Presentation on theme: "BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES Biblical doctrines that mark us as distinct or different from any other Christian sect. Compiled from Pastor James Beller’s book."— Presentation transcript:
1 BAPTIST DISTINCTIVESBiblical doctrines that mark us as distinct or different from any other Christian sect.Compiled from Pastor James Beller’s book “The Collegiate Baptist History Workbook and Pastor Jim Alter’s book “Why Baptist”
2 FUNDAMENTALS or Obvious Truths 1. The Inerrant Inspiration of the Bible: Psalm 12:6-7, 119:40; Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 40:8, Matthew 5:18, 24:35; John 6:63; II Timothy 3:16; Revelation 22:18-202. The Deity of ChristIncarnation: Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; John 1:14; Romans 8:3; 2 John 1:7Virgin Birth: Luke 1:27, 30-35Sinless Life: 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15 and 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5Death: Acts 2:23; Mark 15:37, 43; Luke 9:22Burial: Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:59-60; Luke 23:52-53; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4Resurrection: Psalm 16:9-10; Matthew 16:21, 17:23, 28:6; Mark 16:6; Acts 3:14-15, 4:33, 13:30; Revelation 1:18Substitutionary Atonement: Isaiah 53:5-6; Mark 10:45; Romans 4:25; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 3:18; Revelation 1:54. The Trinity: 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 14:16; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:195. The Blood Atonement: Leviticus 17:11; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8, Colossians 1:14, 20; Hebrews 9:14, 22; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:57. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ: Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 25:31; Mark 13:26; Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 1:78. The reality of a literal Hell: Psalm 9:17; Matthew 10:28; Mark 9:43-489. The reality of a literal Heaven: John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:1-4
3 A Baptist or just a Fundamentalist Baptist DoctrineFundamentalist DoctrineInerrancyVirgin BirthSubstitutional AtonementBodily ResurrectionAuthenticity of miracles or the Second coming of ChristThe Bible is our Sole AuthorityAutonomy of the Local ChurchPriesthood of the BelieverTwo Ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s SupperIndividual Soul LibertySaved, Baptized, Church MembershipTwo Offices: Pastor and DeaconSeparation of Church and StateInerrancyVirgin birthSubstitutional Atonement,Bodily resurrectionAuthenticity of miracles or the Second coming of ChristOne of the first doctrinal creeds defining Fundamentalism came from the Niagra Bible Conference in 1878.The most famous listing of the Fundamentals, which are commonly cited today, are the so-called five Fundamentals, identified by the 1910 General Assembly of the Northern Presbyterian Church:
4 The Bible is Our Sole Authority The Bible is our only authority in all matters of faith and practice because:The Bible is inspired by God (not just the ‘originals’ but your KJB)INSPIRATION – The infusion of ideas into the mind by the Holy SpiritJohn 6:63b – “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”The Bible bears the absolute authority of God HimselfNo human opinion or the decree of any church group or council may usurp the authority of the Bible.No creeds or confessions of faith, which attempt to articulate the theology of Scripture, can carry the authority of Scripture itself.
5 If the Word of God is your ONLY AUTHORITY then it GUIDES YOU. Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”Matthew 7: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
6 A BIBLICISTOne who applies the Bible LITERALLY first and FIGURATIVELY only when the context demands it.
7 The Word of God is supposed to govern or control your opinions and behavior John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”Whatever the Bible teaches is to be believedWhatever the Bible commands is to be obeyedWhatever the Bible commends is to be acceptedWhatever the Bible condemns is to be avoided
8 Every Christian should ask: WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAYIf you can show it to me in the Word of God – I’ll change
9 Baptist Reject extra-biblical authority Triple AuthorityDual AuthorityRoman CatholicismLutheranChurch of EnglandBook of WorshipBibleBook of Common PrayerBibleWord of the PopeHistorical TraditionsTheir Version of the ScripturesPresbyterianMethodistWestminster ConfessionBibleBook of DisciplineBible
10 "Christians" can be divided into four clear categories all based on authority Traditional ChristianityRoman CatholicEastern OrthodoxMany “main-line” Protestant churchesDual AuthoritiesTraditionWord of GodWhen a conflict arises; tradition invariably over-rules the Word of God.Purgatory – Celibacy – Auricular Confession – Saint and Image WorshipJesus spoke against the error of using tradition as an authority in Matthew 15:1-9
11 "Christians" can be divided into four clear categories all based on authority Traditional ChristianityDual AuthoritiesTraditionWord of GodCharismatic ChristianityExperienceExperience over-rules the Word of God“I know what the Bible says, but you weren’t there…”Jesus spoke against using the error of experience in 2 Peter 1:16-21
12 "Christians" can be divided into four clear categories all based on authority Traditional ChristianityDual AuthoritiesTraditionWord of GodCharismatic ChristianityExperienceEvangelical ChristianityScholarshipIn most study Bibles you will find repeated over and over again the note, “this verse is not contained in the best manuscripts,” or “This text may be genuine…”It is amazing that any man would believe he is qualified to sit in judgment upon God’s Word.
