Baptist Distinctives 1: All Scripture Is God’s Word

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

When our Lord Jesus prepared to go to the Cross and give His life for ours, He prayed about His Church and the Word of God He had given to His Church. Jesus said:

John 17:13-17 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Jesus knew that His Church would be attacked by the lost world, just as He was attacked. Throughout His ministry Jesus focused time and time again on the Word of God. Jesus gave His Church the Word of God. Though the Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees, and Priests stood at odds with Jesus, our Lord repeatedly referred to the Word of God. Jesus often said, “It is written”, and quoted the Old Testament Scriptures as directives from God. Jesus knew that if Satan was going to infiltrate the Church that He was building, Satan would do so through twisting of the Word of God. This is what Satan did in the Garden of Eden when he said to Adam and Eve, “Hath God really said” and “God said you will die, but you will not die!” (Genesis 3:1, 4). Jesus was concerned about His Church. This is why He asked the Father to “Sanctify them (keep the Church out of the world) through Thy truth: Thy WORD is truth (the Bible is true).

Salvation Comes Only By Faith In Christ

I along with others who call themselves Baptists firmly believe that salvation comes only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is a decision that each person must make between themselves and the call of God’s Holy Spirit. Now, how do I know that this statement is true? How do I know that you must believe in Jesus? Perhaps you can believe in another god, or in mother nature, or in father time, or in the stars of the sky as the ancient Babylonians believed. Perhaps there are many ways unto God.

If I hold a loose, flimsy view of the Scripture, then I can weave other methods and means of salvation into my life.

Some who are Christian call themselves Social Justice Warriors, and believe that salvation is to establish a certain social order between the races. Black Pastor and seminary dean Voddie Baucham Jr said “CRT {Critical Race Theory} is at least as foreign to Christianity as Hinduism is”. Social Justice cannot fix what ails this fallen world. The Bible makes it clear that all are fallen sinners in need of salvation (Romans 3:23).

How do I know all have sinned?
Because the Bible says so.
How do I know how to be saved?
By reading the Bible.

The Apostle clearly outlined the simplicity but necessity of salvation when he (as moved by the Holy Spirit) wrote:

Romans 10:8-13 … that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Salvation is a confession that Jesus is Lord and Savior, and that Jesus has risen from the dead. These are not works, but acts of faith that come from a heart opened by God the Holy Spirit to receive and believe on these truths. This is what we believe as Baptists.

Our starting place for defining salvation
is what the Bible has to say about it

Baptists Are People Of “The Book”

It might surprise you to know that there are 45,000 denominations of Christians globally. Though there are an estimated 2 billion professing Christians in the world today, we have separated ourselves into thousands of denominations.

What about Baptists? Do we all believe the same? No. Even among Baptists there are many different sects or denominations. In America there are – as noted by Baylor University19 Baptist denominations. A partial list of these is:

Alliance of Baptists
American Baptist Association
American Baptist Churches USA
Conservative Baptist Association
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
General Association of Regular Baptist Churches
National Association Of Free Will Baptists
Pentecostal Free Will Baptists
Primitive Baptists
Progressive National Baptist Convention
Seventh Day Baptists
Southern Baptist Convention

Of these various groups:

  • Some Baptists are Reformed or call themselves Particular Baptists or Calvinistic Baptists. They believe that God elects or chooses certain souls to salvation, and that only those so elected can possibly be saved.
  • Some Baptists worship only only Saturday, as the Seventh Day Adventists do.
  • Some Baptists consider not only the Lord’s Table and Baptism to be ordinances, but also consider foot washing to be an ordinance (something a Christian is ORDERED to do by Jesus). There are no Baptists who consider these actions to be sacraments, a necessary practice in order to be saved. Baptists universally believe salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone (Solus Christus).
  • Some Baptists adhere to the King James Version of the Scripture as the only true Bible. I believe this is a very narrow view of Scripture, as all Scripture is compiled and translated from ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Chaldean, and Greek manuscripts. To say that the King James Version is the only version of the Bible is to say that Christians prior to 1611 had no access to God’s Holy Word, which is patently untrue. The Geneva Bible of 1560 was read by Christians prior to the King James. One of the earliest Bible translations into English was the Tyndale Bible (1522-1536). This Bible was also one of the earliest Bibles mass produced because of new advances in the art of printing. I preach from the King James because I choose to do so.

