED, YOU CAN LEARN THE WORD OF GOD BECAUSE THE TEACHER LIVES WITHIN YOU. You do not need a pope, (or like figure who claims to have spiritual infallibility or superiority), to be the only source of proper interpretation of Scripture. This is cult-like in nature and is the common practice of such as the Roman Catholic Church and Jehovah's Witnesses. It is very similar to the social caste system practiced in Hinduism (a division of society based on differences of wealth, inherited rank or privilege, profession, or occupation).
HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS
I Corinthians 3:11-15
II Corinthians 5:9,10
KEY VERSES: ROMANS 14:1-23
v.1... doubtful disputations...judicial debate concerning the weak area
v.3... We do not sit in judgment over these matters; each has the right of personal decision.
v.5... fully persuaded in his own mind...Our convictions must be our own based on our understanding of Scripture.
WHAT YOU TRULY BELIEVE YOU WILL PRACTICE; EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST RELIGIOUS RHETORIC.
v.10... for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ...Each individual believer will stand before God alone to give a personal account of his life.
v.12... PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY
v.13... Instead of being critical and judgmental, let us be an encouragement and one that edifies. DON'T BE A HINDRANCE, BUT A HELP!
v.14... I know, and am persuaded... Paul had already settled some things in his own mind and therefore had personal convictions on these matters.
v.15... WALKING CHARITABLY SHOULD BE THE PRINCIPLE BY WHICH WE LIVE OUR DAILY LIVES AND HOW WE DEAL WITH THOSE AROUND US.
v.17... There are matters far more important than trivial debates over meat and drink.
v.22,23... Walking by faith before God is the way to go.
Separation of Church and State
Civil governments, rulers and magistrates are to be respected, and in all temporal matters, not contrary to conscience and the word of God, to be obeyed; but they have no jurisdiction in spiritual concerns, and have no right of dictation to, of control over, or of interference with, matters of religion; but are bound to protect all good citizens in the peaceable enjoyment of their religious rights and privileges.
No organic union of Church and State should be tolerated, but entire separation maintained: the Church should neither ask for, nor accept of, support from civil authority, since to do so would imply the right of civil dictation and control. The support of religion belongs to those who profess it.
We believe the Scriptures teach that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interest and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed, except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. But that civil rulers have no rights of control over, or of interference with, religious matters.
Quoted from The New Directory for Baptist Churches, Written by: Edward T. Hiscox (1859)
***NOTICE AN INTERESTING COMPARISON***
AMENDMENT I (Constitution of the United States of America)
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
ARTICLE 52 (Constitution of the United Soviet Socialist Republic)
(1) Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed freedom of conscience, that is, the right to profess or not to profess any religion, and to conduct religious worship or atheistic propaganda. Incitement of hostility or hatred on religious grounds is prohibited.
(2) In the USSR, the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church.
The previous Article 52 of Communist Russia's Constitution records the way that our own courts and legislators in America are interpreting our own constitution. THERE IS TO BE A SEPARATION CHURCH AND STATE, BUT NOT THE WAY THAT THE COMMUNISTS DICTATE OR THE WAY THAT IS NOW BELIEVED TO BE THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF OUR OWN CONSTITUTION. True separation is found declared in the Scriptures.
*** The state (government) should not run the church nor dictate its policies.
*** This is not saying that the church should not obey the laws of the state (as long as they do not violate clear biblical teaching). These laws should be obeyed as good citizens of that country.
*** The church (as an organized body) should not run the state.
*** This is not saying that the church should not be a spiritual and moral influence in the affairs of the state. It must be in order to direct the conscience of man toward God.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD... Psalm 33:12
Matthew 22:21... There is a distinction made by the Lord between human government and spiritual matters. Webster defines separate as to set or keep apart, to make a distinction between
John 18:36... The government of Jesus Christ is not yet established. (Luke 12:13,14; Psalm 72:11)
Acts 5:29... God is the higher authority (Matthew 10:28; Acts 4:18,19)
Romans 13:1-7... The Christian should maintain proper respect for human government. (Titus 3:1; I Peter 2:13-17)
I Timothy 2:1-4... We are to pray for our government and leadership.
