What is a Baptist Church?  

  Study Introduction

I.         Introduction


A.      Key Scriptures (Mt 16:18-18; 1Cor 3:11; 1Cor 1:10; Eph 4:4-6)

B.       Why a Study Like This is Needed?


1.        There are lots of different churches today – claim to be churches


a.       These are the main ones


1)       Baptist Churches

2)       Roman Catholic Churches

3)       Presbyterian Churches

4)       Methodist Churches

5)       Church of Ireland

6)       Pentecostal Churches

7)       Non-denominational Churches – no real doctrinal stand


b.       Then there are others – which are clearly cults


1)       Mormons – becoming gods

2)       Jehovah’s Witnesses – working their way to heaven

3)       Seventh day Adventists – keeping the Sabbath

4)       Church of Christ – baptismal regeneration


2.        Never mind the fact that there are lots of different religions


a.       Buddhism – belief in the eight-fold path to nothingness

b.       Islam – believe in Allah and his prophet Mohammed

c.       Hinduism – believe in about 2 million gods

d.       Shintoism – believe in dead ancestors

e.       Judaism – believe in God of the Bible, but not Messiah

f.        Evolutionism – the belief in almighty dirt!


3.        Are there any real differences?


a.       There is a major push to get all churches together, under the pope – emphasize no real differences

b.       The differences are as broad as the day is to the night – there are only two kinds of religions:


1)       Either it is DONE

2)       Or it is DO, DO, DO, and the DO it some more!

3)       Either it is by grace through faith

4)       Or Works, works, works, and mix it with some faith


C.       This lesson series is intended to help people who believe the Bible, know the following four things:


1.        Is there really a difference between some churches?

2.        Can a Church simply follow the Biblical pattern for being a church, and that be enough?

3.        What are the Biblical patterns for a Church to follow?

4.        Should a church stand for those patterns, those distinctives, and compel other churches to return to those Biblical patterns?


II.       Lesson


A.      Is there a difference between some churches


1.        The answer is YES! There are clear differences


a.       Some churches emphasize Jesus

b.       Some emphasize Mary and the saints

c.       Some emphasize architecture and art-work

d.       Some emphasize the church fathers

e.       Some emphasize only the Bible

f.        Some talk about hope, and peace

g.       Some talk about heaven and hell


2.        The current direction of the world is to bring all the churches together under one church


a.       Only talk about the Spirit

b.       Only emphasize the goodness of mankind

c.       Replace the Bible with prayers and multi-faith fellowships


3.        Believe me, that is not what Jesus died for!

4.         We are living in an age when those in the religious spotlight are telling us that doctrine is not important and that it doesn't make any difference what you believe as long as you are sincere. However, doctrine IS important to God and it DOES make a difference what you believe. Consider 2 John 9, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” John's words do not sound like he is advocating a "doctrine-less" Christianity. Many Mormons are sincere, but they're sincerely wrong. Many Jehovah's Witnesses are sincere, but they're sincerely wrong. Hindus are sincere, but they're sincerely wrong. Moslems are sincere but they're sincerely wrong. Sincerity alone does not make ones beliefs necessarily true. The degree to which something is true is how it measures up to the Bible.


B.       How many of you have heard of Dean Andrew Furlong ?


1.        Let me quote from his own web-page:


·         “all religious traditions … evolve over time and contain much diversity of thinking and believing; they are continuously in need of re-interpretation. The historic Creeds of Christianity, as well as the documents that came to form the New Testament, were formulated in thought forms that belong to a very different age to ours.”

·         “One eminent Fellow of the Jesus Seminar, founded in U.S.A. in the mid-eighties, estimates that 50% of the words ascribed to Jesus … are not authentic words of Jesus.”

·         “We simply do not know when or how the world will end.”

·         “Paul's view that death is a punishment for sin, lies behind his interpretation that the death of Jesus is for the lifting of the punishment of death; this theory can now be seen to have lost its point. Jesus' death had nothing to do with such a matter. There is another objection to the belief that death is a punishment for sin; which is that it makes God out to be very wrathful and vengeful, which conflicts radically with a picture of a God of tenderness, long-suffering, compassion and forgiveness.”

·         “I believe that Jesus would be both amazed and horrified if he were able to come back and meet us today. As a practising Jew, he would have had no idea that a new religion had been founded in his name, nor of the beliefs formulated about him, nor of the forms of worship in which his name and his story figure so prominently.”

·         Why would he talk about HIS church, and for us to go into all the worlds then? This guy goes on an on and is like a ship with no anchor!


2.        How do we determine if he is right or wrong?

3.        Does it matter if he is right or wrong?

4.        What is at stake?


a.       Not only doctrinal purity

b.       But the salvation of the world – how is this affected?


1)       You can only be saved by believing what this Book says about Jesus (Jn 6:68: Ps 19:7)

2)       If you change what the Book says, or water it down, you are damning both your soul, and the souls of those who trust you (Rev 22:18,19)

3)       That’s why priests, Bishops, popes, and all liberal ministers are going to receive the greater damnation (Mt 23:14,15)


C.       Things do change


1.        People change

2.        Churches change

3.        Beliefs vary even from person to person

4.        But the Bible cannot change (Mt 24:35)


a.       The Old Testament pointed to the coming of the Messiah, and more written revelation

b.       But what was already written was fixed for ever

c.       All other Scripture must match what was already written (Isa 8:20)


D.      How Christians Must React?


1.        What does God expect of the hearers of the Bible (James 1:22)?

2.        They must choose sides


a.       The side of conformity with the world – constantly adapt to the new way of thinking – new age

b.       Or, the side of the cross – bearing its shame and embarrassment, and persecution

c.       We are NOT to be the persecutors!


3.        Do what God expects


a.       Do right – comes by believing right

b.       Even changing churches to get into a simple, Bible based church

c.       Getting really saved – make sure!

d.       Getting re-baptized if only sprinkled, or baptized by a bible-rejecting church.

e.       Put pressure on other Christians to conform their lives to ONE Book, and thereby, ONE faith (Jude 1:3)


4.        Don’t be like everyone else today


a.       Don’t Bible truth – know it, study it, teach it

b.       Don’t attempt to change the truth – to calm your guilty conscience (2Cor 2:17)


E.       I am a Christian by the New Birth – I am a Baptist by Choice


1.        No one is BORN a Baptist


a.       You can be born an American, and Irish, English

b.       You can be forced to be a Catholic, a Protestant, etc

c.       But you must choose to be a Bible believing Baptist


2.        To be a Biblical Baptist


a.       You need to be born again – simply obey the Bible

b.       And then you need to decide what you are going to believe


3.        The Bible tells us what to believe – that doesn’t guarantee that people will believe it all


III.     Conclusion – What are we going to be studying over the next few weeks?


A.      What a Church Is

B.       What happened to Christ’s Church

C.       What is a Baptist-Kind of Church

D.      Baptist Distinctive Beliefs

E.       A Look at Baptist History