Baptist Distinctives: Biblical Authority

Each Thursday for the next few weeks we’re going to look at our Baptist distinctives. Some would seek to run from the name because of others who hold the same name. Yes we do have “relatives” in our Baptist family that have caused embarrassment or even a shame to our name, but we stand in a long-line of Bible believers, men and women, who have faithfully lived the Christian life. We do not believe ourselves to be the only Christians, but we do believe the Baptist distinctives are those truths which most accurately reflect the New Testament teaching on the local church. Other denominations may hold to one, two, three or even four of these beliefs, but historically only Baptists have held to all 8 distinctives. These distinctives are as follows:

  • B iblical authority
  • A utonomy of the local church
  • P riesthood of all believers
  • T wo ordinances (believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper)
  • I ndividual soul liberty
  • S eparation of Church and State
  • T wo offices of the church (pastor and deacon)
  • S aved church membership

Biblical Authority

We believe that the Bible is the sole rule for faith and practice. It is the inspired (God-breathed) and inerrant (without error) Word of God and that it is authoritative and thus, accurate in theology, science and all practical matters of life. Even tradition, long-held by men, must be judged through the lens of Scripture. We are not opposed to confessions of faith or statements of faith, but even these must be measured against the standard of Scripture. If the Bible speaks to the matter or issue it is truth and we must conform to it, as opposed to conforming the Bible to our lives. (Isaiah 40:8; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-23)

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