13 "Christians" can be divided into four clear categories all based on authority Psalm 138:2 “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”How can you over-emphasize the importance of the Word of God?Traditional ChristianityDual AuthoritiesTraditionWord of GodCharismatic ChristianityExperienceEvangelical ChristianityScholarshipBible-believing BaptistsOur Only Authority66 books penned over a period of 1,400 years by 40 different men without one error or contradiction.
14 Independent, Autonomy of the Local Church A called out assembly of born-again, baptized, believers meeting voluntarily in a specific location for the purpose of fellowship and support, observing and defending the ordinances, carrying out the Great Commission, and doing all things whatsoever the Lord commands.
15 Independent, Autonomy of the Local Church Colossians 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-2 “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” 2 Corinthians 8:19a “And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace,…” 2 Corinthians 8:23b “…they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.”
16 Independent, Autonomy of the Local Church Matthew 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 23:34 “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:” Ephesians 3:21 “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
17 Independent, Autonomy of the Local Church Revelation 2:6 “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” Revelation 2:15 “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” Nico – to rule or conquer Laitan – the people
18 Independent, Autonomy of the Local Church A local bodyAn independent body accountable only to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the churchAll human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself.No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church’s beliefs or practices.A Baptist church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests, supporting missionaries, and in loose associations, but a Baptist church cannot be a “member” of any other body.
19 Independent, Autonomy of the Local Church Thomas Armitage put it this way:The right of the Churches in the Apostolic Age to manage all their internal affairs, arose primarily from the fact that each congregation was perfect in itself for all the purposes of its own Church life. Whatever fraternal sympathy and fellowship it might crave, it was in itself the visible Church of Christ, and complete for all the ends of a visible Church. Of course, this Apostolic idea is at variance with all the popular notions of Church life as it exists today; but it is no less Apostolic on that account. Well does Dr. Carson remark, ‘As to a visible Universal Church, it exists nowhere but in the ideas of polemical (a controversial, disputive bigot) writers and the absurd distinctions of scholastic divinity.’ An invisible Church is a purely indefinite and mythical idea.
20 Independent, Autonomy of the Local Church Armitage continues,The local Church was the only Church known to the Apostles themselves, the only body which they ever addressed, and which they knew collectively as the ‘Churches scattered abroad.’ The Church at Rome was made up of those who lived there, who were ‘beloved of God, called to be saints’ – that at Corinth of ‘them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus’ – and the Church at Ephesus ‘of the faithful in Christ Jesus,’ who lived there. Even those who attended worship with those Churches, but were not numbered with the believers, had nothing to do with their government. Only those who were born of God, and met in any one place for all the purposes of a Church under obedience to Christ’s law, were the Christian Church in that place. There may have been more than one Church in a given city; but there is nothing in the New Testament to show, that one central body in that city governed all its Churches, if there was more than one.Thomas ArmitageA History Of The Baptists Traced By Their Vital Principles And Practices From The Time Of Our Lord And Savior Jesus Christ To The Year 1886, vol. 1
21 The PRIESTHOOD of the BELIEVER A PRIEST – one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God.Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ.As priests, we can study God’s Word, pray for others, and offer spiritual worship to God.We all have equal access to God.1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”1 Peter 2:5 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
22 The PRIESTHOOD of the BELIEVER Revelation 1:6 “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”Revelation 5:10 “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
23 The PRIESTHOOD of the BELIEVER The early church has no mention of PRIESTS, CARDINALS, NOVENAS, NUNS, ABBOTS, POPES or MONKS.WE MUST UNDERSTAND THE USE OF THE WORD PRIEST IN THE BOOK OF ACTS.It is used 27 times. 26 times it is negative. (The positive being Acts 6 where some priests are saved.)Priests beat believers.Priests imprisoned them.Priests commanded them not to preach.The high priest commanded others to smite Paul on the mouth. Acts 23:2The word is not found in any of the church epistles
