Baptist Statement Of Faith
By Edward T. Hiscox (1814-1901)
Proposition I. The Bible is a Divine Revelation given of God to men,
and is a
complete and infallible guide and standard of authority in all matters
of religion and morals; whatever it teaches is to be Delivered, and
whatever it commands is to be obeyed; whatever it commends is to be
accepted as both right and useful; whatever it condemns is to be
avoided as both wrong and hurtful; but what it neither commands nor
teaches is not to be imposed on the conscience as of religious
Proposition II. The New Testament is the constitution of Christianity,
charter of the Christian Church, the only authoritative code of
ecclesiastical law, and the warrant and justification of all Christian
institutions. In it alone is life and immortality brought to light, the
way of escape from wrath revealed, and all things necessary to
salvation made plain; while its messages are a gospel of peace on earth
and of hope to a lost world.
Proposition III. Every man by nature possesses the right of private
in the interpretation of the Scriptures, and in all religious concerns;
it is his privilege to read and explain the Bible for himself, without
dictation from, or dependence on, any one, being responsible to God
alone for his use of the sacred truth.
Proposition IV. Every man has the right to hold such religious opinions
believes the Bible teaches. Without harm or hindrance from any one on
that account, so long as he does not intrude upon, or interfere with,
the rights of others by so doing.
Proposition V. All men have the right, not only to believe, but also to
profess and openly declare, whatever religious opinions they may
entertain, providing they be not contrary to common morality, and do no
injustice to others.
Proposition VI. All men possess the common right to worship God
the teachings of the Scriptures, as they understand them, without
hindrance or molestation, so long as they do not injure or interfere
with the rights of others by so doing.
Proposition VII. Civil governments, rulers and magistrates are to be
respected, and in all temporal matters, not contrary to conscience and
the word of God, to be obeyed; but they have no jurisdiction in
spiritual concerns, and have no right of dictation to, of control over,
or of interference with, matters of religion; but are bound to protect
all good citizens in the peaceable enjoyment of their religious rights
Proposition VIII. No organic union of Church and State should be
but entire separation maintained: The Church should neither ask for,
nor accept of, support from civil authority, since to do so would imply
the right of civil dictation and control. The support of religion
belongs to those who profess it.
Proposition IX. Christian men are to be good and law-abiding citizens,
sustaining and defending the government under which they live, in all
things not contrary to conscience and the word of God; while such
government is bound to protect them in the full enjoyment of all their
rights and privileges, both civil and religious.
Proposition X. Religion is to be free and voluntary, both as to faith,
worship and service; neither conformity to, nor support of; religion in
any form, should be compulsory. Christian faith and practice are
matters of conscience and personal choice, and not subject to official
dictation; and for either civil or ecclesiastical authority to enforce
conformity, punish dissent, or compel the support of any form of
worship, is a crime against the rights of man, an assumption of divine
prerogatives, and treason against Christ, the only Lord of the
conscience and sovereign of the soul.
Proposition XI. None but regenerated persons ought to be, or properly
members of a Christian Church, which is a spiritual body separate from
the world and distinct from the state, and to be composed of spiritual
Proposition XII. Pastors are not to be imposed on churches nor taken
them without their consent; but are to be chosen by them, each for
itself, at its own option, as by free men in Christ, who have a right
to the choice and election of their religious teachers.
Proposition XIII. Christ is the only Head over, and Lawgiver to, His
churches. Consequently the churches cannot make laws, but only execute
those which He has given. Nor can any man, or body of men legislate for
the churches. The New Testament alone is their statute book, by which,
without change, the body of Christ is to govern itself.
From Principles and Practices
for Baptist Churches by Edward T. Hiscox