Why I Am A Baptist
We live in a day where people are hesitant to associate themselves with a name or a term. It seems that people nowadays are proud to be "independent" minds. I met a man at a book sale once who I struck up a little conversation with as we dug through boxes of books. I said something about an R.G. Lee book I saw. He had never heard of him, and I told him he was a great pastor, preacher, and president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He didn't seem too impressed, and asked me if I was a Southern Baptist. I replied that I was a Baptist, but I was an Independent Baptist and not a Southern Baptist. He did a little shrug and said that he was just an "Independent".
The fact is I am a Baptist for many reasons, not just because it is the way I was raised. I am not a Baptist just because I went to a school with "Baptist" on the sign. I am not a Baptist because it is the popular thing to, because it is much more popular to be unaffiliated with any particular denomination.
I am a Baptist because I choose to be. I could and would be anything else if I felt it were right. However, I am convinced that the Baptist teachings are the closest to what the Bible teaches.
Let me give you a few reasons as to why I have chosen to be a Baptist:
1. I believe that the traditional Baptist doctrines are the closest to the Bible.
When I look around at other denominations or sects of Christians, there are many problems that come to my eye. Groups and individuals have chosen to ignore clear teachings of the Bible. For example, some groups believe that salvation is through being baptized, not through faith in Christ. I do not find this in the Bible, so I cannot be associated with those groups.
2. What I believe is what the Baptists believe.
I know its very similar to the previous point, but it is really quite different. I don't hold to certain beliefs because I am a Baptist, I am a Baptist because I hold certain beliefs. The doctrines that I have become convinced are true just happen to be what the Baptists have proclaimed for years.
3. I am convinced that the Baptist doctrines are the closest to the Early Church.
In my study of Church History, I have become convinced that church in the book of Acts held essentially the same beliefs that the Baptists do. I know that there is a tendency by some to rewrite history to make it people appear whichever way they want. I have attempted to be objective, which people who disagree with me will accuse me of not doing.
4. I am convinced that Baptist teachings are closest to the Bible's teaching.
I will readily admit that it is impossible to find two people who agree 100% on what the Bible teaches, however as a whole I find the traditional teachings of the Baptists to be in line with the teachings of the Bible. Whether it is on church government, salvation, or whatever else, the Baptist doctrines are based on the clear teachings of scripture, and not on tradition, opinion, etc.
5. The enemies of the Baptists have tended to be groups or individuals that I don't agree with either.
I have heard it said that you can tell a lot about someone by who their enemies are. The enemies of the Baptists have been groups, secular and religious, that I think very low of. For instance, the Catholics have always been antagonists of the Baptists, and I personally find very little in the Catholic church that I agree with.
6. The legacy of Baptists and their leaders is a proud heritage.
While I will admit that Baptists don't have a monopoly on truth or great men of God. Nonetheless, their's is a proud history. The roll of great Baptist leaders is an impressive one, and the list of accomplishments is also.
I am aware that these few, brief reasons are not groundbreaking. It has been my intention here to give a few reasons why I am a Baptist without getting into particulars on doctrines and such. I am sure I could come up with more, and could go deeper into the ones given, but this is not the time or place. Maybe in the future I can put something more substantial together.