The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Edward T. Hiscox
From The Baptist Short Method, 1868
1. The Bible is our only guide, source of knowledge, and standard of authority in matters of religion. Whatever is taught in the Scriptures is to be believed; whatever is there enjoined, is to be obeyed. And what is there neither enjoined nor taught is not to be imposed on the faith or conscience of any man as of religious obligation.
2. The right of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures. Every man has the right to read and explain the Bible for himself, being responsible to God alone for the correct interpretation of the sacred Word.
3. Freedom of conscience. Everyone has the right to hold such religious opinions as he may believe the Bible teaches, without hindrance or dictation from any; so long as he does not intrude upon, or interfere with the rights and privileges of others by so doing.
4. Liberty of speech. All men possess the right, not only to believe, but also to profess and declare openly and without fear or harm, whatever religious opinions they may entertain, provided they are not contrary to common morality.
5. The right of worship. Every man has a right to worship God, according to the dictates of his own conscience, and the Word of God, as he understands it, without hindrance or molestation; so long as he does not injure or interfere with the rights of others.
6. Civil governments, rulers, and magistrates are to be respected, and in all temporal matters, not contrary to conscience and the Word of God, are to be obeyed. But they have no jurisdiction in spiritual concerns, and have no right of dictation, control, or interference in matters of religious faith and godliness; but are in duty bound to protect all citizens in the uninterrupted enjoyment of their religious privileges.
7. The Christian Church is independent of all human authority, and under law to Christ alone. It neither ought, nor of right can have any organic connection with the state; and for kings, princes, or priests to claim headship over it, is a usurpation of divine prerogatives and treason against God.
8. None but regenerated persons are to be, or properly can be, members of the church of Christ, which is a spiritual body and separate from the world.
9. Pastors are not to be imposed upon churches, nor taken from them, without their consent; but are to be chosen by them without constraint, as by free men in Christ, who have a right to the choice of their religious teachers.
10. Christ is the only lawgiver in his church. Consequently the churches cannot make laws for themselves, but only execute those which he has given. Nor can any man, or body of men, legislate for the church. The New Testament alone is its statute book, by which, without change, the body of Christ is to govern itself.