B – Biblical Authority (2 Timothy 3: 16-17)
Baptists hold or believe that the Bible is the final authority for Christian faith and practice. The Bible is authoritative because it is from God and about God. It is supernaturally inspired by God’s Holy Spirit which, contain and convey the very Word of God. It is also totally true and accurate in its history, science and theology, physical, material and spiritual (John 17:17, Mathew 4:4, John 10: 35). Lastly, the Bible is God’s complete revelation to man (Revelation 22: 18-19).
– Autonomy of the
The word “autonomous” means self-governing or self-directing which, comes from the two Greek words that mean “self” and “law”. Hence, an autonomous church governs itself without the control and supervision of the outside human world. Moreover, the selection of pastoral leadership, the determination of its worship form, the decision on financial matters and the direction of other church-related affairs are controlled by the church alone.
P – Priesthood of all Believers (1 Peter 2: 9)
Being a priest involves both an opportunity and responsibility. It is an opportunity because Baptists have a direct access to God. Baptists can go directly to God in prayer, confession, praise and worship. Thus, a human mediator is not anymore needed. But being a priest carries also a responsibility. Baptists are responsible in evangelism, mission, ministry and social actions to benefit others.
Furthermore, each believer has a God-given competence to follow God’s will. Baptists are responsible to share Christ through word and deed, and be committed to Him. This also involves Christian fellowship with other believers.
T – Two Ordinances of the Church: Baptism and Lord’s Supper
accordantly declare that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are symbols and are not
necessary for salvation. Baptism
symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus that has made possible for
our salvation. Baptism also symbolizes
that a person through faith in Christ has passed from death to life and that
this person has identified with Christ’s death and resurrection (Romans 6: 3-5;
Colossians 2: 12). Thus, only the total
immersion of a person in water adequately symbolizes this death, burial and
resurrection. Valid Bible baptism has a
proper candidate (A believer), proper method (Immersion in water), proper
motive (to confess faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection), proper
formula (the Father, Son and Holy Ghost), and proper authority (the
partaking of the bread and the cup, Christ’s disciples are to remember his
sacrifice on the cross of
I – Individual
Baptists had a God-given freedom and ability to know and respond to God’s will. Baptists believes that God give the people competency – the ability to make choices. Each individual soul is accountable to God and only him alone is responsible for his or her actions and relationship to God. The Bible taught the people to be accountable to God for their choices (Romans 14: 12) and after which the judgement before God follows (Hebrews 9:27). People are judged according to what actions they’ve chosen. With the acceptance or obedience to God’s will the blessings they will get, but the rejection or disobedience they done the punishment will follow.
S – Saved and Baptized Members (
A church is a fellowship of people living in different locations. Baptists believe that the Bible teaches that only saved persons should be a member of a church (John 3: 1-21). Church is made up of persons who experienced salvation through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior as the New Testament describes it (Acts 2: 47). The membership in Baptist Churches is always to be voluntary. They are not constrained or forced to be members. But the person seeking membership is asked both to make a profession of faith in Christ and to be baptized.
T – Two Church Offices: Pastor and Deacon
Baptists believe that the Bible teaches that all Christians are called to serve and minister to others in Christ’s name, but some are called and gifted by God to function in specific roles of ministry, such as pastors and deacons. The Bible uses three words for the same office of the pastors: elder, pastor and bishop. All of them have different functions but not different persons (Acts 20: 17-28; 1 Peter 5: 1-5). Baptists hold the Bible teachings on the qualifications for the person to serve as pastor (1 Timothy 3: 1-7). He functions as a ruler, a shepherd, an overseer and is ordained for this work (Titus 1:5; Acts 14: 23). He is also described as a teacher-preacher.
Deacons literally means servant. They are selected from within the membership. Thus, in selecting them it involves the entire congregation. The Biblical qualifications for a deacon (1 Timothy 3: 8-13) focus primarily on character and relationships within the church, family and community. Some of the duties of deacons supposed to perform are: looking after the finances of the church, assisting in the administration of the ordinances, ministering to the poor, exercising watchcare over the congregation, giving attention to discipline and taking a leading part in all the activities of the church.
S – Separation of Church and State
Baptists believe and practice the congregational form of church government. In a dictionary, congregation is defined as an assembly of persons brought together for common religious worship. Thus, for Baptists it is an assembly of believers. Governments are ordained by God to provide law and order (Romans 13: 1-5) as the Bible indicated. Government officials and leaders are to act for the benefit of the citizens (1 Peter 2: 13-14). Baptists are to honor and pray for them (1 Timothy 2: 1-3), pay taxes (Mathew 22: 17-22) and obey the government except when obedience would be contrary to God’s will (Acts 4: 19-20; 5:19).
Baptists teach that the nature of the “church” is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 1: 8), to teach doctrine and develop believers (Mathew 28: 19-20) and to minister in Christ’s name (Mathew 25: 31-46). As Jesus said in Mathew 22: 21 “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” Baptists believe that each separate and individual church is independent under the authority of Christ.