Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Am What I Am And Here's Why part 1

Being Baptist sets us apart from other denominations because we are not out of the Catholic church and we are not out of the Protestant movement. Here are some things that set us apart from everyone else. Some of these are accepted by some denominations, but only Baptist will accept all of them.

These were actually compiled by a Pastor in Utah. I whole heartily agree with what he says so this outline is a good start to these posts.

EDITED: Thank you, Garth, for your input. I apprecited that.

1. We accept only the BIBLE as our authority in all matters of faith and practice.
In other words, Baptists don't accept any authority except the Holy Scriptures. Christ is head of the Church, and the church is His bride. We believe the Word of God, in its entirety is complete and ". . . Is given of by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Baptists reject that God is giving supposed "new" Revelation, believing that God forbids any adding to or taking away of the canon of Scriptures. Rev. 22:18-19 We don't accept any authority over the New Testament Church, but Christ Himself, including popes, modern day prophets, or councils of churches.

2. We believe the church is to be made up of saved, baptized believers.
Baptists don't believe in the baptism of infants, (Pedobaptism)! The church is made up of only Baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42 A baby is not capable of believing, and is protected by the Grace of God until the age of accountability. Only those who have believed and trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior are a member of the body of Christ. Only the saved who have publicly professed salvation can be a member of a local New Testament Baptist church. Acts 2:41

3. We believe in strict separation of church and state.
Jesus said to ""render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." Mark 12:17 "What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?" 2 Cor. 6:14 No power on earth is higher than God's Word, and a church should not be in any way yoked or controlled by the state or civil authority in religious matters. Although we believe there is no higher power including state and civil authority, we also believe that we are to support civil authority and that we are to pray for them! 2 Peter 2:13-15 Even if we didn't vote them!!

4. We believe in priesthood of the believer.
The Bible teaches that every believer can go, "boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in the time of need" without needing or asking permission from anyone, such as priests and churchmen. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:19, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." The believer doesn't need a priest or a church to intercede on our behalf to God. The believer can boldly and instantly be in contact with God by prayer, and can bring our petitions or requests for forgiveness of sins directly to God himself. 1 John 1:9 No church has the authority to forgive sins or grant intercession to God.

5. We believe in the autonomy of the local church.
The Bible gives no higher authority than the local congregation of born again, baptized believers. We believe the local church is to be governed by the Word of God. We believe we are under the authority of God and responsible only to Him for our (the church) conduct.

One other characteristic is necessary for an assembly to call its self a true New Testament church. This distinctive is based on the truth that God will not, nor can He bless or be a party to doctrinal error. A true New Testament church will believe and follow the correct and proper instructions of God's Word. There are many churches that believe and practice false doctrines, do not practice biblical separation from worldliness, and hold to other unbiblical views. A true New Testament church's doctrine and practice will correctly follow the word of God. The New Testament stresses purity in faith and practice as Revelation 2-3 teaches. To five of the seven churches of Asia Jesus said He has things against them. He warned them...STRONGLY... to correct their failures or He would take action against them. A true church that has the blessings of the Lord will diligently seek purity in faith and practice. Those refusing to repent of their errors will not have the approval or the blessings of God.