24 The PRIESTHOOD of the BELIEVER The Book of Acts is a Book of TransitionThis is why you must be careful about pulling doctrine out of the book of ActsThe New Testament did not start until after Jesus died on the cross.Hebrews 9:16 “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.”A Transition from the Old Testament structure to the New Testament structure.From the Law and Jewish Gospels, to the church epistlesFrom the Jew to the Gentile; a kingdom of heaven message to a kingdom of God message - Matthew 10:5-6From Peter to PaulFrom Jerusalem to AntiochEach chapter can be labeled PREACHING or PERSECUTION
25 The PRIESTHOOD of the BELIEVER Jesus Christ is our High Priest1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”Hebrews 9:24 “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:”1 Corinthians 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”Hebrews 4: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”Hebrews 7:25 “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
26 The PRIESTHOOD of the BELIEVER We are to offer 4 spiritual sacrifices1) PraiseHebrews 13:15 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”2) GiftsHebrews 13:16 “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”4) SubstancePhilippians 4:18 “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.”5) OurselvesRomans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
27 The PRIESTHOOD of the BELIEVER What is the priesthood of the believer?This principle demands that no priest, organized church ritual, sacraments, ordinances, creeds, or anything else can stand between the soul and God. There is a secret place of the Most High where the Father speaks to His child and child speaks to his Father, and this is the very seat and center of religion. Nothing extraneous can intrude here. The Baptists are therefore radically opposed to priests, sacraments, and all formalisms, are anti- sacerdotalists and anti-sacramentarians of the deepest dye, and are the natural enemies of ecclesiasticism or churchianity.Frederick Anderson, “Historic Baptist Principles” 1920
28 The PRIESTHOOD of the BELIEVER This doctrine reveals a tremendous equality in the family of God and in the house of God.All born-again men and women, boys and girls, are spiritual priests before God.The Bible was given to individuals, and as a result of this priceless gift, every individual is accountable to enter into a relationship with Christ regardless of the teaching he has or has not received.You are as close to God as you want to be.
29 TWO ORDINACES: Baptism and the Lord's Supper An ordinance is something that was ordered by the Lord to be commemorated in the local church.We, if we are faithful to the Scriptures, are to keep the ordinances.1 Corinthians 11:2 “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”Ordinances are pictures or object lessons that teach doctrine.Ordinances are physical pictures of spiritual truths.Our administration of these ordinances teaches either right doctrine or false doctrine.
30 TWO ORDINACES: Baptism and the Lord's Supper The scriptural order of the ordinances is first baptism, then the Lord’s Supper.Nowhere in Scripture do we find this order reversed.The church at Corinth shows this divine order.Acts 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.The Corinthians heard the Word of God and believed the Word of God.The Corinthians were baptized.The Apostle then instructs the church in the proper observance of the supper.In 1 Corinthians 11:2 the Apostle then commends the church for keeping the ordinances.This order applies not only to the church at Corinth but to all churches everywhere as the epistle is addressed,1 Corinthians 1:2 “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”
31 TWO ORDINACES: Baptism and the Lord's Supper BAPTISM (Acts 8:36-38)Baptism is a specific act to be administered by a specific body, to persons professing specific qualifications, for the profession of specific truths.When one of these properties is wanting, the transaction is “null and void.”Unless the ordinances are observed as Christ commanded, they are not kept, but perverted.-J.R. Graves
32 TWO ORDINACES: Baptism and the Lord's Supper The Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)Baptists generally refer to this ordinance as the Lord’s Supper rather than communion.1 Corinthians 10:16 “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”Here the communion is our commemorating Christ’s shed blood and broken body.Observing the Lord’s Supper is not my communing with other believers around the Lord’s Table. The purpose of this ordinance is singular.1 Corinthians 11:26 “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.”Communion has come to mean fellowship, interaction with one another.
