I am a Baptist. Not just by choice, but by conviction.
There are several Bible doctrines that are universally held by all Christian churches and believers. However, there are seven basic beliefs for which Baptist churches have stood throughout the centuries.
So, while I have great friends who are members of other denominations, I want to share the 7 teachings that are distinctly Baptist.
1. Immersion is the Biblical method of baptism.
Why baptism by immersion (all the way under the water)? First, jesus was baptized taht way (Matthew 3:16). Second, every baptism int eh Bible was by immersion (Example: Acts 8:38-39). Third, the word ‘baptize’ means ‘to dip in water.’ The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, which means ‘to immerse or dip under water.’ Fourth, it best symbolizes a burial and resurrection (Rorans 6:3-4).
2. Saved Membership.
Baptists have always believed in a a saved church membership (Acts 2:47). Every saved person can join their church.
3. Believer’s Baptism.
Only those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior are candidates for baptism. Many churches practice a ‘baptism of confirmation’ for children. However, this is different than the baptism in the Bible. Baptism does not save or help to save. It s a picture of the fact that a person has been saved.
4. Autonomous assembly and congregational government.
A church is to be independent. The word ‘autonomous’ means ‘self-governing.’ Every local church is to make its own decisions without interference from anybody on the outside. No official or group of officials has the right to tell the pastor and and the church what to do and what not to do.
5. Eternal security of the believer.
Baptists believe, as does the Bible teach, that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power (1 Peter 1:5) and are secure in Christ forever (John 10:27-28). It sis the privilege believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word (1 John 5:13).
6. Separation of church and state.
The Bible teaches to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to render to God the things that are God’s (Luke 20:25). The state is supreme in civil and legal matters but he government does not have the right to show partiality to one religious group over another. The government does not have the right to interfere with the free exercise of religion. Baptists have a history of proclaiming separation of church and state.
7. Sign gifts have ceased.
This is a recent distinction. The modern sign gifts movement is less than 150 years old. Baptists believe in the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of every Christian and the discovery and use of spiritual gifts. However, the purpose and usage of the apostolic gifts (miracles, healing, tongues) ceased with the apostles. Yet, God still heals and performs miracles today through prayer.