Baptist Distinctives - Introduction and Biblical Authority

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013


What's in a name?

A name suggests various things


George Washington

The Apostle Paul

Adolf Hitler

The name Baptist should also suggest certain things.

Did you know that not all those who refer to themselves as Baptists are really Baptists?

Did you also know that some people are really Baptists who do not refer to themselves as Baptists?

The name Baptist suggests a definite doctrinal position. What distinguishes Baptists from other denominations are their beliefs. Baptists believe that certain doctrines known as Baptist Distinctives are clearly taught in the Bible; whereas, non-Baptists do not believe at least one of these doctrines. Regardless if people call themselves Baptists and do not believe each of these Baptist distinctives, they are not really Baptists. Baptist Distinctives form the acrostic BAPTISTS.

B Biblical authority

A Autonomy of the local church

P Priesthood of the believer

T Two Ordinances: believer's baptism and the Lord's supper

I Individual Soul Liberty

S Saved church membership

T Two offices: pastor and deacon

S Separation of church and state

Some add the Security of the Believer and the Lordship of Christ.


We believe that the Bible is our sole (or only) and final authority for all that we believe and practice. People who do not believe this are not Baptists. We have the Holy Spirit as our Divine Teacher and do not need someone to tell us how to interpret the Bible. Human teachers can be helpful, but they can also be mistaken. The Scriptures stand alone as our authority. Even though we may disagree regarding our understanding of a particular passage, we do not lose sight of the fact that the Bible is always right and authoritative for us. Upon further study, our thinking regarding the meaning of a particular passage may be revised, but the Bible remains our authority.

Joshua 1:8 - This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Psalms 1:1 - 1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

(To be continued)