“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;” (Ephesians 2:19-20)
As a minister, one of the frequent questions I am asked is “Why are there so many different denominations? Aren’t they all basically the same?” The answer is “yes.” Coming from me, this answer might surprise you somewhat because Berean Baptist is definitely not the same as most churches. Strictly speaking, we do not even belong to a denomination. We are an autonomous, independent church with no other head than the Lord Jesus Christ. We are quite different because we still hold to historic Baptist doctrines that have been faithfully taught all the way back to the time of Christ. We do not claim to be Protestants because we predate the Protestant Reformation. We certainly do not claim to be Catholic because our history goes back to Christ, not to the wedding of apostate churches to the secular government.
This makes us very different because in the past 150 years not only have Protestants retreated from the doctrines that made them so different from Roman Catholicism, but most Baptist churches have as well. The result is a melding of doctrines to the point denominational lines are blurred which has produced generic Christianity that looks very much the same no matter what the name over the door. Now, there is unity, which many have strived for, but the unity is much different than the desire expressed by Jesus and the apostles. The basis for unity according to scripture must be correct doctrine whereas the modern church movement seeks to remove any doctrines that would divide.
Berean Baptist is not opposed to unity. However, we are opposed to unity if the price is the truth of scripture. To us, the name “Baptist” means something. We maintain the historical doctrines of the faith. Our name “Berean” is a scriptural name taken from Acts 17:11 and those people in the city of Berea who searched the scriptures daily to determine whether doctrines taught by Paul were actually true. When they had examined scripture and found that Paul spoke truth, they gladly believed. We seek to do no less at Berean. We test every teaching by the Word and if it does not match we go no further. If this makes us different, so be it.
So, who is right and who is wrong? This can only be determined by the Berean method of Acts 17:11. Anything less may turn out to be a fun fellowship, but it is not the same as the church built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone.
Pastor V. Mark Smith