33 TWO ORDINACES: Baptism and the Lord's Supper We don’t call it CommunionBelievers, baptized or not, church members or not, Baptist or not, may have fellowship or communion in many ways, but not at the Lord’s Table.The Lord’s Table, the Lord’s Supper, the Breaking of Bread, is intended to recall to the church that the ground of its approach, its sole ground of approach to God, is the sacrifice of the cross. It is a memorial, an object lesson…The moment you come to the symbol of the Breaking of Bread, you have to do, not with the showing forth of your relation to another in the church, but the “showing forth,” “the preaching,” of the Lord’s death. It would be wholly outside of the grace of God and his Word to say that communion with one another or the Lord is bound up in the symbols. - I.M. HaldemanThe long time pastor of the First Baptist Church of New York in 1800’s
34 TWO ORDINACES: Baptism and the Lord's Supper The Lord’s Supper is a purifying component in the life of a local congregation1 Corinthians 5: “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”The command to examine oneself before partaking is another aspect in relation to the local church.1 Corinthians 11:28 “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”
35 TWO ORDINACES: Baptism and the Lord's Supper Thomas Armitage wrote,With many who reject the Romish teaching of the Supper, an accretion of ideas and applications are associated with it, which amount to bald superstitions. We hear devout and enlightened Protestants calling it ‘the food of the soul,’ a ‘banquet of flesh and blood,’ an ‘eating of Christ’s flesh and blood,’ and the like nonsense. Some even pervert such passages as this by applying them to the Supper; ‘If ye eat not my flesh and drink not my blood ye have not eternal life,’ whereas Jesus spoke these words a year and a half before the Supper was established; and if they bear upon it at all, they imply that eternal life itself can be had by taking bread and wine at the table. Others, in some way, which nobody knows any thing about, find a real presence of Christ at the Table, as they find him in no other religious observance, and so they insist upon it that the saints have fellowship with him and with each other there, such as they can have nowhere else, and in no other way. Hence, without intending it, contempt (a confusing opinion) is brought upon the Bible teaching that Christ himself and not bread is the food of the soul, that the atonement brings salvation and not the act which commemorates it, in the use of bread and wine. Christ is the only bond of vital union, and the only test of fellowship amongst saints, and not a material ordinance.
36 TWO ORDINACES: Baptism and the Lord's Supper Armitage continues:About a quarter of a century after Christ’s death, the Corinthian Church had corrupted the Supper by the introduction of startling abuses. 1 Corinthians 11. They associated the love-feast therewith, and indulged in gluttony and drunkeness. Christ corrected these abuses by a new revelation through Paul, and gave a second definition of the design of the Supper, in exposition of the first. ‘As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye shew or proclaim the Lord’s death till he come.’ Paul ‘received of the Lord,’ that he intended the Supper as a memorial, preaching institution, whereby the redeemed Church, known as the ‘Ye’ meeting in ‘one place,’ preached Christ’s death. The Primitive Churches, then, threw no superstitious mystery about it, ascribed to it no semisaving efficacy, accompanied it with no popish mortification, selfhumiliations, super-solemnities, distempered enchantments, or pious legerdemain. [Slight of hand; a deceptive performance which depends on dexterity of hand; a trick performed with such art and adroitness, that the manner or art eludes observation.] To them it was a ‘feast’ of artless thanksgiving, kept with the ‘leaven of sincerity and truth,’ for the preaching of a sacrificial Redeemer.
37 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty Matthew 22:21 “…Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.”2 Corinthians 4:2 “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.”The liberty to worship God according to the dictates of conscience, is the dearest of all human rights. That it should ever have been denied is one of the strongest proofs of human fallibility. - Jeremiah JeterGive me liberty to know, to utter and to argue freely according to my conscience above all other liberties - John Milton
38 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty 2 Corinthians 5:11 “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”Romans 14:5 “…Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”Soul Liberty is the freedom to worship according to one’s own conscience.I can persuade and plead with someone
39 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty You cannot legislate the first table of the lawYou can legislate or enforce the second table lawsYou cannot force someone to believe something that their conscience will not allow them to believe.You can mandate a person’s behavior, but you cannot mandate their heart or conscience.Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
40 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, will one day stand before God and give account for the decisions he has made in this life. Because of this, we believe in the liberty of the soul or conscience. No one should be forced, against his will, to assent to any belief or ritual. This liberty does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself.
41 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty Individual Soul Liberty is at its most basic level a belief in the power of God to move in every man. Soul Liberty is the freedom to worship according to one’s own conscience. Every man is a free moral agent before God and is accountable to Him personally. We must all stand before God individually – no one will do it for us.
