What Is A Baptist Church?
We live in a day where there are many opinions, and perhaps,
confusion as to what makes a Baptist church, well . . . Baptist.
For many, the name Baptist may cause you think of political
affiliation or perhaps even issues of practical application
relating to things such as drinking, gambling, or music. It is
our desire to be clear why we have chosen to taken the name
"Baptist" in the identity of our church.
The following doctrinal truths are what historically have defined
the name "Baptist" in relation to the church. These truths are why we have taken the name Baptist in our name as a church.
1. As Baptists, we only baptize people who have trusted Christ as their personal Savior.
Baptism does not save a person, nor preserve someone for salvation later on in life. Baptism is an act of testimony, physically showing what God has already done in a person’s life. We believe that the word "baptism" means to place fully under water, thus our baptisms are done by being fully immersed under the water, instead of being sprinkled.
2. As Baptists, we believe that our church should be self-governed.
Any accountability for our pastor, church leadership, and the church people is in the members of our local church. Thus, we have a clear understanding of a membership body which votes and makes decisions throughout the calendar year. We look to the pastor for direction, vision, and leadership in decision making. We describe our "polity" as being "congregationally governed/pastor-led".
3. As Baptists, we believe that salvation is by God’s grace through faith-alone.
We do not believe anything else can save, nor anything will save us apart from what Christ has done. We believe that all men are sinners by nature and are in need of the hope of the gospel. Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection was the final sacrifice fully taking our penalty for sin, and His death is the only means by which people can receive saving grace from God. This grace is a gift which cannot be earned or demanded, it is a gift received by faith.
4. As Baptists, we believe in the complete authority of God’s Word.
This truth impacts everything that we do. Church history, dogma, traditions, and man’s opinion have their place-yet none are authoritative when it comes to knowing how we should live. The authority of God's Word also provides for us the sufficiency of God's Word to change lives. Baptist's hold to the belief that the authority and sufficiency of God's Word extends to how decisions are made in the church. The "polity" of the church is reflected in how the early church made decisions and the function of the leadership of the church is demonstrated in the Word of God.
5. As Baptists, we believe in the individual soul liberty of the believer.
While our pastor helps us to think Biblically, he cannot force the congregants to do anything. God desires us to live out the Christian life as an expression of our will being submitted to the Holy Spirit, not a priest or a pastor.
6. As Baptists, we believe in the “priesthood” of the believer.
Through Christ’s death on the cross, we have direct access to our Heavenly Father, and can talk to Him. We believe that this relationship is special and personal, and it is afforded to us through Christ, alone.