Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches (a Contemporary Ecclesiology)
by Glen H. Jones
As the title suggests, Hammett begins by discussing the biblical foundation of the church. The "Ekklesia is in fact the group of men called out of the world by God " The church referred to is both a local group of believers and the world-wide company of those who have received Christ as Savior. The New Testament refers to this body of believers as "the people of God" and "the body of Christ." Baptists conclude that the church is a local, autonomous group of believers under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, who voluntarily choose to fellowship with others. Baptist churches usually celebrate two ordinances: baptism (by immersion) and the Lord's Table (Communion) commemorating the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Most Baptist churches practice congregational government, and Hammett provides an excellent discussion on qualifications for pastors, elders, and deacons. Included are comments on divorce, as it applies to pastors and deacons. The author's burden is to call Baptists back to their historical and biblical roots. Believers are called to be holy. Those who bring disrepute on the church should be dealt with by church discipline. Business as usual will not win our neighbors or the world to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.