42 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty According to Baptist views, no man can become a church member who does not voluntarily accept Christ as his Saviour, and who does not willingly receive baptism in attestation of his submission to his new Master. Moreover, having freely become a member, he cannot retain his place in the church, unless his life is in harmony with his profession. In short, faith and baptism are essential prerequisites to church membership and a godly life is necessary to the continuance of the connection. If these principles are maintained, neither birth, nor baptism, nor education, nor wealth, nor office, nor profession can secure a place in a Baptist church; nor can one retain his place in it without imbibing the spirit and imitating the example of the Redeemer. It is obvious that a church organized on these principles cannot be a persecuting body. For what purpose could it persecute? Not to force members to join it; for none can be admitted to its membership without qualifications which no persecution can secure.
43 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty Not to keep members within it; for it can retain only such as love its members, doctrine, ordinances and discipline and force cannot produce these fruits. The conquests of such a church must be made, not by the sword of the executioner, but by “the sword of the Spirit.” Other churches may employ carnal weapons and inflict pains and penalties to promote their prosperity; but Baptist churches, if they flourish, must succeed by moral suasion and the grace of God. - Jeremiah Jeter1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
44 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty Soul liberty has been attacked on two frontsThe church-state marriageThe doctrine of the NicolaitansRevelation 2:6 & 15Nicao – to conquer, overcome, ruleLaos – the common manThe Nicolaitans were a group of religious leaders establishing a hierarchy in and over the churches.Nicolaitan doctrine presents itself any time someone tries to “lord over” or conquer the individual by taking the place of the Holy Spirit in that persons life.
45 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty There are 3 primary NICOLAITAN attacks on Individual Soul LibertyThe necessity of creeds and councilsOur rule of faith and practice is the New Testament.No church has any power over any other church.No minister has any authority in any church except that which has called him to be its pastor.The Scriptures are a revelation from God, given not to a Pope, or a congregation of Cardinals, or an Archbishop, or a bench of Bishops, or a General Assembly or a Synod, but to every individual man.
46 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty There are 3 primary NICOLAITAN attacks on Individual Soul LibertyThe necessity of creeds and councilsThe shattering of the average believer’s confidence in his or her ability to study and understand the Bible for themselves.Believers are led to believe that they can read the Bible devotionally but are incapable of understanding the “deep things of God” without Dr. So-and-so’s help.Higher education is not necessary to properly understand and interpret the Word of God.
47 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty A crystal clear example of shattering the believers confidence to study the Bible for themselves: The proper choice of an English translation on which to base a sermon is the subject of chapter 17 of this book, but whatever version is chosen, the preacher will have to correct or clarify the translation during the message. During a message he must be careful to limit these corrections perhaps to only two or three for fear of shaking the confidence of his listeners in the Bible they hold in their hands. After all, part of his goal is to cultivate a hunger among his people to study the Bible privately. Too many criticisms of that Bible will undermine their dependence on a given translation and fuel a “what’s the use?” attitude on their side. John MacArthur “Rediscovering Expository Preaching” 1992What unmitigated arrogance!We have the Word of God and Spirit of God, therefore we may study to show ourselves approved unto God, we may rightly divide the Word of Truth, and we may be unashamed!
48 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty There are 3 primary NICOLAITAN attacks on Individual Soul LibertyThe necessity of creeds and councilsThe shattering of the average believer’s confidence in his or her ability to study and understand the Bible for themselves.The hyper-controlling pastor.This pastor has little confidence in the ability of the Holy Spirit to sanctify the believer.This pastor believes, if he is honest with himself, that his members are incapable of holy living, without his direction in practically every area.
49 INDIVIDUAL Soul Liberty The hyper-controlling pastor Of course the pastor, as overseer and shepherd of his flock, has the responsibility to warn and instruct, preach and teach in all areas where the Word of God speaks. A godly pastor will strive to teach his beloved flock to see this wicked world through “biblical glasses.” He will teach them to love what God loves and hate what God hates. A godly pastor teaches his people to pray and discern and judge. He will explain the biblical requirements for leadership in the church he has been called to pastor. He will with the counsel of the godly men of his church exercise church discipline. The hyper-controlling pastor steps over the line of his responsibility when he assumes the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. Plainly stated, it is the pastor’s job to preach, teach and administrate; it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and sanctify.
50 SAVED, BAPTIZED Church Membership Matthew 16: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
51 SAVED, BAPTIZED Church Membership Acts 2:47 “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”2 Corinthians 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”Ephesians 4:3 “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”1 Peter 2:5 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
52 SAVED, BAPTIZED Church Membership Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a credible testimony of personal salvation in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer’s baptism by immersion, following salvation. When the members of a local church are believers; there is 1. Purity 2. Unity 3. Power 4. Purpose 5. Peace
53 SAVED, BAPTIZED Church Membership J.R. Graves wrote, The character of the material of which a public building, or a house for the protection of a family, is constructed, is manifestly of the very first importance. God never has commanded a structure to be erected for His service, that He did not specifically indicate the material, and Christ no less specifically commanded the material that should be used in His house – the membership of His ecclesia.
