Fighting Fundamentalist

Saturday, March 17, 2007

What’s in a Name?

Labels Are Useful
Labels can be very useful. When shopping, one wouldn’t think about buying something that wasn’t clearly marked. In fact, most of us not only want to see the name of the product, but we also want to see the ingredients listed. Why would we want anything less when it comes to the most important matters of life? Before we go to a school of higher learning, we want to know about the school. Before we buy a car, we want to know what’s under the hood. Before we marry, we want to know what’s inside of that person who will become the most significant human being we will ever know. When choosing a place of worship and service to our Lord, shouldn’t we be at least as vigilant? In this post my aim is to list the ten ingredients, or distinctives, that make up a biblical Baptist Church. There may be some minor variations from one Baptist church to another, because there is no Baptist hierarchy to declare an official list, but nearly all will agree on these ten. Thus the label, or name “Baptist” will be more useful and important to the reader.

The Name Baptist Means Something
The name Baptist actually means something. It is a name that most will associate as a Bible believing, Christ honoring, Christian Church. The name “Baptist” is a meaningful descriptor of a doctrinal position, NOT a point of organizational pride. Baptists have a definite biblically distinctive doctrinal stance. Some churches that are not Baptist may hold to some of these positions. Then, there are some who call themselves “Baptist” who do not cleave to all of these biblical distinctives. There are yet other groups that do embrace all of these doctrines, but for one reason or another choose not to call themselves Baptist. I am a Baptist, and I am not ashamed to be called a Baptist. Baptists have a biblical foundation, a rich heritage, and a bright outlook on life. If you are a Baptist, I hope this post will encourage you to be a Baptist genuinely and not just by name. If you are not a Baptist you should be able to get the idea of what Baptists believe and why we believe it.

The Biblical Distinctives of Baptists
What are the biblical distinctives of Baptist? A useful tool to associate with this doctrinal body of thought is the acrostic, B A P T I S T. This acrostic will assist me by providing an outline for the future posts as well.

Biblical Authority
Autonomy of the Local Church
Priesthood of All Believers
Two Ordinances: Baptism and Communion
Individual Soul Liberty
Saved Church Membership
Two Offices: Pastor and Deacon
Separation of the Church and State

Will will be considering these distinctives throughout this blog. Let me know your thoughts about this acrostic, or any other related topic (agreements and disagreements) by using the comment prompt just below (that way we can engage in biblical discussion together). I welcome any questions you may have too. If there is any way I can be helpful to you, that's what it's all about.

Keep coming back!
Brother John


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