Baptists are distinguished from other Christian groups by specific biblical distinctives. The name baptist identifies people who hold these distinctives.
B – The Bible is our only authority for faith and practice (II Tim. 3:15-16). We reject the authority of tradition (Mark 7:1-23). We stand on the authority of God’s Word alone (Is. 8:20). Whatever the Bible dictates, we, as Baptists accept as true.
A – The Autonomy of the Local Church. The local church is an independent body accountable to Christ, the head of the church (Col. 1:18). All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus Lakeside Baptist Church is a self-governing congregational assembly not aligned with any denomination or obligated to its oversight.
P – The Individual Priesthood of the Believer (I Peter 2:5,9). The New Testament declares that every born-again believer can access the very throne of God through “one Mediator, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim.2:5). Each professing believer is a practicing priest who represents God to man and man to God.
T – Two ordinances are practiced at Lakeside Baptist Church – 1.) Believer’s baptism (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:41; 8:36-38) by immersion and 2.) The Lord’s Supper (I Cor. 11:23-26) as an ongoing remembrance of the sacrifice of the Savior for our sins.
I – Individual Soul Liberty (II Tim. 2:15). Every believer will one day give account for his or her own decisions and actions before the Judgment Seat of Christ (II Cor. 5:10). Therefore we must respect every believer’s right to read, interpret, and practice what is taught in Scripture as he or she lives and walks in the liberties enjoyed through Christ.
S – A Saved Church Membership (Acts 2:41f). Every member of Lakeside Baptist Church must profess Christ as personal Savior (Rom. 10:13).
T – Two offices are respected within the congregation of the New Testament church: the pastor and the deacon (I Tim. 3; Phil. 1:1). We believe that the words pastor, elder, and bishop refer to the same office (I Pet. 5:1-4; Acts 20:17, 28-30).We refer to our elders as pastors, believing that the word pastor is a term of endearment and relationship (Acts 20:28-30), elder a term of respect and authority, and bishop one of administrative position (I Tim. 3:1). Deacons are spiritual men who are servants helping the pastors meet the needs of the church. They serve under the oversight of the pastors and are elected by the congregation (Acts 6:1-7).
S – Separation of Church and State. God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government’s purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1-7 and the church’s purposes in Matthew 28:19 and 20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christians in a free society can properly influence government toward righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government.