I've pondered this for quite a long time, even before my participation on this forum. We have also had some discussion about it in other places here. Which is more important and should take precedence if Baptist distinctives/doctrines conflict with Baptist polity? A Baptist distinctive is local church autonomy, where a majority in the local congregation makes the decisions; also, the local congregation owns its property. Imagine a couple of scenarios: (1) A majority of the congregation has a "Charismatic" experience and starts to accept and teach that interpretation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit; the minority does not go along with it, and a church split happens. Regardless of whether or not the association kicks this local church out, who should get the property -- the "Charismatic-believing majority, or the traditional Baptist-believing minority? And suppose the majority does not wish to stop being known as a Baptist church? I don't want to be insensitive to the minority, whose ancestors may have founded the church based on a non-charismatic, traditional Baptist teaching. So, in principle, which group should leave, and which group should be able to keep the property? If you side with the majority, you uphold Baptist polity; if you side with the minority, you uphold traditional Baptist doctrine. (2) Say that the denomination approves homosexual marriage and ordination; say also that a majority of a local congregation agrees with that and wants to maintain their denominational affiliation and identity. But the minority does not agree, and the church is split. Who should keep the property -- the majority, based on Baptist church autonomy, or the minority, based on adherence to traditional Baptist doctrine? Of course, the opposite could be true: the majority disagrees and want to leave the denomination and keep the property. With a reversion clause in place, the minority agreeing with the apostate denomination would get to keep the property. I am very interested to read people's comments about this. In other threads, I came down on the side of autonomy, but I admit this is tough and a sticky situation, and I don't want to be insensitive to any position, as I can see arguments on both sides. So, what takes precedence -- Baptist distinctives/doctrine or Baptist polity, when they conflict, as for example in the scenarios I have given?