Below is a handout I prepared and gave to our deacons and deacon candidates. We went over the doctrines and discussed them. A deacon needs to know what we believe and why we believe it. Deacons should be grounded in the faith. They also need to be prepared to answer questions during the Ordination Service!
We also discussed a handout on The Baptist Deacon. That will be posted next.
Fundamental or Basic Christian Doctrines are the foundational beliefs of Christianity. They have been believed by all, or at least the huge majority, of all Christians. Distinctive Baptist Doctrines are those beliefs that distinquish Baptists from all other, or some other, Evangelical Christian groups.
Deacons - Basic Baptist Doctrines
(Summary, for a complete statement, read the Bible!)
Fundamental, Basic Christian Doctrines:
1. Divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. The Bible is our supreme rule of faith and practice.
2. The Trinity. God is one, but reveals Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
3. Jesus is God.
4. The Virgin Birth of Jesus.
5. Jesus’ sinless life
6. The blood atonement. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, shed His blood for us.
7. Jesus literally, physically rose from the dead.
8. Literal Return of Christ to the earth.
9. Resurrection and Judgment
10. Reality of Heaven and Hell
11. Man is a sinner in need of a Savior.
12. Personal faith in Jesus is the only way of salvation. Faith alone in Christ alone.
A deacon should have a basic understanding of how to share the plan of salvation (see previous GCP article on The Roman Road).
Distinctive Baptist Doctrines:
1. Believers Baptism by Immersion, is the scriptural means of baptism.
2. Two scriptural offices: pastors and deacons. In the Bible pastor, bishop, and elder are used synonymously for the same office.
3. Eternal Security of the believer. Once saved, always saved. But true faith should result in good works for the Lord.
4. Autonomy of the local church. The local church is a democratic body, with Christ as the head of the church. No one outside a local Baptist church can tell them what to do.
5. Religious liberty. Citizens of a country should be free to worship according to the dictates of their conscience. They should be free to witness to others.
6. Requirements for church membership: salvation and believer’s baptism by immersion.
7. Priesthood of the believer. Each believer is responsible before God to search the Scripture and believe and live accordingly.
8. The two ordinances of the church are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They are not sacraments. A sacrament carries with it the idea of having “saving grace.” We are only saved by personal faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Ordinance - a special command given by Jesus for the church to observe.
9. The elements (unleavened bread & fruit of the vine) of the Lord’s Supper are symbolic, not literal. They are not His literal body, they symbolize Jesus’ body and blood given for us on the cross. The Lord’s Supper is not a sacrifice, it is a memorial service.
10. Missions and Evangelism. We are to go into all the world with the Gospel.
11. Southern Baptists stand against beverage alcohol,*** destructive drugs, and gambling.
12. Our church is a part of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), and the San Jacinto Baptist Association (SJBA).
Baptist doctrine and practice: Baptist Faith & Message, 2000; Church Covenant.*
Good Bible Translations: NKJV, NIV, NASB, HCSB, KJV.
Good Study Bibles: Criswell Study Bible (aka Believer’s Study Bible; Baptist Study Edition); Ryrie Study Bible; Scofield Study Bible.
Keep up with Baptist life by reading the Southern Baptist Texan (texanonline.net) & Baptist Press at bpnews.net.**
* Print copies of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 and the Church Covenant can be obtained from LifeWay. See previous GCP articles on these two statements. We gave copies of these to the deacons and deacon candidates.
** Our deacons are subscribed to the print copy of the Southern Baptist Texan, the state paper of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
*** You may be interested in
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times and other articles on the Bible and alcohol. Find these other articles in lower right margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels). Click the label for Alcohol.
Ancient Wine and the Bible - the book
2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
Books on Calvinism, Predestination
NEXT: The Baptist Deaon (find all Deacon articles in lower right margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 1, AD 2010.