Bay Area Baptist Church
"speaking the truth in love.." Eph. 4:15
Independent and Fundamental
- Biblical Authority
- Autonomy of the Local Church
- Priesthood of the Believer
- Two Ordinances
- Individual Soul Liberty
- Saved and Baptized Church Membership
- Two Offices in the Church
- Seperation of Church and State
Biblical Authority means we believe the Bible is the final authority in matters of belief and practice. We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and speaks with the authority of God Himself. When the Bible affirms something it is the absolute truth. Creeds, Confessions of Faith, human opinions or the decrees and traditions of any church cannot override or be equal to the authority of the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:15-17"15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
1 Thessalonians 2:13"13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."
2 Peter 1:20, 21"20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
Autonomy of the Local Church means the local church is its own independent body accountable to only the Lord Jesus Christ, the only true Head of the Church. Any and all human authority to govern the local church resides within that local church. There is no Scriptural basis for a religious hierarchy outside of the local church to dictate the beliefs and practices of the local church. Autonomous means self-governing but it does not mean isolation. The local church can fellowship with other churches regarding mutual interests but cannot be a member of any other body.
Colossians 1:18"18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
Priesthood of the Believer refers to the fact that in the Bible the priest was the person authorized to perform religious rites and sacrifices. The priest acted as a mediating agent between man and God. Today every born again believer is a priest of God and may enter into His presence directly through Our Great High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other mediator required between God and man. As priests the individual can study Godís Word, pray, intercede for others, and worship God. One individual, whether pastor, deacon, preacher, or common believer, does not have any more or less access to God. We are all on common footing in the presence of God.
1 Peter 2:5, 9"5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
Revelations 5:9-10"9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."
Two Ordinances means the local church has only two ordinances to practice. The first is Baptism of Believers by immersion in water; which identifies the individual with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. The second is the Lord's Supper which commemorates His death.
Matthew 28:19, 20"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: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
1 Corinthians 11:23-26"23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."
Individual Soul Liberty means every individual whether they are believers or not, has the right to choose what he believes is right in the realm of religion. In other words, nobody should be forced to assent to any belief against his will. Baptists have always opposed all forms of religious persecution. Individual soul liberty is not a license to do whatever we please. Each person is still personally responsible to the Word of God and will be held accountable for their choices.
Romans 14:5, 12"5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
2 Corinthians 4:2"2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."
Titus 1:9"9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers."
Saved and Baptized Church Membership means membership in the local church is restricted to individuals who have a believable personal faith in Christ for salvation and have identified themselves with Christ in believers baptism. In other words church membership is restricted to those who are truly saved and have been Scripturally baptized. This restriction helps to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace within the local church.
Acts 2:41-42, 47"41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
2 Corinthians 6:14"14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
Ephesians 4:3"3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Two Offices of the Church refers to the only two church offices mandated by the Bible, pastor and deacon. The Bible uses the terms, pastor, elder, bishop and overseer to refer to the same office. These two offices, pastor and deacon, exist within the local church only. They do not compose any heirarchy outside of the local church.
1 Timothy 3:1-13"1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work 8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre"
Seperation of Church and State refers to the fact that God established both the church and the civil government to operate in their own distinct areas. The governmentís purposes are detailed in Romans 13:1-7 and the churchís purpose is given in Matthew 28:19-20. Neither one controls the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. This means that Christians can properly influence the government toward righteousness. However, there should never be any denomination of group of churches controlling the government.
Matthew 22:15-22"21 ...Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."