What Makes Baptists Different?
West Main Baptist Church is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. More importantly, we are a part of God’s universal church made up of all believers in the world. Thus, we affirm the fact that there are other devoted Christians who exist in a large number of other denominations. As Baptists, there are certain distinct practices of the faith which we hold dear. Many of these are the same practices that distinguish us from other denominations.
I. The Bible is the Word of God – In accordance with II Timothy 3:16 and II Peter 1:21, the Bible was written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as a supernatural revelation of God. The Scriptures are literally God-breathed and contain no mixture of error. The truth of Scripture and the person of Christ are the foundations of the church and stand in direct opposition to the moral ills of society.
II. Salvation is by Grace Alone – In accordance with Ephesians 2:8-9, we are saved by God’s grace at the point of personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Man is sinful and does not have the ability to save himself, least of all by good works. However, in accordance with James 2:14-17, our faith will be evidenced by good works, obedience, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
III. The Believer is Eternally Secure – In accordance with John 10:27-28 and Romans 8:38-39, if an individual has made a true, heart-changing decision to trust Christ, then they can never lose their salvation. When a saved person sins, their fellowship with God is interrupted, but never broken (I John 1:9). Likewise, those who do not trust Christ in this lifetime will spend eternity in hell (Revelation 21:8).
IV. The Priesthood of the Believer – In accordance with I John 2:1 and Hebrews 4:14-16, Christ Himself is our Advocate and High Priest. We have no need for human intermediaries because the blood of Christ has made each believer a child in God’s own family. Therefore we have direct access to God in confession, prayer, worship, and through His Word.
V. Baptism is by Immersion for the Believer – In accordance with Matthew 28:19-20 and Romans 6:3-5, baptism is done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is not a means of salvation, but it is the believer’s public profession of faith and their symbolic identification with the death and resurrection of Christ and the cleansing of the Holy Spirit. In accordance with the Greek translation, true baptism is by immersion as an act of obedience, and it is reserved for persons who can express a certain degree of sincerity and understanding of their faith (as determined by church leaders).
VI. Church Government is Congregational – In accordance with Colossians 1:18 and Acts 13 and Acts 15, Christ is the Head of the church. Under His direction, West Main is Pastor-led, Deacon-served, Committee-functioned, and Congregationally-approved. The congregation, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, is the most basic unit of church government. Through prayerful submission to God and His Word, members are responsible for selecting their leaders, developing the church constitution, preserving unity and purity in the body, as well as exacting church discipline when necessary.