Saturday, July 21, 2012

Being Baptist

Baptists are a diverse group. Most people groups are represented both in America and across the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. was Baptist and so was segregationist governor Lester Maddox. Democratic presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and conservative Republican Senator Jesse Helms are all Baptists. Baptists are organized into various denominations including the Southern Baptist Convention (the largest Protestant denomination in America) but many choose to remain independent.

Within this diversity lies a distinctive group of beliefs that Baptists hold in common. These beliefs are not exclusive to Baptists, other denominations believe them as well. It is the combination of these beliefs that create the Baptist identity.

These beliefs include the authority of the Bible, soul competency, salvation by faith alone, local church autonomy, religious freedom and a strong emphasis on evangelism and missions. The Baptists are more commonly identified by the belief in believer's baptism by immersion.

Diversity and freedom are a common theme among Baptists but some headline-grabbing individuals within our denominational family make us look mean and controlling. It's important for Baptists to understand our history and doctrine. This Sunday I begin a sermon series about being Baptist that will be accompanied by this blog and a study of Baptist doctrine on Wednesday nights.


Melissa said...

Can't wait for this series to begin. We all need to know why we are who we are - Baptists!

Melissa Baxter said...

Can't wait to hear ye share why we are who we are - Baptists! I imagine many in our congregation will be surprised at some things they didn't know.

Diana said...

It is so hard to imagine that even churches that have the name "Baptist" in their name are not preaching or leading the church the way the Lord would want them to lead it. I can say I learned this the hard way. I also learn that if we do not know the scriptures that we can fall for a false leader or corrupt church. I plan to read my bible a lot more and to study it as much as I can.
Thank you, Pastor, for this series.