Why Baptist? Historic Baptist doctrine most closely represents Apostolic doctrine and tradition as contained in the Scriptures. Distinctive Baptist principles have frequently been summarized using the acrostic B.A.P.T.I.S.T.


Bible as sole authority for faith and practice

While many denominations and religions hold to creeds or tradition as the final authority in their belief systems, the historic Baptist position holds the Bible not only as the final authority, but as the sole authority for faith and ractice. This results from confidence in the Bible's declaration of divine inspiration, and its promise of preservation and inerrancy to every generation.


Autonomy of each New Testament church

Each congregation, church, or assembly is autonomous, having Christ as her head, and not subservient to any denominational hierarchy, classis, synod, council, or pope.


Priesthood of every believer

Because of the redemptive work and intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, every believer in this dispensation is both king and priest, and has no need for an earthly mediatorial priesthood to intercede on his behalf. To return to a hierarchical priesthood patterned after the Old Testament Levitical priesthood is to forsake the reality in favour of the shadow.


Two ordinances for the church

Believer's Baptism and the celebration of the Lord's Table have been entrusted to each New Testament assembly, and serve only as memorials, providing no means of grace to the partakers.


Individual Soul Liberty

Also known as liberty of conscience, this conviction recognizes that true faith cannot be compelled. Each individual has been created with a conscience. Thus, both state religions and denominations baptizing infants into their membership violate the Scriptural teaching of the response of the individual conscience in repentance and faith.


Saved Membership

The church is a particular visible assembly of those who have professed their faith in Christ and followed in believer's baptism. Whereas Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations put water before the blood (baptism into their societies before profession of salvation), Baptist churches have historically held to blood before water (salvation before baptism and church membership).


Two offices in the assembly

The Holy Scriptures teach that there are only two offices in the New Testament church: pastor (known also as bishop or elder) and deacon.