BAPTIST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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BAPTIST FAQs Courtesy of Rev. Bryan Speroni
1. Where does the term "Baptist" come from?The term is a condensed version of "Anabaptist". The word "Anabaptist" means re-baptizer. The Anabaptists of yesteryear and the Baptists of today, both believe that baptism by immersion should only take place after a person is old enough to choose for themselves. If they decide to believe in Christ and follow Him, then they should be baptized. Therefore, if someone is baptized as an infant (no ability to decide for themselves), the Anabaptists, as do the Baptists of today, would re-baptize them when they make a decision on their own.
2. What are the beliefs of the Baptists that set them apart from other denominations?If you take the letters of the word "BAPTISTS" and make an acrostic out of them it is easy to remember the Baptist distinctives.B - stands for Biblical Authority - By this is meant that Baptists believe the Bible to be the very Word of God and therefore it is the only and the sufficient authority for what to believe and what to practice.A - stands for Autonomy of the Local Church - By this is meant that each local church is sovereign in itself and cannot be controlled by any outside board, heirarchical system or another church.P - stands for Priesthood of Believers - By this is meant that every "born-again" believer may pray without a human intercessor directly to God through Jesus Christ the Great High-Priest.T - stands for Two Ordinances - They consist of Baptism by immersion based upon one's confession of personal faith in Jesus Christ as one's Savior and Lord AND The Lord's Table with the elements of the service (bread and cup) being only symbolic of the body and blood of the Lord.I - stands for Individual Soul Liberty - We often refer to this as Freedom of Religion. By this is meant that every person has the right to interpret the Scriptures, to hold and to profess and to worship as they believe the Bible teaches. These things are not to be forced upon anyone.S - stands for Saved Church Membership - By this is meant that the membership of a New Testament local church consists only of those who have openly confessed Jesus Christ as Savior and have demonstrated a willingness to obey the teachings of the Bible and agree to the doctrine and standards of the local church.T - stands for Two Officers - The offices of pastor and deacon are the only Bible recognized offices in the local church. Other offices may be necessary but must not be equated with these two.S - stands for Separation of Church and State - This means that every believer should respect, sustain and obey civil authority so long as it does not cause violation to conscience or Scriptural convictions. There should be no organic union of church and state, but the state should protect, not dominate or interfere with, the affairs of the church.
3. Are there any differences among Baptist churches?Among Baptist churches there are many differences. Some are more contempory in their choice of worship music, while some choose more tradtional church music. Some are more free in their style of worship, while some are more staid in worship style. Some Baptist churches are more socially active, while some stick more to themselves and minister to the membership. But no matter how different they might be from one another, all Baptist churches would pretty much agree with the 8 tenets outlined in the previously mentioned acrostic.