B – The BIBLE is our sole authority for faith and practice (Josh. 1:8, Neh. 8:1-8, Ps. 12:6-7, 119:140, 152, 160, & 138:2, Prov. 30:5-6, Isa. 8:20, Matt. 4:4 & 24:35, Acts 4:31, 6:2 & 7, 8:4, 12:24, 13:5, 17:11, 18:11, 19:20, 20:32, I Thess. 2:13, II Tim. 3:14-17, Heb. 4:12, I Pet. 1:23-25, II Pet. 1:19-21 & Rev. 22:18 & 19). We believe the King James Bible is the preserved Word of God for English speaking people and use it exclusively.
A – The AUTONOMY of the local church (Matt. 10:1-4, 16:18, & 28:19-20, Acts 15, II Cor. 8:1-5, 19 & 23, Gal. 1:1-3, Eph. 1:22 & 23, 3:21, 5:25 & Col. 1:18). We believe the church, whose origin is traced to Christ’s earthly ministry, is always local and visible, and reject the doctrine of the universal church. Every church is independent and self-governing over which no other ecclesiastical body has any authority. The perpetuity of His churches was promised by Christ. Moreover, the local church is the institution authorized by God to fulfill the Great Commission during this present age until all believers are raptured before the Tribulation Period.
P – The PRIESTHOOD of every believer (Rom. 12:1, 14:12, Eph. 2:18, Heb. 4:14-16, 10:19, I Pet. 2:5-10 & Rev. 1:5 & 6, 5:9 & 10). The Bible teaches that “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5). It is a violation of Scripture for any person or institution to place themselves between the individual and God. Moreover, the saving grace of Christ is not to be manipulated by any system of human mediation whatsoever. We believe that every saved person is a priest unto God and is exhorted to “come boldly unto the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16). This blessing carries with it the duty of living a life separated from sin unto God.
T – TWO CHURCH ORDINANCES: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe these are local church ordinances, not sacraments – they hold no saving power. (Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 2:41-47, 8:36-39, I Cor. 11:23-32 & I Pet. 3:21). The Bible teaches that baptism is only by immersion, exclusively for believers, and that it is the door to the church. On occasion, the church membership observes the Lord’s Supper whereby we “shew the Lord’s death till he come” (I Cor. 11:26).
I – INDIVIDUAL SOUL LIBERTY has been a distinguishing feature of the Baptists throughout the ages (Lk. 9:51-56, Rom. 14:5-12, II Cor. 4:2, 5:11, 10:3 & 4 & Tit. 1:9). Soul liberty is this: a person is not to be molested in their property or person for their religious opinions. This Scriptural principle of religious liberty (aka: liberty of conscience) differentiates Baptists from Catholics and Protestants. Baptists have never been a party to the oppression of conscience. History testifies that they have consistently championed complete religious liberty not just for themselves, but for all, Baptists and non-Baptists alike.
S – SAVED, SCRIPTURALLY BAPTIZED church membership (Acts 2:41-47, I Cor. 5:9-13, 12:12, 15:3-4, II Cor. 6:14-18 & Eph. 2:8-9, 4:1-6). The New Testament prescribes two things for church membership: 1) a person must be born again and, 2) they must be scripturally baptized. We believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ without the addition of any works. Christ “died for all” (II Co 5:14) and draws all men unto Himself (Joh. 12:32). Salvation is offered by God freely to all and is not limited to any group or individual. He desires for “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4) and is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). All who trust Jesus Christ for salvation are kept by God’s power, are eternally secure in Him, and shall not perish (Joh. 3:16, 5:24, 6:37-40 & 10:27-30, Rom. 6:23, I Cor. 1:4-8 & I Pet. 1:4-5). Baptism and church membership art strictly voluntary and matters of obedience to Christ; they bestow no grace.
T – TWO OFFICES in the church: Pastor and Deacons (Acts 20:17-38, Phil. 1:1, I Tim. 3:1-13 & Tit. 1:5-9). The Bible prescribes no other church offices. These offices, divinely appointed, are to be filled by men whose qualifications are set forth in the Scriptures previously cited.
S – SEPARATION of the state from the church (Matt. 22:15-22, Acts 4:19-20, 5:17-29, Rom. 13:1-7, I Corin. 5:9-13 & I Tim. 2:1-4). As a result of their zeal for religious liberty and endeavoring to follow the Lord’s example, Baptists have never sought to enlist the power of the state to spread the gospel of Christ. The only sword that Baptists have ever used to make converts has been “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph. 6:17). We believe that no person is accountable to the government for their religious beliefs. Furthermore, the government has no authority to regulate worship, or compel men to conform to any religious creed or form of worship, or to levy taxes for the support of any religion.
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