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The B-A-P-T-I-S-T Distinctives

B (Biblical Authority): God's Word is our final authority in all matters of faith and practice. As the inspired, inerrant, and preserved Word of God, it bears the absolute authority of God Himself. No human opinion or church decree can usurp the teachings of Scripture. Whatever the Bible dictates, we, as Baptists accept as true. (2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Psalm 12:6-7, 119:128)

A (Autonomy of the Local Church): The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the church. The church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious "hierarchy" outside the local church may dictate a church's beliefs or practices. (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 3:21, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 12:12)

P (Priesthood of the Believer): Every believer is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and His people. (1 Peter 2:9, Hebrews 4:14-16, 1 Timothy 2:5)

T (Two Ordinances): The local church must keep the ordinances as delivered to the apostles in the New Testament: (1) Baptism by immersion for believers who have evidenced "fruit meet for repentance" picturing the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and giving entrance for the believer into the local church body. (2) The Lord's Supper which commemorates Christ's sacrificial death for our sins. Participants of the Lord's Supper are born again, baptized believers of the local church body. (Mark 16:15-16, Luke 3:7-8, Acts 8:12, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 1 Corinthians 11:2, 23-32)

I (Individual Soul Liberty): Every person, whether saved or unsaved, has the liberty to choose what he believes about God. Baptists have always been opposed to religious persecution. This liberty, however, does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself. (Romans 14:5,12; 2 Corinthians 4:2, Titus 1:9)

S (Saved, Baptized Church Membership): Every member of a Baptist church must be a born-again believer who has been subsequently baptized by immersion upon evidence of salvation and that by public profession within the local body.

T (Two Offices): Baptists have maintained only two offices in the local church as set forth in the New Testament: Pastor and deacon. The terms "pastor", "elder", and "bishop" or "overseer" all refer to the same office. (1 Timothy 3:1,10; 1 Peter 5:1,5; )

S (Separation of Church and State): God has established both the church and the civil government, giving each its own distinct jurisdiction. No church or government should control each other, nor should there be any alliance between them. Believers can and should promote righteousness in all areas of living, government included. (Romans 13:1-7, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 5:29, Proverbs 14:35, 29:2)

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