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   Discussion: What is the Baptist Church, and what do Baptists believe?
kevinmanuel · 1 month ago
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  • First Baptist, Second Baptist, American Baptist, Southern Baptist, General Baptist, Independent Baptist, Primitive Baptist – the list goes on and on. Just who are these groups, and where did they all come from? Do they believe the same things or get along with each other? Depending on whom you ask, the Baptist church can be the oldest of all traditions, or a newcomer hanging on the coattails of the Reformation. It can be the standard-bearer of old-time, orthodox doctrine or the breeding ground of heresy. The truth is that the answer depends on whether you are examining a particular group or the fundamental doctrines of that group. Each Baptist group can trace its history to a particular starting point as an organization, but the roots go back to the very beginning of the Christian faith.
  • Tracking down the origins of the Baptist Church in general is an exercise in ancient church history. From the days of the apostles, there was one Church of Jesus Christ, with a single body of doctrine taught by the apostles. The various local churches preached repentance and confession of sins, along with baptism by immersion as an outward sign of the new life in Christ (Romans 6:3-4). Under the authority of the apostles themselves as to doctrine, each church was independently governed by the leaders God placed in them. There was neither denominational hierarchy, nor distinction of “us/them” within the various churches. In fact, Paul soundly rebuked the Corinthians for such divisions (1 Corinthians 3:1-9). When disputes over sound doctrine arose, the apostles declared God's teaching based on the words of the Lord and the Old Testament Scriptures. For at least 100 years, this model remained the standard for all churches. Thus, the characteristics that defined the earliest churches are the same that most Baptist churches identify with today.
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