I’ve talked about the differences between Baptists – but what do we have in common. Baptists have a HIGH VIEW of Scripture.

Though we differ in some areas, we as Baptists believe the Scripture to be God breathed, God inspired, and God ordered. In most Baptist Churches the first thing you see on entering the sanctuary is the Bible on the Lord’s Table.

At this Church we are members of the Southern Baptist Convention, and if we are asked what we believe (a statement of faith) we refer to the Baptist Faith and Message. The Baptist Faith and Message is a general overview of what Southern Baptists believe. The very first article of the Baptist Faith and Message is:

“I. The Scriptures: The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.”

This statement is what led me to become a Southern Baptist. I am proud that we bind together with other believing Baptists to support missions throughout the world. I feel blessed that, as Southern Baptists, we believe in the autonomy of the local Church. There are no hierarchies of rulers above us.

We are a body of believer-priests, led by a believer-priest called Pastor, and are directed and ultimately led by the Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit of God for the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord. It is the Spirit and the Scripture that binds us together. This is what Jesus envisioned.

If you believe God’s Word to be true in all that it affirms, then what you believe effects what you do. For instance, if you believe as Jesus did that “Thy Word, O God, is truth”, then that belief effects everything religious you do.

Your View Of Scripture Effects
Your Walk With
And Service To Jesus

For instance, Baptists believe that genuine Baptism is a command (an ordinance) that a Christian must obey of their own free will. Further, Baptists believe that a person must go down into the water, and come up out of the water to be properly baptized. Why do we believe this? Because the Bible says so.

Baptism is a command (an ordinance or an order from Jesus) because the Bible says Jesus said so. We often quote what we commonly call “The Great Commission” where Jesus commanded us:

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Jesus commanded baptism of those who believed in Him. It is an ordinance, an order from our Lord. As Baptists we believe that a person is baptized not by sprinkling or pouring, but by immersion in water. Why be so picky? Because the Bible says so. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (yes, Jesus was baptized, too), we read:

Mark 1:10-11 .. And straightway coming up out of the water, {Jesus} saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Jesus came up out of the water. John did not sprinkle Him, nor pour water on Jesus. The Bible tells us that John the Baptist

John 3:23 … was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

John chose where he baptized carefully, making sure there was much water there. If he were baptizing from a cup or a fount, the amount of water would not have mattered. John baptized by immersion.

Word Study: Further, the word “baptize” is transliterated from the Greek βαπτίζω baptízō, {pronounced bap-tid’-zo}, which means “to immerse, to submerge, to make fully wet”. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance notes, “used only in the New Testament of ceremonial {washing}. Further, the Scripture compares baptism to a symbol of death in:

Romans 6:3-5 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

When the disciple goes down into the water, this is symbolic of their death to their old way of life. When they come up out of the water this is symbolic of their resurrection into new life with Jesus Christ as their Lord. In the early Church baptism was by immersion in water. For instance, when Philip led the Ethiopian Eunuch to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior …

Acts 8:36-39 … the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Preach: As Baptists, we do not receive new members onto the written roll of the Church until the convert is baptized by immersion. We see baptism as an ordinance. If you will not obey Jesus in this simple ordinance, we do not want you on the roll! However, we do not say that those who are baptized by sprinkling or by pouring are not Christians. Baptism is an ordinance, a command, but not a sacrament.

A sacrament is an action that one must perform in order to be saved. We do not believe baptism to be a sacrament. Why? Because the Scripture says so.

When Jesus was on the Cross dying for our sins, a thief that hung near our Lord believed on Jesus. He said, Jesus, LORD, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom. Jesus told that thief, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:41-43). The Scripture tells us that Jesus promised this totally unbaptized man that he would be with Him – that very day – in Paradise or Heaven. If Baptism were a SACRAMENT, then Jesus would not have promised this man Paradise with Him.

