Mainstream Baptists believe in congregational autonomy -- that every local congregation is under the direct Lordship of Christ. We are opposed to ecclesiastical hierarchies. Our churches are not subordinate to the rule of any denomination, convention, association, fellowship or any other religious body. We believe that Christ is in and is the head of every congregation of his people (Matt. 18:20).
Our churches operate democratically because we believe every other form of church government infringes on the Lordship of Christ. Every member is responsible for seeking and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they participate in the deliberations and work of the church. Each member has equal right to voice their convictions and to vote according to their conscience when the congregation makes decisions. We trust the spiritual discernment of the majority and act on it. When we are at our best, we also realize that majorities can be mistaken and act with respect toward the consciences of a sometimes prophetic minority.
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