Matthew 5:13,14... We are to be salt and light in our generation.
GOOD CITIZENSHIP GOES HAND IN HAND WITH CHRISTIANITY.
Believer's Baptism by immersion and The Lord's Supper
AS TO BAPTISM...
They believe that baptism is the immersion, dipping, or burying a candidate in water, on a profession of his faith in Christ, and that such is the only form of baptism taught in the New Testament, or practiced by the Apostles and first Christians. Consequently the form is essential to the ordinance, and nothing but immersion can be scriptural baptism. Therefore sprinkling, pouring, and whatever other use of water may be resorted to, are not baptism at all, but substitutes for it. On the contrary, Pedobaptists hold that sprinkling and pouring are equally valid baptism with immersion, and because more convenient, are to be preferred.
PROPER SUBJECTS FOR BAPTISM...
Baptists assert that the only proper subjects for baptism are regenerated persons; those who have exercised and professed a saving faith in Christ, and are living orderly Christian lives.
On the contrary, some hold and teach that unregenerated persons may be baptized as a means of grace; while all Pedobaptists claim that unconscious infants, unregenerate and incapable of faith, should receive baptism on the faith of parents, or sponsors. All of which Baptists declare to be plainly contrary to the Word of God and the economy of grace.
Quoted from The New Directory for Baptist Churches, Written by: Edward T Hiscox (1859)
Command of Christ for Baptism...
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, BAPTIZING them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:19,20
The responsibility of carrying out this commission has been placed upon the local church. It is from there that the gospel is declared, baptism is administered, and the believer is taught the Word of God.
Example of Believer's Baptism...
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water... Acts 8:35-39
Design of Baptism..
As an ordinance, it is a type (sign, symbol, outward illustration) of what has taken place inwardly in the individual. It shows the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; who died for our sins and rose again for our justification. The person being baptized is publicly professing, (by the act of baptism) his faith in the merits of Christ's death as the ground of his own hope and salvation, fellowship with his sufferings, and a declaration of his own death to sin, and a rising to walk in newness of life in Christ. He is identifying himself with Christ publicly before man.
Method of Baptism...
The only scriptural way to be baptized is by IMMERSION. The Greek word "baptizo" which is used in the New Testament is defined as to make whelmed (fully wet), an immersion in water - to dip.
The proper method of baptism can be described by three words: IMMERSION: to plunge into something that surrounds or covers; esp; to plunge or dip into a fluid
SUBMERSION: to put under the water, to cover or overflow
EMERGENCE: to rise from or as if from an enveloping fluid: come out into view Candidate for Baptism...
To be called believer's baptism is to declare that only those who have been born again (regenerated) are proper subjects for baptism. Historical Baptists required a clear verbal testimony of saving faith in Jesus Christ and a consistent changed life with that testimony, leading up to the time of the baptism and since the conversion.
This refutes baptismal regeneration.
That is the belief that the act of water baptism is necessary as a requirement to be saved. There is no salvation in the water. Salvation is in Jesus Christ alone. The person who goes into the baptismal waters as a lost sinner (with the expectation of being saved because of baptism) will come out of the water as a wet sinner, still hopeless without Christ.
This refutes infant baptism.
That is the belief that an infant can be baptized into the body of Christ because of faith of a parent or sponsor. Water baptism is an outward sign of what has already taken place on the inside. The infant has no knowledge or ability to exercise saving faith in Christ. It is therefore it is useless to carry out such a ritual on the infant.
PROPER SUBJECTS FOR COMMUNION (LORD'S SUPPER)...
As to who have the right and properly should come to the Communion of the Lord's Supper, Baptists claim that only regenerate persons, baptized on a profession of their faith, and living in a godly and Christian manner as members of a church, have a right to, or can properly partake of, the Supper. Of course, then, baptism is prerequisite to the Supper; of course, also, the Church is to judge the qualifications of those who enjoy its privileges.
