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Baptist Distinctives

The following is a list formulated by one of our members, Jacob Terry, of characteristics, that not only makes us Baptists, but, that also set us apart from Protestants, along with the scripture references cited in his study.  Baptists are not Protestants, and were never part of the Roman Catholic Church, therefore, we did not come out of the Reformation.

Sole Authority of the Scriptures
The Bible is our only authority regarding all matters of faith and practice because it is inspired by God, and bears the absolute authority of God himself.  (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

The Autonomy of the Local Church
All human authority for governing the church resides within each individual church.  No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a churches beliefs or practices.  (Colossians 1:18)

The Priesthood of the Believer
Every believer is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ.  (1 Peter 2:5; 1 Timothy 2:5; Revelation 5:10)

Two Ordinances: Baptism and the Lord's Supper
There is a proper order to the ordinances.  First baptism, then the Lord's Supper.  Nowhere is this order reversed in Scripture.  When the order is messed up we open the door for false doctrine.  (Acts 2:41-42; Matthew 28:19-20; Matthew 26:26-28)

Individual Soul Liberty
Every individual, whether a believer or not, will, one day stand before God, and give an account for the decisions he has made in this life.  No one should be forced to assent to a belief or ritual against his will.  This does not exempt him from responsibility to God.  (Romans 14:5, 12)

Saved, Baptized, Church Membership
Membership to the church is restricted to individuals who give a credible testimony of salvation and have publicly identified with Christ through baptism.  (Acts 2:41-42)

Two Offices: Pastor and Deacon
These two offices exist only in the local church and are not an hierarchy outside or over the church.  (1 Timothy 3:1, 13; Philippians 1:1)

Separation of Church and State
God established both the church and civil government, and He gave each a distinct sphere of operation.  The purposes of government are outlined in Romans 13:1-7; the churches are outlined in Matthew 28:19-20, and the Pauline Epistles.

Separation From the World
The New Testament clearing instructs the church to be separate from the world and its ways.  We are expressly forbidden to bring the church anything that appeals to the lust of the flesh, eyes, and the pride of life.  (2 Corinthians 6:16-18; 1 John 2:15-17)

Evangelism
God has given the authority and responsibility to the church to carry out the Great Commission where we are commanded to evangelize, baptize, teach, and plant churches.  (Matthew 28:19-20)

Security of the Believer
Once an individual has trusted Christ, they are saved eternally.  (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Local Church Discipline
Christ wants His church to be pure, therefore, He has commanded that impurity be removed, and has given us instructions on how to discipline members.  (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:4-13; 2 John)