Jesus never disobeyed the decreetive will of God.

Baptism is clearly NOT a sacrament, a necessary function of salvation. It is, however, an ordinance or a command from Jesus. And Jesus said, If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). If you love Jesus, you WILL be baptized or your own volition!

We do not baptize babies. There is no place in scripture where a baby was ever baptized by anyone. Baptism is a decision freely reached by the convert.

The Catholic Church baptizes babies because it considers water baptism a sacrament, or a necessary part of grace

This is probably what prompted that sect to baptize by sprinkling from a fount or chalice. If you force a baby underwater, it is cruel, and leads to choking! One of the major differences between Baptist Churches and Churches of Christ is that the Church of Christ views baptism to be a sacrament, or a necessary part of salvation.

The Church of Christ along with the Catholic Church believe in the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration

An online commentary I love to visit called “Got Questions” notes:

“The problem with this viewpoint is that there are biblical passages that clearly and explicitly declare faith to be the only requirement for salvation. John 3:16, one of the most well-known verses in the Bible, states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” In Acts 16:30, the Philippian jailer asks the Apostle Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” If there was ever an opportunity for Paul to present a four-part formula, this was it. Paul’s response was simple: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). No baptism, no confession, just faith. … There are literally dozens of verses in the New Testament that attribute salvation to faith/belief with no other requirement mentioned in the context. If baptism, or anything else, is necessary for salvation, all of these verses are wrong, and the Bible contains errors and is therefore no longer worthy of our trust.”

A high view of Scripture effects how you live out your faith. Equally, a low view of Scripture effects how you live out your faith.

The Scripture Is And Will Always Be
Politically Incorrect. Period.

The reason why many people abandon the Scripture is because it is not “with the times”. But the Scripture has never been with the times. Returning to Jesus’ prayer for His Church, He said:

John 17:14-17 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

The Bible is very much a PATRIARCHAL Book.

God is our “Father”, not our “Mother”.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Sin came into the world “by one man”, not by “one woman”.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

The antidote for sin is belief in a Perfect God/Man named Jesus.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

God has decreed that man lead his family, as Christ leads the Church.

Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

The leadership of the local Church is male, not female.

1 Timothy 3:2-5 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

1 Timothy 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

God does not undermine women by making the Bible Patriarchal. On the contrary, God used women in both Testaments to do mighty and wonderful things.

  • God used a virgin called Mary (Luke 1:35) to bring Messiah into the world.
  • One of Jesus’ most faithful followers was Mary Magdalene (Matthew 27:56), who was the first disciple to discover that Jesus rose from the grave.
  • Jesus often rested at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany (John 11:1). Mary was often found sitting at the feet of Jesus as He taught Scripture(Luke 10:42).
  • The Apostle Paul commends Phebe, a servant of the Church which is at Cenchrea (Romans 16:1). In the same chapter Paul tells us that his favorite helpers were Priscilla and Aquila (Romans 16:3), who had a Church meeting in their home.

I could go on and on. God never undermines women, as the Scripture always treats women as precious, and just as much in the image of God as a man is. However, in God’s design, He has established men in leadership positions in the home, the community, and in the Church.

I am certain as I read these words – which are quoted directly from Scripture – there are many who are offended by them. But I can only say, “It is written”. This is what the Bible says. I do not feel the need to make excuses nor debate what God’s Word has said. What He has written, He has written. If you choose otherwise then you believe this Book is just a human book, with no effect on eternity whatsoever. Many sects professing Christ believe this. I have an inherent problem with this. If this book is just a human book, with no effect on eternity, then how can you say that Jesus Christ is the only Way unto God? How can you say that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone? If part of the Book is flawed, how do we determine the true from the untrue? Who’s to say?

It is all confusion.

For me and my house, we believe in the purity of God’s Word. We believe that it is wholly true, and valid for the believer in God for all ages. Though I and my wife love and accept Christians from all walks of faith regardless of their practice, we hold the Scripture to be true, and the foundation on which all life is to be built on. The Church is defined by the Scripture. I close with these words:

Ephesians 2:18-22 For through {Jesus} we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

May God bless the preaching of His Word, to the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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