PBS: What is a Southern Baptist?

January 10, 2008

logosouthernbabtistconvention.jpgTonight was the first week in our inaugural Parent Bible Study. I will post the outlines with some commentary from me so those who missed can read what we talked about. Here is week 1:

Introduction – What is a Southern Baptist? (Pt.1)

1. A Southern Baptist is first and foremost a Christian – A Christian is someone who confesses Christ as Lord and Savior (Rom. 10:9) – “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Simple as that. If someone confesses with their mouth and believes with their heart that Jesus was raised from the dead then that person is saved. However, only God truly knows a person’s heart.

2. Secondly, a Southern Baptists is an Evangelical – An Evangelical can be defined as “a movement transcending denominational and confessional boundaries, that emphasizes conformity to basic tenets of the faith and a missionary outreach of compassion and urgency.” (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 405). The EDT lists six of these basic tenets that Evangelicals adhere to:

a. The importance on the transcendence of God. God transcends space and time. He created everything we know an and have.

b. Scripture as divinely inspired, inerrant. When we speak of Scripture being inerrant we are speaking of the original autographs that Paul, Matthew, Mark, Moses, and every Bible writer put down. Those words that flowed from those pens were 100% inspired by God. You may hear of people speaking that the Bible is filled with mistakes. They are right. If you talk of copying a word twice copying a word twice (like I just did) then you are correct that the Bible is filled with mistakes. There are certain minor grammatical mistakes on copies of manuscripts. However, these mistakes have nothing to do with doctrinal error. Therefore, we believe that Scripture is perfect and inerrant.

c. Third, Evangelicals deny the Enlightenment doctrine of a person’s innate goodness. One of the fallacious conclusions that Enlightenment thinkers developed is that humanity is basically good. The world is filled with basically good people. This is not what the Bible says. (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”) Humanity has a sin problem. This sin problem is why Jesus came and leads us to number four:

d. Fourthly, God provided the way out of eternal damnation by allowing Jesus to atone for our sins.

e. Fifthly, salvation is an act of grace (and only grace, not works).

f. Sixth, Evangelicals stress preaching the Bible.

3. Third, a Southern Baptist is…ta da! A Baptist – The EDT states that a Baptist believes in “the spiritual nature of the church and the practice of baptism naturally arises as a corollary of this in the light of the NT teaching.” (EDT, 139) There are several theological positions that are held by those who consider themselves Baptists:

a. Membership of the Church – the church is composed of those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit and who have been brought to personal and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Membership is entered voluntarily and that only believers may participate in its ordinances. (EDT, 138ff)

b. Nature of the Church – Each Baptist church is a local assembly of believers.

c. Government of the Church – Christ is the head. Each Southern Baptist church is autonomous meaning that it is self-sustaining and self-governing. Each SBC church chooses its own leaders from within.

d. Ordinances of the Church – These are the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.

e. Ministry of the Church – A Baptist minister becomes so by God’s call. Public acknowledgment of that call comes in an ordination service. Also, every member is a minister to the church by using their God-given spiritual gifts

f. Ecumenicity of the Church – It’s all about cooperation. Southern Baptist churches cooperate with each other in order to reach people for Christ.

Next week we will talk about how the Southern Baptist Convention came about. See you then!

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