New York City is diverse, and its churches are no exception. In a city with many places of worship, what makes Memorial Baptist Church different? In addition to being friendly and welcoming, we have chosen to list here eight things that distinguish us as a church.
God's Word is our sole authority.
In all matters of our faith and daily life, the Bible is our full authority, for it bears the absolute authority of God Himself. No book, opinion, or church decree can usurp the teachings of Scripture. Whatever the Bible dictates, we accept as true. (2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:15-17)
The local church answers directly to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the church. The church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious entity outside the local church may dictate a church’s beliefs or practices. (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 3:20-21)
Every true believer is a priest of God.
As such, we may enter into His presence directly through prayer in the name of our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and His people. (1 Peter 2:9, Hebrews 4:14-16, 1 Timothy 2:5)
Only two ordinances were given to the church.
The local church must keep the following ordinances as delivered to the apostles in the New Testament:
(1) Baptism by immersion for believers who have evidenced “fruit meet for repentance,” picturing the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. (Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:7-8; Acts 8:12)
(2) The Lord’s Supper which commemorates Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins. Participants of the Lord’s Supper must be born again, baptized believers of a local church body. (1 Corinthians 11:2, 23-32)
God does not force people to love, believe, or obey Him.
Whether one is saved or unsaved, he may choose what he will about God and His Word. This liberty, however, does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself. (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 4:2)
Members must be saved and baptized by immersion.
Every member of Memorial Baptist Church must be a born-again believer who has been subsequently baptized by immersion upon evidence of salvation. (Acts 2:41-42, 46-47)
There are only two offices in the church.
These offices are set forth in the New Testament and they are the positions of pastor and deacon. The terms “pastor,” “elder,” and “bishop” or “overseer” all refer to the same office. (1 Timothy 3:1,10; 1 Peter 5:1)
The church is to be separate from the government.
God has established both the church and the civil government, giving each its own distinct jurisdiction. No church or government should control another church, nor should any church control the government. In addition, believers should not be partakers in the ungodly culture of our world. However, they can and should promote righteousness in all areas of living, including submitting to the laws of the land. (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 1:16)