continuing the discussion from yesterday- there are distinctives that are necessary to be a christian, and there are others that make one a particular demographic of christian. none of these “denominational” (for lack of a better word) distinctives undermine or contradict the primary christian distinctives.

at the blog between the times, nathan finn, professor of church history at southeastern seminary in wake forest, north carolina, highlights what beliefs make southern baptists christian, and also what makes these christians “baptist”.

an excerpt:

Because our Christian identity is essential to our Baptist identity, we share a number of convictions with the wider catholic tradition, whether in its Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant forms:

1. Baptists believe in the Triune God who exists
eternallyas Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

2. Baptists believe that this Triune God created
the world good,but that his good world has been
corrupted because of the sin ofthe first human beings.

3. Baptists believe that Jesus Christ is the unique
God-Man, theincarnate Son of God, the second person
of the Trinity, both trulydivine and genuinely human.

4. Baptists believe that God is redeeming the world
and rescuinglost sinners through the person and work
of Jesus Christ.

5. Baptists believe that every human being will spend
eternity in eitherHeaven or Hell, and each person’s eternal
destination is based upon howthat person responds to God’s
revelation in Christ.

6. Most Baptists believe that all Christians everywhere are
adopted into God’s family and are part of his universal church,
a groupwhich includes all presently living believers as well
as all the redeemedof all the ages.

7. Baptists believe that all of these truths are taught in the
Bible, whichis God’s authoritative written word to humanity.

he continues…

Because of our historic milieu, Baptists embrace a number
ofconvictions that are embraced by most other Protestant
Christians:

1. Baptists believe that salvation comes by grace
through faithand that sinners are justified by faith
rather than by good works.

2. Baptists believe in the supreme authority of Scripture,
arguingthat the Bible is the ultimate norm for faith and
practice and is thusof a greater authority than traditions,
creeds, confessions, and individual opinions.

3. Most Baptists believe in only two ordinances (or sacraments),
baptismand the Lord’s Supper, and reject a sacerdotal understanding
of salvation.

4. Baptists believe in the priesthood of all believers,
claiming that everybeliever has direct access to God as
a result of the high priestly ministryof Jesus Christ.

5. Baptists argue against the existence of a special
priestly class of Christians,arguing that all believers are
spiritually equipped for the work of the gospel
ministry within their unique vocations.

Baptists are Christians. Even more specifically, Baptists are a type of Protestant Christian. The vast majority of our beliefs are not unique to Baptists, which is a good thing; when too many of your beliefs are different from other Christians, what you have is likely an alternative to Christianity.

Having established that most of our beliefs are shared with other types of Christians, I want to briefly consider those beliefs that are typically associated with Baptist Christians. There are at least five distinctives that are uniquely emphasized by Baptists:

1. Regenerate church membership
2. Believer’s baptism by immersion
3. Congregational church polity
4. Local church autonomy
5. Liberty of conscience

i highly encourage you (especially any baptists) to read this whole article.

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