What is a Baptist????

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Bro K, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. Bro K

    Bro K
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    Please be short and concise. What really sets us apart from all the rest? Why do we call ourselves 'Baptist'? Is it really that important to put a label ourselves? :1_grouphug::1_grouphug:
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    Baptist speaks of our "polity" or the way we live the doctrinal truth of the Word. So that which makes us distinctive is the following (btw, many other groups will believe/practice a number of these and to that extent they are "baptistic") -
    • Bible is sole authority for both faith (doctrine) and practice (living, church, etc), not man-made traditions or rules of denomination
    • Regenerated church membership (not babies, etc)
    • Autonomy of the local assembly, while cooperating voluntarily with the Church of God in the community
    • Priesthood of each believer in Soul Liberty, contrasted to Catholic/Anglican or even Judaism
    • Separation of Church and State (not God from State); not tying the government to the church for beheading heretics
    • Immersion/Lord's Supper are the only two ordinances (not sacraments or way of obtaining favor/grace of God)
    • Separation ethically/ecclesiastically from the winful world in which we live and the compromises of false religions that deny the Word (liberalism, modernism, godless evolution have been the attacks in the past century)
    The very first English-speaking Baptist Church to which we trace our heritage was in 1610 - four hundred years ago!! Some of them DIED at the hands of the Anglicans for holding to these foundational distinctives.

    But the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.
     
  3. Bro K

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    Dr Bob states: while cooperating voluntarily with the Church of God in the community

    Church of God: Is this referring to the local Church of God churches? My intial take was the churches of God; but a second reading bring my question. God Bless
     
  4. saturneptune

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    I think those are great points to define a Baptist, despite our differences. I am very thankful for the Baptist faith, and consider it an honor to serve the Lord through a local Baptist church.
     
  5. Mississippi John

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    My personal observations: #1- Baptists do not like anyone else to tell them what to believe. (Soul Competency)

    #2-I can believe VERY differently than other baptists, but still fellowship with folks that believe totally opposite what I believe about the "small things".

    #3- Baptist's like a good fight.....we will serve in the Armed Forces. Unlike our Mennonite and Amish brethren.

    #4- Baptists, by and large , are faithful to whatever the Holy Spirit lays on their heart.

    #5-Baptists love Jesus....more than the Bible. Although the good book runs a close second.
     
    #5 Mississippi John, Jun 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2010
  6. Tom Butler

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    Baptist distinctives are led by our views about Baptism.
    --
    We believe in the proper subject for baptism--a regenerated believer.
    We believe in the proper mode--immersion
    We believe in the proper purpose--to give pubiic testimony of one's conversion, to identify with the Christ, and to portray the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of jesus.

    We believe in the proper administrator (or at least some of us do)--a local church of like faith and order.

    Taken together, these four things will identify a Baptist. We may also add the ones listed by Dr.Bob, including Security of the Believer, the authority and reliability of Scripture alone, Priesthood of Believers and soul competency.

    We believe what Baptists believe today is the same as that held by New Testament believers.

    My own view is that those religious groups which do not hold to the basics regarding baptism are not true NT churches. They believe and teach error and are thus disqualified. This, notwithstanding that many of these denominations have dedicated Christians as members.
     
  7. Amy.G

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    A Baptist is:

    1. Someone who doesn't mind being baptized in a creek.

    2. Someone who isn't embarrassed to yell "AMEN" "PREACH IT BROTHER" during the sermon.

    3. Someone who always takes their bible to church (the bigger the better)

    4. Someone who LOVES fried chicken and covered dish dinners.



    I love being a Baptist!

    I also love laughing at myself! :laugh:
     
  8. Bro K

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    Mississippi John states: #2-I can believe VERY differently than other baptists, but still fellowship with folks that believe totally opposite what I believe about the "small things".

    I can understand the 'small things' not being a hinderance; but I would have a problem in fellowship with those whose have VERY different beliefs, especially IF the fellowship is in a church meeting.
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    There is no Baptist "church"; there are Baptist "churches". We are not a denomination; we are New Testament Christians. If you took an alien from Mars, gave him the New Testament and told him to look at all the styles of churches who hold the orthodox Gospel faith and figure out which type is closest to reflecting the Bible, it would be Baptist.

    Sadly, not all who label themselves "Baptist" are truly following the historic Baptist distinctives. FBC Casper now allows members to be sprinkled or join with no baptism at all. One SBC church had a drunk for years as their pastor. A few would mock those who hold the Bible as the only authority for their faith or practice.

    But at the same time, while separated from ecclesiastical error and false doctrine (think of those teaching infant sprinkling saves or good works saves, etc) we have to see a common fellowship with others who believe the Evangel of the Gospel message.

    God has a Church of Casper, Wyoming. It meets in different groups across our city. Some have doctrinal quirks, but still hold to fundamental Christianity. On Sunday we will pray for them. Now, we probably won't have some cooperative service or interaction, but we recognize there are good folks out there in a variety of labels.
     
  10. Salty

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    My first thought is what the Director of Missions of the local association is doing.
    Now, mind you he can not tell the church what to believe, but he can encourage the Executive board to recommend this church be dropped from fellowship and no longer be able to be considered a SBC.

    About two years ago, a pastor in our Association decided to divorce his wife and marry the church secretary. Well, our DOM spoke to the church about it, and they did not seem to see a problem. Well the DOM saw to it that they were dropped from our association.
     
