Is A Baptist?
Baptists are not a distinct
religion but are part of the Christian religion.
Baptist is a brand name, like in the grocery
store where you might have applesauce in jars or
cans under different labels, perhaps with various
ingredients, but all without question being
did Baptists begin? They come out of a long
tradition of non-establishment Christians
throughout the centuries who were never part of
the Catholic tradition, and who did not come out
of the Catholic Church via the Reformation. The
Reformer groups came to be called "Protestants"
since they were protesting the beliefs of their
church. The name "Baptist" came into
somewhat general use in the 1500 and 1600's, as a
convenient label for those believers who did not
fit the establishment. The name was probably a
shortened version of "Anabaptist," or
"again-baptizers" and was an insulting
label for Christians who insisted that believers
should be baptized after they had believed in
Christ, even if their parents had them baptized
or sprinkled as infants in the Reformation or
Catholic style of baptism.
taken altogether, Baptists are one of the major
varieties of Christian belief and practice.
is primarily a historical designation of
Christians who hold to a group of Biblical
distinctives, which only they hold in totality.
Others may believe and practice some of these,
but usually not all.
- Biblical Authority: We
believe the Bible, God's word, is the
only truth upon which we base our beliefs
and actions. We only consider the
writings of people or church
organizations to have authority as they
reflect the truth of God in the Bible.
- Baptized Believing
Membership: We believe that membership of
the local church is only for those who
profess personal faith in Christ and have
given testimony to that faith by being
baptized. The Bible teaches that
salvation comes by faith before baptism
thus we strongly oppose any practice like
infant baptism which is based on the
concept of bringing salvation through the
ritual of baptism.
- Autonomous Local Churches:
We believe that the churches of the New
Testament were independent and self-governing
and not part of a larger ecclesiastical
structure. For that reason Baptists have
no hierarchy above the local congregation.
No Pope, no bishop, no prophet or guru
who from some higher level dictates,
directs or controls.
- Priesthood of the Believer:
We have no priesthood. Every believer has
direct access to God, and needs no human
intermediary. Christ in the only valid
priest we acknowledge as above the
- Individual Soul Liberty: We
believe that every human being has the
right and responsibility to personally
relate to God. While the church and it's
members ought to teach and advise one
another, ultimately the individual will
and must answer to God alone. That means
also we strongly support religious
freedom even though we may oppose other
religious views. It was Baptist influence
that brought freedom of religion into the
United States in contrast to the state
church concepts of Europe at the time.
- Two Offices:
Organizationally, we hold to only two
offices in the church, and these two
having function only in that local
congregation. Pastor or Elder and Deacon.
- Two Ordinances: In our
church life we hold to only two
ordinances (not sacraments) baptism and
the Lord's Supper.
- Separation of Church and
State: It was the Baptists in America
that made sure that a church would not be
established and supported by the