925 West Seventh Street
Ottawa, KS 66067

What's a Baptist?

Although Baptists are a widely diverse group, many Baptists have traditionally held to a set of Biblical principles sometimes called the "Baptist distinctives." We at Calvary hold to these distinctives in our faith and practice. Some verses have been provided at the end of each point for reference.


Biblical Authority:

We believe the Bible is our final authority in all matters relating to life and theology since it is a divine Book inspired by God Himself. Consequently, any other authority - whether a creed, an article of faith, or church leader - cannot overrule the final authority of the Bible. (See 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; and 2 Peter 1:20, 21.)


Autonomy of the Local Church:

We believe the local church is an independently operating body beneath the direct headship of the Lord Jesus Christ that is uniquely responsible both for appointing its officers and leaders and for determining its doctrine and practices. Independence should not be equated with complete separation, however. As an independent Baptist church, we may fellowship with other churches of like faith and practice to achieve a common goal. (See Colossians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23.)


Priesthood of the Believer:

We believe that all Christians have direct access to the throne of God without a human mediator through the sacrifice of our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. As priests, we can read and interpret the Bible for ourselves, pray for others, and worship God. (See 1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 5:9, 10.)


Two Ordinances:

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ordained two ordinances: baptism and communion. Baptism by immersion is a symbolic event through which a believer identifies with Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is a ceremony remembering His death that we observe in obedience to His expressed command. (See Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 1:23-32.)


Individual Soul Liberty:

We believe that each person has the right to determine what is truth in the realm of religion without coersion from government or other religious leaders. Nevertheless, this right does not mean a person is unaccountable to God or free from the standards of truth defined in the Bible. (See Romans 14:5, 12; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Titus 1:9.)


Saved, Baptized Church Membership:

We believe that church membership is Biblically restricted to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who have been baptized by immersion following their salvation. (See Acts 2:41-6; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 4:3.)


Two Offices:

We believe that God has ordained two offices of leadership within the structure of the local church: the pastor - sometimes called "elder," "bishop," or "overseer" - and the deacon. Furthermore, we believe both these offices are Biblically restricted to men appointed by the local church without external influence. (See 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Acts 20:17-38; Philippians 1:1.)


Separation of Church and State:

We believe that both church and government are institutions ordained by God for different purposes. The purpose of government is to restrain evil-doers as outlined in Romans 13:1-7. The role of the church is to make disciples of all nations and teach the truth of God's Word as described in Matthew 28:19-20. The state should not control the church, and the church should not control the state; however, believers are encouraged to exercise whatever influence over civil government they may have as responsible citizens. (See Matthew 22:15-22; Acts 15:17-29.)