Surprisingly, many people today are unfamiliar with what a Baptist is! This page is not meant to be a comprehensive study of everything about the Baptist Church, but merely to touch upon some of the basics.
The Baptist Church is the oldest New Testament Church in existence. According to Catholic historians it precedes the Catholic Church, dating back to the days of the Apostles.
Every church says it, but very few actually follow it. Bottom line is, we can't all be right when we teach different things. God is not that arbitrary. It does not matter what your tradition is, or what your parents say, or what your preacher says. The only absolute rule for a Church or Christian is the Word of God.
In speaking to a local minister, he informed me that he preaches one thing, yet believes another. He does this because what he chooses to believe cannot be supported by the Bible. He is a perfect example of one who claims Biblical Authority, but doesn't follow it.
(A)utonomy Of The Local Church
Christ is the Head, the Holy Spirit our Administrator and the Bible our only Rule Book. A Baptist is not subject to any outside authority or influence. We are independent of man and dependent upon Christ.
(P)riesthood Of All Believers
Baptists acknowledge only Christ as the High Priest over our lives. As such He alone is the Mediator between God and man. There is no longer any need for a priest to intervene on your behalf.
As a believer, God has given you the opportunity to study the Bible for yourself and be instructed from God's Word. You also have the opportunity to go to the throne of grace yourself to obtain mercy, and grace in your time of need. God has given the believer permission to spend as much time with Him as we would like.
Christ left His church with two ordinances, Baptism and Communion. These are not sacraments, which means that they have no saving influence whatsoever. Rather they are to be partaken of only by saved individuals.
(I)ndividual Soul Liberty
Baptists declare the personal and individual responsibility, and accountability of each person before God. They have declared that worship of God must be voluntary; that a person's relationship with God is his or her responsibility alone.
(S)eparation Of Church And State
Christ's church was to be supportive of their government, but it was never to be part of it. The only business of the church is the saving of souls.
(T)wo Local Church Offices
The church that Jesus built has two very distinct offices, pastors and deacons. Their qualifications are the same, but their function is completely different.
A person does not become a member of Christ's church simply by being saved, but it is a prerequisite to it. You must have put your faith in Christ in order to be eligible for church membership.
"...The house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." I Timothy 3:15