National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Sav...

National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Saving Assembly of the U.S.A. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What are these key ingredients in the Baptist recipe? Some of them we have in common with Christians of most all denominations, such as belief in God and in Jesus Christ as Savior. However, Baptist beliefs about some major matters differ from those held by certain other groups. For example, although practically all Christian groups declare that baptism is significant for Christians, Baptists hold a different view of baptism than most. In the weeks to come, this series will discuss what that difference is and why it is important.

The Baptist recipe includes several key beliefs or doctrines:

–the Lordship of Jesus Christ

–the Bible as the sole written authority for faith and practice

–soul competency

–salvation from sin and eternal death to forgiveness and eternal life only by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior who is the grace gift of God

–the priesthood of each believer and of all believers in Christ

–believer’s baptism

–baptism and the Lord’s Supper as wonderfully symbolic but not essential for salvation

–church membership composed only of persons who have been born again

–religious freedom and its corollary, the separation of church and state

Built upon the foundation of these beliefs are certain practices or polities that are part of the Baptist recipe:

congregational church governance under the Lordship of Christ

–the autonomy of churches

–voluntary cooperation for various causes

Closely related to these beliefs and practices are a number of emphases that characterize most Baptists:

–evangelism

–missions

Christian education

–ministry

–social concern

In order to carry these out, Baptists have organized in various ways beyond local congregations, such as associations of churches, societies, conventions, fellowships, unions and alliances. Baptists have also established numerous institutions such as those for education, missions, and the care of children, the aged and the ill. The common ingredient in all of these is voluntary cooperation.

Baptists endeavor to base each belief, practice, emphasis and organization on the teachings of the Bible. The desire of Baptists is to be as close to the New Testament model for an individual Christian and for a church that is humanly possible with God’s help through the instruction and empowering of the Holy Spirit.

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