Verse of the Day

My Musings, Observations, etc.


Do you have a question about the Bible? Do you have a question about some doctrine or why we do what we do? Click here to send us your question and we will try to give you an answer as soon as possible.
January 13, 2011
In our acrostic for BAPTIST, the letter 'A' represents Autonomy of the Local Church.
Col 1:18 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.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus the church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church's beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. A Baptist church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests, but a Baptist church cannot be a "member" of any other body.
Many churches submit themselves to other authorities outside of the church. Sadly many Baptist Churches do this as well. We are all familiar with the Southern Baptist Convention. As "Independent Baptists" we cry out against the organization, but there is a dirty little secret within our fundamental circles! While we all teach and preach the autonomy of the local church, there are many Independent Baptist Churches which are anything but Independent. In the course of my travels, I have visited churches which only support missionaries from a selected mission board. When we were in the process of officially starting our ministry, we looked at several options. We just assumed that we must join some mission board. However, as we looked at mission boards and compared them to Scripture, we were shocked to learn some things! For example: Suppose God had called me to be a church-planting missionary. There are a couple of boards that insist on some things: First, they maintain ownership of any property purchased on the field. Second, with some of these boards, even if the missionary plants a church (effectively becoming that church's pastor in the process), the Pastor of that new church must report to the mission board. Is that new church autonomous? It does not seem so, does it. Yet, these boards call themselves independent and fundamental. In the next article, we will delve into an issue which sets some on their ear - the priesthood of the believer. Yes, it is true that all who are saved by the grace of God are a part of a Royal Priesthood!