The Baptist Is Different In His Faith
by Pastor Emeritus Wesley Darby
THE BAPTIST IS DIFFERENT IN HIS FAITH
In a day when pressure is exhorted to minimize the distinctive beliefs that have made us different from other groups, we need to know the distinctives held by Baptists throughout the centuries. To help us to remember, we will use an acrostic:
B - Bible, the Book that is our all-sufficient rule of faith and practice.
A - Assurance, Eternal Security; in Christ we can have a "Know So" salvation.
P - Priesthood of the Believer; personal responsibility to God.
T - The New Testament Church - the Body of Christ in the local community.
I - Immersion is the only Baptism. This names us, but is not the most important.
S - Separation; of Church and State, and of the Believer from the World.
T - The Lord's Supper; in remembrance of Him.
BIBLE - The Bible is our all-sufficient rule of faith and practice. We believe it to be inspired of God, inerrant in its original writings, and it is the origin of our existence. Everyone should have a Bible in their own language, and should read it, and seek to pattern their lives after Christ by the use of the Bible.
ASSURANCE - God's Word sets down the plan of Salvation, and man's part is faith. This faith is placed in our Virgin-Born, Crucified, Resurrected and Returning Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Our Assurance comes from a sure knowledge of the Word of God.
PRIESTHOOD - Every individual stands or falls before God personally. Every Believer is competent to be his own Priest for his own soul. We are responsible to ourselves to interpret the Word of God and apply it to our own lives. Jesus is our High Priest. There is no division between the "clergy" and the "laity" in our Churches. This freedom of access to God for every soul is the basis of soul liberty. We believe that a person has the right to his beliefs, and to express them, even if they are wrong. But no one has a right to force another person's soul liberty.
THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH - We pattern our Church after the New Testament. Membership in the local Church is restricted to those who have been "Born Again", have been baptized, and desire to be disciples of the Lord. The Church is a group of baptized believers fulfilling the Great Commission. Every redeemed person should be a member of a local Church. And every member has equal rights in the world's first and purest democracy. Every Church should be a Bible Institute, and every member should be a missionary.
IMMERSION - Baptism by Immersion gave us the name of Ana-baptists long ago, and since the 1600's the "ana" has been dropped. But this is not the only or most important distinctive. We believe that baptism is for believers only, not babies-because they cannot confess Christ. Baptism is by immersion because of the meaning of the word in the Scriptures, and it is the way that John and Jesus did it
SEPARATION - The Christian is in the world, but not of the world. Consider three areas: Separation of the Believer in the world-The Believer should show by his life and habits that the world's lusts and mannerisms have no attraction to him.
Separation of the Church and State-The Church and the other. Both should be free. The Church's realm is spiritual, the State's realm is material. The Christians should obey the laws of the land, and the State should operate according to God-given moral principles.
Separation of the local Church from ecclesiastical domination is required to keep the Church autonomous in freely deciding its own matters.
THE LORD'S SUPPER - is in remembrance of Him. Trans-substantiation and Con-substantiation are erroneous beliefs. Communion is an ordinance, not a sacrament, and is observed by the local Church for spiritual fellowship with the Lord.
These are BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES.