New Testament Authority and Our Baptist Distinctives
“It is on all hands conceded, that from the days of the Apostles to the Reformation, there existed congregations and communities of Christians separate from the prevailing and dominant churches… these separate communities maintained their distinct existence, worshiped by themselves, and served God according to their understanding of the Scriptures and the dictates of their consciences.”
These kind of churches, that held to New Testament Authority, are most commonly called Baptists. Perhaps they were known by other names (Messalians, Euchites, Montanists, Novatians, Paulicians…etc.) and/or some peculiar doctrines, but we can see throughout history, since the time of Pentecost, there have been such churches.
We are studying the Biblical Distinctives of Baptists. These distinctives are presented in an acrostic
Modern day Baptists (not modernist) arrived at these distinctives through careful study of the Bible. That is why these teachings are more precisely called the Biblical Distinctives of Baptists and not Baptist distinctives. In other words, these teachings are common among Baptists because individual Baptist churches have consistently and independently discovered them in God's Word, the Bible and held to them, not because some group of Baptist leaders composed the list and then imposed the distinctives on local churches. (In fact, there is no ecclesiastical hierarchy in an autonomous group… and the “A” stands for Autonomy of the local church.)
Church groups other than Baptists have held some of these Biblical distinctives, and one may even find churches that hold all of the distinctives but do not call themselves Baptist. Such groups are "baptistic", but for some reason they choose not to be identified as Baptists. On the other hand, some churches naming themselves Baptist are not truly Baptist because they no longer hold the historic Baptist beliefs or even the fundamentals of the Christian faith.
Baptists are people of the Book!
Baptists are people of the Book above all else... and Baptists enjoy a priceless heritage of generations who have exalted God's Son, our Savior and have proclaimed God's inspired Word.
“The Baptist name is not a point of organizational pride but a meaningful descriptor of a doctrinal position.” -D. Anderson