Many have trouble defining Baptists and Baptists themselves are not always clear about what they represent. But for James R. Graves there was no ambiguity. Graves was a 19th century author and editor of The Tennessee Baptist.

As Baptists, we are to stand for the supreme authority of the New Testament as our only and suffcient rule of faith and practice. The New Testament, and that alone, as opposed to all human tradition in matters, both of faith and practice, we must claim as containing the distinguishing doctrine of our denomination—a doctrine for which we are called earnestly to contend…

As Baptists, we are to stand for the ordinances of Christ as he enjoined them upon his followers, the same in number, in mode, in order, and in symbolic meaning, unchanged and unchangeable till he come …

As Baptists, we are to stand for a spiritual and regenerated church, and that none shall be received into Christ’s church, or be welcomed to its ordinances, without confessing a personal faith in Christ, and giving credible evidence of piety.

The motto on our banner is:

CHRIST BEFORE THE CHURCH, BLOOD BEFORE WATER …

To protest, and to use all our influence against the recognition, on the part of the Baptists, of human societies as scriptural churches, by affiliation, ministerial or ecclesiastical, or any alliance or co-operation that is susceptible of being apparently or logically construed by our members, or theirs, or the world, into a recognition of their ecclesiastical or ministerial equality with Baptist churches …

To preserve and perpetuate the doctrine of the divine origin and sanctity of the churches of Christ, and the unbroken continuity of Christ’s kingdom, “from the days of John the Baptist until now.” according to the express words ...

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