What makes Baptists distinct from other Christians?
is their general demeanor regarding how they relate to others?
do they deal with those in their own ranks who disagree?
is the true nature of their views regarding God and the Scriptures?
| Baptists are very committed
Bible believing people. They can be found in all walks of life but,
until recently, have generally favored the working class. Whether
it is an inner-city black congregation, a traditional styled church in
the rural South, or an upbeat contemporary congregation in a large city,
the Baptists are a diverse people.
Nevertheless, their influence
has been phenominal in the USA due to the religious freedom they have enjoyed.
According to a survey conducted in the late 1990s, there are about 43 million
Baptists worldwide with about 33 million in the United States.
Those who are not of the
this persuasion usually tend to judge all Baptists by the few they meet.
This would be generally accurate of most other Christian denominations.
However, the thinking amongst those who are committed to baptistic doctrine
(specifically, individual soul liberty and the independency of the local
church) is so diverse that they simply cannot be limited to a single general
description. Non-Baptists would do well to avoid making assumptions
about these independent thinking believers before truly getting to know
each one on their own merits.
Baptist people can be found
in both the conservative and liberal camps of many issues. Historically,
they have been on both sides of the fence on major issues from the Civil
War to civil rights. Politically, they may be Republican, Democrat,
or Independent. Culturally, some condemn modern technology while
others embrace it for the purpose of reaching the masses with the Gospel.
Some are very pious in their approach to how they conduct themselves as
Christians. Others are more laid-back while still maintaining what
they believe to be a committed walk with God. Some are totally sold
out to Christ; some are poor examples of everything that Christ taught.
Most are somewhere in the middle.
They can be found gainfully
employed in factories, corporations, politics, educational institutions,
medical centers, auto dealerships, construction sites, and just about any
place where they can make a living and still be faithful to God.
Most Baptists reject being
labeled. Historically, the name was given to them. Not always
willing to count themselves amongst the Protestants, Evangelicals, or those
churches who are part of a mainstream denomination, these Bible believers
see themselves as Christians who simply identify with the traditional Baptist
doctrine and distinctives.
Furthermore, they love to
find others like themselves with whom they can fellowship, share, and enter
into corporate worship. Their churches range from the very smallest
to some of the largest in the world. Hospitals, colleges, universities,
and numerous major para-church organizations have been founded and continue
to be maintained by them.
The real truth is that Baptists
are very caring, loving, pious, and decidedly concerned Bible believers.
Their motivation is nothing less than to bring glory to God in any way
that they can. Whether it be being active in their local church or
sharing the Good News of Salvation with a lost
||soul, they love God
and they love His people as well.
Should you enter a house
and see a Bible on an end table opened to some book and verse with a pair
of bifocals resting upon the pages, you are in the home of a Baptist.