The Supreme Authority of the Bible
The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.
We acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God and government of the Church which are common to human actions and societies and which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
Thomas Helwys (1611)
Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, given by Christ, to be dispersed only upon persons professing faith. The way and manner of dispensing this Ordinance the Scripture holds to be dipping or plunging the whole body under water. Is is a sign as follows: first, the washing of the whole Soul in the blood of Christ; second, the interest that the Saints have in the death, burial and resurrection; third, a confirmation of our faith that as certainly as the body is buried under water and rises again, so certainly shall the bodies of the Saints be raised by the power of Christ, in the day of resurrection, to reign with Christ.
The London Confession (1644)
Local Church Autonomy
Each particular church has a complete power and authority from Jesus Christ to administer all gospel ordinances, provided they have sufficient, duly qualified officers …to receive in and cast out, and also to try and ordain their own officers, and to exercise every part of gospel discipline and church government, independent of any other church or assembly whatever. Several independent churches where Providence gives them a convenient situation, may and ought for their mutual strength, counsel, and other valuable advantages, by their voluntary and free consent, to enter into an agreement and confederation.
Benjamin Griffiths (1746)
Preaching and Evangelism
The work of the Christian ministry, it has been said, is to preach the gospel, or to hold up the free grace of God through Jesus Christ, as the only way of a sinner’s salvation. This is doubtless true; and if this be not the leading theme of our ministrations, we had better be anything than preachers. Woe unto us, if we preach not the gospel! It will not be denied that the apostles preached the gospel: yet they warned, admonished, and intreated sinners to re pent and believe; to believe while they had the light; to labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life; to repent and be converted, that their sins might be blotted out; to come to the marriage-supper, for that all things were ready: in fine, to be reconciled unto God.
Andrew Fuller (1785)
Separation of Church and State
As religion must always be a matter between God and individuals, no man can be made a member of a truly religious society by force or without his own consent, neither can any corporation that is not a religious society have a just right to govern in religious affairs.
Isaac Backus (1781)
Copyright © 1985 by the author or Christianity Today/Christian History magazine.
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