Baptists do not have a central governing authority, and Baptist beliefs are not completely consistent from one Baptist church to another. However, Baptists do hold some common beliefs among almost all Baptist churches.
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These would include beliefs about one God, the virgin birth, the impeccability, miracles, vicarious atoning death, burial and bodily resurrection of Christ, the need for salvation (although the understanding of means for achieving it may differ at times), divine grace, the Church, the Kingdom of God, last things (Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge everyone in righteousness), evangelism and missions.
- Biblical authority (Matt 24:35; 1Pet 1:23; 2Tim 3:16-3:17)
- Autonomy of the local church (Matt 18:15-18:17; 1Cor 6:1-6:3)
- Priesthood of all believers (1Pet 2:5-2:9; 1Tim 2:5)
- Two ordinances (believer's baptism and the Lord's Supper) (Acts 2:41-2:47; 1Cor 11:23-11:32)
- Individual soul liberty (Rom 14:5-14:12)
- Saved and Baptized church membership (Acts 2:41–2:47; 1Cor 12:12; 2Cor 6:14; Eph 4:3)
- Two offices of the church (pastor and deacon) (1Tim 3:1-3:13)
Baptists practice believer's baptism and the Lord's Supper (communion) as the two acts of faith-obedience to the example and commands given by Christ for Christians (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Most Baptists call them "ordinances" (meaning "obedience to a command that Christ has given us") instead of "sacraments" (activities God uses to impart salvation or a means of grace to the participant). Therefore, historic Baptist theology considers that no saving grace is conveyed by either ordinance and that original sin is not washed away in baptism. Baptists have traditionally believed that they are symbols.
Most Baptists hold their services and worship on Sunday. However, there is a group known as the Seventh Day Baptists whose origins are derived from Anabaptism and the pre-Reformation. Seventh Day Baptists gather and worship on the seventh day of the week on Saturday. A large portion of Seventh Day Baptists adopted the teachings of the Sabbath, which led to the formation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Baptists are also viewed as the descendants of the Puritans who were shaped by the Anabaptists, thus the Baptist religion were considered an outcome of the Reformation. In the early 17th century, those individuals who called themselves Baptists broke apart from the Church of England. Some notable Puritan separatists included John Smyth and Thomas Helwys who were acknowledged as key founders of the Baptist denomination.
Furthermore, some Baptists (notably Landmarkians) hold to a belief in perpetuity, which embraces the notion that the Baptist belief existed since the time of Christ until today as the Church of Christ founded in Jerusalem was Baptist. Those who believe in perpetuity view the Baptist belief as not being a critical aspect of the Protestant Reformation. .
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- Benedict, David (1848). A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America and Other Parts of the World. Lewis Colby. p. 325.
It is, however, well known by the community at home and abroad, that from a very early period they have been divided into two parties, which have been denominated General and Particular, which differ from each other mainly in their doctrinal sentiments; the Generals being Arminians, and the other, Calvinists.
- Cummins, David L. This Day in Baptist History 2. Greenville, SC: BJU Press, 2000.
- Roberts, Dr. E. Al (2011). A Disparity in Doctrine and Theology: Baptist Versus Mormon Doctrine and Theology. WestBow Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-1449712112.
- Sacrament versus Ordinance - Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS)
- "Lutherans and Baptists: What is the difference between confessional Lutheran beliefs and the beliefs of Baptists?". WELS. 2015-03-09. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
- Crowley, John (1998). Primitive Baptists of the Winegrass South 1815-present. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1640-1. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- Cassada, Mary Eva (June 8, 1991). "'Primitive' rituals are few, simple". The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. p. 12. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Eisenstadt, Todd (August 21, 1987). "Baptist Group Looks To The Old, New". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Leo., Garrett, James (2009). Baptist theology : a four-century study (1st ed.). Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press. ISBN 9780881461299. OCLC 223853668.