The Baptist View
I. Baptists hold that there are three scriptural conditions to the privileges of the Lord's Supper, which are imperative on the part of the Church to be observed:
a. Regeneration; being born of the Spirit, and thus becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus. Without this, no one can be a member of His spiritual body, or can rightfully be a member of his visible body, the Church.
b. Baptism; being buried with Christ in water, on a profession of faith in Him. The act must precede Church membership, and of course Church privileges, including the Supper.
c. Godliness; an upright Christian life, orderly wlak, and godly conversation as a Church member. For though one may have been truly converted, and rightly baptized, if he be a disorderly walker, violating his covenant obligations, living in sin, and openly disobeying his Lord, he has no claim on the Lord's Table.
Baptism is a symbol of what Jesus Christ has done: THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION.
The Lord's Supper is a symbol of the price that was paid for our redemption: THE BODY AND BLOOD.
*** Initiation by Christ: Luke 22:19,20
*** In the Epistles: I Corinthians 10:16; 11:23-30
*** The sacrifice of Christ was a Perfect One...WITHOUT SIN: II Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:4; I Peter 1:19; 2:22; I John 3:5
*** The elements of Communion:
Symbolize the Body: Hebrews 10:5-10; John 1:14; Genesis 3:15
Symbolize the Blood: Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:14; I Peter 1:19; Revelation 1:5
The elements used in Communion must then be a proper representation of the body and blood of Christ. Fermented wine or leavened bread would not be appropriate. The fermented wine and the leavened bread are types of sin in the Bible. Both have been altered from their original state of purity and have therefore become corrupted. REFERENCES: Proverbs 20:1; 23:31; Exodus 34:25; Matthew 13:33; 16:6-12; Luke 12:1; I Corinthians 5:6-8
It is important to understand that the observance of Communion (The Lord's Supper) is not an act of salvation. As is stated in I Corinthians 11:26, it will, ...shew the Lord's death till he come. The belief that the wine and the bread become the blood and body of Christ is a completely man-made doctrine. It is not therefore a sacrament, as defined by the Roman Catholic Church, or any other denomination that holds to this view. It is a symbol of that which reminds us of what Christ gave in payment for our sins. It certainly should be viewed as a sacred ordinance, to be observed with reverence; but, not as a means or method of salvation.
Saved, Baptized and Serving Members
Subjects for Church Membership
What class of persons should be admitted as members to the fellowship of Christian churches? Baptists say the godly persons, baptized on a profession of faith, are the only proper and suitable persons. That all others should be denied admission, and if already within the Church should be cast out. Consequently, to receive unconverted persons, whether infants or adults, destroys the spiritual character of the body, and forms an unholy alliance with the world, instead of maintaining a broad and distinctive separation between them.
Conditions of Membership
1. A regenerate heart
2. A confession of faith
3. The reception of baptism
4. A Christian life
There is an importance that must be placed upon the necessity for a regenerate membership. II Corinthians 6:14-18; Amos 3:3
It should be noted that historic Baptists believe that salvation is a one time experience that can not be repeated (nor does it need to be). If a person is truly saved, they are saved for all eternity. John 3:16; 10:27-30; Romans 8:29-39
This shows the public identification with Christ and his Church. A refusal to follow the Lord in believer's baptism is to show either an unregenerate heart or a rebellious one. Neither will constitute a proper church member. Acts 2:41-47
There is a divinely appointed place in the church for the redeemed. Baptists do not believe in the clergy / laity concept or the idea that the work (ministry) of the church is to only carried out by an elite few. They believe that God has work for all and he places us in the body to fulfill our individual responsibilities. Specific spiritual gifts are given by God to each believer that they may be able to do that which the Lord has appointed for them. Everyone ha a work to do. I Corinthians 12:1-31; Romans 12:3-8
Quotes are from: Quoted from The New Directory for Baptist Churches," Written by: Edward T. Hiscox (1859) Error! Bookmark not defined.