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Foundations

baptist identity

At Tomahawk Baptist Church, we are first and foremost Christians... followers of Christ. So why do we call ourselves baptist? What follows are six (6) primary baptist ideas, which give us our unique identity within the great family of all Christians. Read the explanations below if you would like more information.

  • The Centrality of Christ
  • The Priesthood of All Believers
  • The Authority of the Bible
  • Religious Liberty
  • The Autonomy of the Local Church
  • Believer's Baptism
  • 1. The Centrality of Christ

    The earliest and most concise Christian confession was "Jesus Is Lord." It continues to be ours today. With all other Christians, we believe in the deity, humanity, and saving work of Jesus Christ. Because God sent Christ into the world, and because His teachings were central in the lives of His early disciples, the world was changed. Jesus continues to change the world today through us, His current disciples.

    2. The Priesthood of All Believers

    This preisthood has two components: Soul Competency and Soul Liberty.

    Soul Competency: Each individual is competent to interpret scripture---according the dictates of conscience; in the context of Christian community; and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Any individual may come directly to God through Christ without any human mediator. All Christians, through faith and baptism, are called to be priests, ministering to the world with Christ.

    Soul Liberty: Radical freedom demands radical responsibility. The Priesthood of all Believers is not merely an individual matter. We belong to a community of believers. God's people are all priests, ministering to one another in Christ's name.

    3. The Authority of the Bible

    We believe in the authority of the Scriptures. The Bible is the story of God's desire to be in relationship with His beloved creation, humanity. It points us to the Savior, Jesus Christ, but neither redeems us, nor saves us of its own power. The Bible is neither to be worshiped nor idolized. In the hands of the individual believer, empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit, it is each person's primary spiritual director. Many other Christian groups rely heavily on creeds as definitive statements of faith. Baptists do not believe that creeds hold authority over us. We rely on the Bible to inform us.

    4. Religious Liberty

    Only free religion is vital. Coerced religion loses its meaning. This doctrine leads us naturally to a strong belief in the separation of church and state. The church must not have control over the state and the state must not have control over the church. By following this path, both the church and state avoid corruption.

    5. The Autonomy of the Local Church

    The local church is the primary entity in doing the work of Jesus Christ in the world. Jesus Christ, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is our authority. There is no earthly authority over our congregation. We are responsible to interpret and carry out the Gospel as we understand it, with guidance from our Lord.

    6. Believer's Baptism

    We believe in the ordinance of believer's baptism. An ordinance (or mandate) is something that Jesus has told us we should do. Though the act of baptism does not save us from sin (only Jesus can do that as a gift of grace,) baptism is an outward sign of an inward change that has taken place in the believer's life when she/he chooses to become a follower of Jesus Christ. Through baptism, the believer publicly proclaims his or her faith that Christ is Savior.

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