  11. Crabtownboy

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    "We Baptist are those people who will not drink with our friends." [Carlyle Marney]

    Oh, and I do agree with the list in the OP.
     
  12. Bro K

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    Dr. Bob states: "Sadly, not all who label themselves "Baptist" are truly following the historic Baptist distinctives."

    Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
     
  13. saturneptune

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    I think one of the most cherished distinctives that is overlooked is local church autonomy. Each church, lead by the Lord, can set its own policies, manage its finances, call its pastors, and elect its officers. I would not want the SBC, a presbytery, bishop, cardinal, or any other higher level of authority other than the Lord dictating anything about a local church. Those higher level officials are no wiser or smarter than the pastors local congregations call or the deacons (or elders) they elect. Higher level authority has no business in the affairs of a local church whether it be how to handle finances or ownership of the church building.

    Dr. Bob is exactly right, and quite frankly, I am surprised at how many times I have heard pastors and others refer to Baptists as a denomination. We are absolutely not a denomination. A denomination implies a hierarchy. We are bound together by Scripture, and have the freedom within that to disagree. Any connection we have to another local church or group of churches of like faith and order is an association, and can be severed with one vote of the congregation.

    A check and balance of the congregation on pastors and other officers is a very good system. Growing up in a Presbyterian Church, it seems those in the presbytery positions of authority sometimes use the title or position for bringing attention to themselves or enhancing their social status. Even within local congregations, I have seen elder rule become elder worship. It is my opinion that each local church has the right to decide between elder rule and congregational rule, but we have to be very careful about who we elect.
     
  14. Tom Butler

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    Congregational autonomy is one of the linchpins of Baptist polity. Congregations voluntarily agree to cooperate with each other and pool resources to carry out the Great Commission. That's why we have associations, state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC is made up of cooperating churches, not cooperating state conventions or associations.

    I wish I could remember who said many years ago that Baptists are held together by a rope of sand.

    Baptist churches, then have a number of criteria on which they base fellowship and cooperation with each other. When those criteria are ignored or breached, each church must decide if the basis for fellowship and cooperation has been damaged or destroyed.

    That's why independent, autonomous Baptist churches may act as they wish and believe as they wish--but not without consequences. Those consequences usually involve exclusion from the cooperating body. Those churches are free to continue in their aberrations, but may not insist that other churches approve in the name of autonomy.
     
  15. Zenas

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    Dr. Bob, you're probably right about IFB churches but if you took an alien from Mars and showed him the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Disciples of Christ and the Episcopal Church, he wouldn't be able to spot the SBC as not being a denomination.
     
  16. HankD

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    A church which holds to the Baptists distinctives and claims "Baptist" in their monicker.

    In addition, I do not call myself a Protestant because doing so would be giving my personal credence to the Church of Rome, that they are an authoritative NT Church against whom I am protesting.

    Having been a member of the RCC, I have separated myself from them.

    If one has never been a member of a romish church then you are (IMO) neither a Protestant or Separatist but a biblical Christian.

    That does not mean that there are not true children of God in other "non-baptistic" churches, just true children of God who are mistaken :)

    That does not mean that every member of NT church is a true child of God.

    Yes, the children of God can be found even in the Church of Rome (of which I belonged for 2 years after my salvation).

    However, I left due to a self-study education (guided by the Spirit) of the Bible.

    Two years later my wife (a former Mormon) and I were baptised together at a Baptist Church in Boston.


    HankD
     
  17. Zenas

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    James Sullivan, long time president of the Sunday School Board (now Lifeway).
    And that, Tom, is why we Southern Baptists are a denomination. We're not totally top down in our governance, but neither are most of the others. However, we're a lot more top down than we were 30 years ago. If we truly believed in the total independence of local churches, there would never be a reason to exclude any of them. This is a belief held by some of our more liberal bretheren, most of whom inhabit the CBF, but not much in the SBC.
     
  18. Bro K

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    Seurneptune states (#13): "I have heard pastors and others refer to Baptists as a denomination. We are absolutely not a denomination. A denomination implies a hierarchy"

    I understand where you're coming from. Denomination: One definition is: 'A group of individuals called by the same name'; I can live with this.
    Howerver; when there's implication of a hierarchy within a denomination, one should be very concerned.
    Then again we (Baptist) do have a hierachy: CHRIST God Bless
     
  19. Dr. Bob

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    The first English Baptist churches from which we all sprung (1610) took the name "Baptist" as they were unique among the "dissenters". They were NOT trying to purify the Anglican Catholic Church of England. They were separating from it to form totally unique bodies of believers.

    There was some doctrinal differences (they had pesky arminians/pelagians then, too and Smyth and Helwys who had started the first Baptist church had split when Smyth went toward Mennonite beliefs) and as the number of Baptist churches in England grew they needed to "cooperate" and "associate" together especially in unifying the doctrinal position.

    When the Civil War began (1642 for those not immersed in English history!) these particular or calvinistic Baptists met and formed the London Confession of Faith. It was not as expansive/detailed as the confessions of other groups that followed - Savoy, Westminister, and later the 2nd London Baptist in 1677 that my church holds to today - but it was a start.

    Autonomy does NOT mean belief/practice anything you want. There is an implied adherence to a structure of belief and practice of being a Baptist. Sadly, the independent mindset of many clouds that natural cooperation and we have some real looney-tune "baptist" churches and preachers out there today!!
     
  20. Salty

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    We had a very good discussion on BB about the rope of sand
     

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