Who is a true Baptist?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by PackerBacker, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. PackerBacker

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    While reading a thread about Fundamentalism I noticed there were different ideas as to who is actually a Fundamentalist. It made me wonder how people on this board would respond to a similar discussion on Baptists. Here goes:

    Who is a true Baptist? What must I believe to be a true Baptist?
     
  2. Ephesus23

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    Very tough question, considering the number of various Baptist denominations there are. Most would agree that there are a core set of 'correct' beliefs that all Baptists have. It's just various doctrinal positions that seperate entire groups of people from another. Some groups get along despite doctrinal differences, while others absolutely refuse to mingle with others, like Independent Baptists, which I'm one of. My church refuses to come together with any other church for any reason. Some consider that extreme, others don't. Most Baptists, however, believe:

    *The Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit- Just one God who manifests Himself in three ways

    *The Virgin Birth of Christ

    *Jesus living a perfect, sinless life for approximately 33 1/2 years on earth, dying on the cross for our sins, rising physically into Heaven on the third day, seated at the right hand of His Father, and will be coming again

    *Salvation is through faith alone, and not of works. You must have a personal relationship with Jesus.

    Churches start seperating when you get into the details- for example, the Doctrine of Eternal Security. That's big with, say, Independent, Fundamental Baptists. Some Free Will Baptist churches I know of believe that you CAN lose your salvation. It's things like that that seperate people and churches.
     
  3. rsr

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    That is not even close.

    Baptists accept the beliefs of orthodox Christianity: The Trinity, the resurrection, etc.

    But added to those are (what used to be) the Baptist distinctives:

    The church is composed only of believers. Baptism is only for believers, which rules out the baptism of infants.

    The Lord's Supper and baptism are the ordinances of the church, are commanded of Christ, but do not impart grace. (Some Baptists have, over the years, added footwashing and singing of hymns to the list, but the vast majority of Baptists have recognized only two ordinances.)

    Immersion is the proper mode of baptism.

    Each congregation is independent and autonomous, accountable only to God.

    Each believer is a priest and requires no other intermediary — except Christ — to approach God. Therefore, each individual is totally responsible to God for his actions and cannot rely upon others for his relationship to God.

    Given that, each and every person should have the liberty to worship, or not worship, God as he or she sees fit. No one has the right to decide what someone should believe, neither the church nor the state.

    Therefore, the state should keep out of church affairs and the church should not seek to enlist the power of government in defense of its own sectarian views.
     
  4. gb93433

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    There are Baptists who are not Christians. They are good people doing good things who have been baptizee but have never trusted Jesus. I have seen a few in my days of pastoring just as I am sure many others have.

    Is there any difference between a true believer, a true Christian and a true Baptist? I would hope not. But true Baptists can look like godly people and be godly but other true Baptists invite Mormons to preach in their church. Just look at the seven churches in Revelation. The church is made up of people who are like wood with worm holes. If anyone ever finds a perfect church don't join it because you will ruin it.
     
  5. PackerBacker

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    I thank those of you who replied to my question. Here are some things I noted:

    1. The first response was much broader than the second. The second response was always what I was taught.

    2. What about the many who also hold dearly to those items listed as Baptist distinctives, but do not go by the name Baptist? Is being a Baptist what a person believes or the name they give themselves?
     
  6. tinytim

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    It has to be what we believe. If the Baptist churches can trace their lineage back to Christ then for about 1700 years we were never called Baptist. (give or take a couple 100 years!)
     
  7. Johnv

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    A Baptist is a person who is a member in good standing of a Baptist Congregation.

    The word "Baptist" is a denominational or fellowship label, not a biblical label, as much as we'd like to claim so. Baptists are required to adhere to the Baptist Distinctives.
     
  8. StraightAndNarrow

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    Christians are those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior in a born-again experience. Their lives have been transformed and therefore they follow His commands (take up their cross and follow Him). This is the ONLY designation that is meaningful to God.

    Denominations are man's creation and most of the time they serve only to cause divisions in the true church. However, it is very supportive and meaningful to be an active part in a Christion community so the best thing to do is to join a church that is most compatible with your beliefs always remembering that what really matters is how you stand before your God. No church is likely to accept all of your beliefs. If so, rejoice.
     
  9. rsr

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    Packerbacker said:

    Then, thank God, you have been taught well.

    Being a Baptist is a difficult thing. We are taught the basics (at least I hope we are) and as we grow older we have to evaluate what we have been taught against scripture and the world as we perceive it.

    As to your second question: I am a Baptist. If I am forced by circumstances to attend a different church, I will still be a Baptist. The Baptist tradition of religious liberty (which is really the only distinctive of historical note) is too precious for me to forsake.

    There is a real tension between "I believe this because I am a Baptist" and "I believe this is true, therefore I am a Baptist." Two entirely different things. I opt for the latter.

    [ February 08, 2004, 11:52 AM: Message edited by: rsr ]
     
  10. HankD

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    The Baptist Distinctives from the GARBC Website:

    Online at : http://www.garbc.org/baptdist.php

    Biblical Authority
    The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is inspired by God and bears the absolute authority of God Himself. Whatever the Bible affirms, Baptists accept as true. No human opinion or decree of any church group can override the Bible. Even creeds and confessions of faith, which attempt to articulate the theology of Scripture, do not carry Scripture's inherent authority.
    2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20, 21

    Autonomy of the Local Church
    The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus the church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church's beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. A Baptist church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests and in an associational tie, but a Baptist church cannot be a "member" of any other body.
    Colossians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23

    Priesthood of the Believer
    "Priest" is defined as "one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God." Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and people. As priests, we can study God's Word, pray for others, and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God--whether we are a preacher or not.
    1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 5:9, 10

    Two Ordinances
    The local church should practice two ordinances: (1) baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, and (2) the Lord's Supper, or communion, commemorating His death for our sins.
    Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32

    Individual Soul Liberty
    Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the religious realm. No one should be forced to assent to any belief against his will. Baptists have always opposed religious persecution. However, this liberty does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself.
    Romans 14:5, 12; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Titus 1:9

    Saved, Baptized Church Membership
    Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer's baptism. When the members of a local church are believers, a oneness in Christ exists, and the members can endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
    Acts 2:41-47; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 4:3

    Two Offices
    The Bible mandates only two offices in the church--pastor and deacon. The three terms--"pastor," "elder," and "bishop," or "overseer"--all refer to the same office. The two offices of pastor and deacon exist within the local church, not as a hierarchy outside or over the local church.
    1 Timothy 3:1-13; Acts 20:17-38; Philippians 1:1

    Separation of Church and State
    God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government's purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1-7 and the church's purposes in Matthew 28:19 and 20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christians in a free society can properly influence government toward righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government.
    Matthew 22:15-22; Acts 15:17-29
     
  11. PackerBacker

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    Would someone like John MacArthur be a Baptist based on some of these definitions?
     
  12. rex4967

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    Being a baptist doesn't define me, being a Christian does. Now I've been to Pentecostal, open Brethren, closed Brethren, Methodist, and Apostolic searching for my place. I've been a baptist for about 18 years and I was baptised in a Baptist Church.

    Labeling of churches is not right anyway!
     

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