54 SAVED, BAPTIZED Church Membership Why is this important? Protestant churches practice hereditary membership. Children of members at their baptism become covenant members of that church. A regenerate or born-again church membership protects our congregations from developing a form of godliness that denies the power thereof.
55 TWO OFFICES: Pastor and Deacon Acts 11:30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.ELDER – Experienced counselor1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.BISHOP – Overseer1 Peter 5:1-4 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.SHEPHERD – Protector and Provider
56 TWO OFFICES: Pastor and Deacon Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.Acts 20: For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.DEACON – “diaconas” – dirt servantPhilippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:1 Timothy 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
57 TWO OFFICES: Pastor and Deacon Acts 6:1-7 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
58 TWO OFFICES: Pastor and Deacon God’s Biblical Formula for Church Growth 1. Spirit-filled pastors, studying, praying and ministering the Word. 2. Spirit-filled deacons, serving the congregation by helping the Appostles. 3. Spirit-filled church members, submitting to and agreeing with God’s plan for the church. The Deacon’s can be a Board of Directors but only as it helps the Pastor. Church members are supposed to do more than give money and be entertained.
59 TWO OFFICES: Pastor and Deacon THERE ARE TWO ABUSES OF THE OFFICE OF DEACON1. Authoritarian Deacon2. Do-Nothing DeaconConcerning the authoritarian deacon B.H. Carroll wrote,“A board of deacons is not a board of ruling elders having official charge of all church affairs. Baptists are not Presbyterians in church polity. It is not the name, but the thing, that is objectionable. We do not dodge the offense of having a ruling board by calling them deacons. The New Testament elders who ruled were preachers. There is not even a remote hint in the New Testament that the office was a ruling office.”Deacons in the Bible were selfless servers, soul winners, powerful communicators of God’s Word and martyrs.
60 Separation of Church and State Matthew 22:15-22 “…Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” I Timothy 2:1-2The belief that the state should have no dealing with the church in enforcing policies or doctrines.The power of the church is to come from its eternal head Jesus Christ.God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation.The government’s purposes – Romans 13:1-7The church’s purposes – Matthew 28:19-20 and the Pauline Epistles
61 Separation of Church and State Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two.Christians in a free society may properly influence government toward righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government.A proper understanding of soul liberty is vital to any explanation of separation of church and state.Acts 5:28-29, “…We ought to obey God rather than men.”
62 Separation of Church and State John Clarke labored for more than 12 years to finally secure the famous Portsmouth Rhode Island Charter of 1663.It granted such religious liberty that parliament questioned whether the King, Charles II, even had the authority to grant such a charter.This began a NEW DAY in the WORLD.At long last, an economy was established where a man could worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, without fear of government coercion.Finally, freedom was born in Rhode Island!John Clarke also signed The Portsmouth Compact in 1638 but it was tenuous or weak and without a sound basis.
63 Separation of Church and State Thomas Jefferson was influenced by visiting the business meetings of the Buck Mountain Baptist Church in Albemarle County, Virginia, pastored by Andrew Tribble.During a meal at Jefferson’s home, Pastor Tribble asked Mr. Jefferson what he thought of his church’s government. Jefferson stated that he considered it the only form of pure democracy that existed in the world, and that he had concluded that it would be the best plan of Government for the American Colonies.Patrick Henry defended imprisoned Baptist preachers in Virginia.
64 Separation of Church and State James Madison was influenced by the great Baptist preacher, John Leland. Leland persuaded Madison that the only way the Baptists of Virginia would support the new Constitution was on the guarantee of a religious freedom amendment, now famously known as the First Amendment.Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…Soul Liberty was observed by a government for it’s people for the first time in 1,757 years.
65 Separation of Church and State The day after President Jefferson wrote his famous letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, describing the wall of separation between church and state, (they were understandably concerned) Jefferson went to hear his friend John Leland preach the Sunday service that was being held in the treasury building. Separation of church and state is a biblical, Baptist distinctive. It is rooted in Scripture. When denied in history the consequence is tyranny, bloodshed, spiritual darkness and hatred for soul liberty.