Why not just "Christian"?
Perhaps one might wonder why we do not simply stop at identifying ourselves as "Christians." Why the need for all the labels and categories? As you will read below, most of these different categories have arrived in response to error; individuals came along who claimed to be teaching the true faith, when really they were not. Jesus Himself warned of false teachers who would masquerade like they were really His followers (Matt 7:15-20; Mark 13:22), so we must be more discerning than to simply accept at face value that the word "Christian" means the same thing to everyone who uses it.
Now, not all of these categories provide differences between Christians and non-Christians--some of them are differences between Christians who both believe the same fundamental gospel, but disagree on secondary matters. So, who is Quinault Baptist Church? We are...
Jesus told His disciples: "“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me," (Mark 8:34). We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah, King, and Savior of the World. Through His obedient life, atoning death on the cross, and resurrection He has made a way for sinners to be saved. All who desire to be saved from their sins should turn from their sins, trust in Jesus Christ and His work for the forgiveness of their sins, and follow the path of obedience that Jesus has laid out in His Word, the Bible.
(Image: "The Crucifixion" by Bartolomé Estebán Murillo)
Not to be confused with the Greek or Russian Orthodox Church, by claiming we are "orthodox" (lit. "correct belief") Christians means that we affirm the early church's councils and creeds, such as the Apostolic, Nicene, Athanasian, and Chalcedonian creeds. These creeds were formed by many Christians within the first five centuries of the church as a way of guarding central doctrines regarding the gospel, the Trinity, and the person of Christ.
(Image: Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine, accompanied by the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325), holding the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381)
Throughout the Medieval Ages there was a great poverty of gospel preaching in the churches. Thus the Roman church wandered greatly from the Bible and its teachings in much of its doctrine and practice. In the 1500's the Reformation took place to recover the classic and traditional role of the Bible as the sole authority for the church and the clarity of justification by faith alone. We affirm that our highest authority is Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura), that we are saved by Christ alone (Sola Christus), by grace alone (Sola Gratia), through faith alone (Sola Fida), to the glory of God alone (Soli Deo Gloria).
(Image: Martin Luther, the pioneer Reformer, at the Diet of Worms)
Shortly after the Reformation there was a split in Protestant teaching regarding God's sovereignty over human affairs, the effects of sin on man's capacities, the role of God in conversion, the conditions upon which God elects individuals unto salvation, the extent of Christ's atonement, and the question regarding whether or not a Christian may lose their salvation. Some challenged the classic teaching that came out of the Reformed church, emphasizing the freedom of men's will and the limitations on God's sovereign work. The Reformed churches, theological descendants of John Calvin, produced the Canons of Dort as a way of guarding the classic doctrines of grace from being misunderstood. We stand in broad agreement with much of the Reformed tradition, greatly enriched and guided by the their best confessions and catechisms, but not conscience bound in every point of doctrine they espouse (ex. infant baptism).
(Image: John Calvin, the Genevan Reformer and father to the Reformed tradition)
As the Reformation continued to mature, many Protestants began to scrutinize certain practices that were still common in the church but lacked sufficient Biblical support, such as: infant baptism, the union of church and state, the hierarchy of the church, and unregenerate church membership. Baptists argued that these were relics of the Roman church and that the New Testament teaches that one should first believe the gospel then be baptized and thus that membership in the local church should be reserved for those who are genuinely born-again--not simply the children of believers. Baptists also argued that the Bible teaches that it is a local congregation--not a hierarchy of bishops or presbyteries--that compose a church. Further, Baptists argued that human government ought not coerce membership into the local church, but the gospel should be received and believed in freely. Thus Baptists have always been champions of religious liberty and the autonomy of each congregation. Our church is associated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
(Image: Adoniram Judson, the first Baptist missionary from America, baptizes his first Burmese convert)
As America entered the 20th century Christians faced a growing sense of hostility from the academic and cultural elites of the day. In an effort to curry favor with these elites most major denominations began to drift doctrinally, seeking to alter their faith (and their Bibles) to fit with modern sensibilities regarding science, morality, and history. A number of pastors who firmly rejected this posture, known as "Fundamentalists", responded by practicing a form of quasi-cultural/intellectual-monasticism. They separated themselves entirely from every form of culture and faith that did not meet their strict moral and Biblical standards, often to extreme--even at times un-Biblical--ends. A group of Christians at the middle of the century, however, sought to provide robust arguments to correct the errors of the mainline denominations while avoiding the isolationism and anti-intellectualism of the Fundamentalists. This movement became known as "Evangelicalism"--taken from the Greek word euangelion, which means "gospel, good news." It was a movement that sought to center itself on the gospel, guard the inerrancy of the Bible, engage culture, practice piety, share the good news of Jesus, and provide serious theological training to Christians. (Unfortunately, this term has recently been used almost strictly in a political sense to describe a voting demographic that loosely identifies as politically conservative Christians)
(Image: Carl F. H. Henry and Billy Graham, two of the leading voices in early Evangelicalism)
For a fuller description of the particular doctrines our church believes read our statement of faith.