Pastor’s Friday Comments (05/24/19)

The Covenant Sunday School Class that Linda and I teach is currently studying doctrines that are important to Baptists. This emphasis may seem incongruent with something I said in a sermon last week about how Christians had reduced what was essentially a movement based on actions of love to a system of beliefs. Nevertheless, there are certain tenets on which Baptists base our practice of ministry and congregational organization.

And that fact itself seems irrelevant when you consider that denominational affiliation is far down on the list of why many people join a particular church. The further “nevertheless” is, nevertheless, we at Parkway identify as a Baptist congregation, so it is important that we know what that means. This is especially important when you consider that some other Baptist groups seem to have abandoned some of these historical principles in favor of a “top down” structure of authority.

As a part of this church, I think it is important that you at least know what these doctrines are. If you would like to discuss any of them further, I’d be glad to have that conversation or feel free to come to our Sunday School class.

In no particular order, these are the doctrines considered to be important to Baptists:

  • The authority of the Bible
  • The autonomy of the local congregation of believers
  • Believer’s baptism and church membership
  • Congregational church government
  • The deity and lordship of Jesus Christ
  • Evangelism and missions
  • Religious freedom and separation of church and state
  • Salvation only by grace through faith
  • The security of the believer
  • Soul competency and the priesthood of the believer
  • Symbolic understanding of baptism and the Lord’s Supper
  • Voluntary cooperation among churches

While other denominations have organized in other ways based on their interpretation of the Bible and other considerations, as Baptists we ground each of these beliefs on numerous, clear passages of Scripture. We are “people of the Book,” seeking to base both thoughts and actions on God’s will as revealed in holy Scripture.

You may have come to us from another religious background or no religious experience at all, or you may have been a Baptist all your life. In any case, I think that first we should be Christians, sincere followers of Jesus Christ. And then we should be Baptists because we intentionally subscribe to the tenets outlined above.

Beliefs Important to Baptists