The Baptist Faith & Message is a good summary of the beliefs of the 46,000 churches which make up
the Southern Baptist Convention Great Commission Baptists, but there are 7 “distinctives” that have historically set us apart from other denominations and churches:
Biblical authority, Autonomy of the local church, Priesthood of all believers, Two ordinances (believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper), Individual soul liberty, Separation of Church and State, and Two offices of the church (pastor and deacon)
#4 Two Ordinances: Baptism/Lord’s Supper
#4 (only) Two Ordinances (not sacraments): (believer’s) Baptism (in the biblical since, namely, post-salvation immersion)/Lord’s Supper (as a non-efficacious symbolic remembrance)
The first Christians lived at an exciting time! the book of Acts paints a picture of a growing and thriving body of Believers. Baptists have always believed, in fact in many ways this is THE distinctive for Baptists, that entrance into the community of a local church is through baptism (by immersion, which is redundant, baptism means “immersion”) following, and as a proclamation of, salvation. In the NT, people receive the word of Salvation, then they are baptized, then they participate in church life.
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Jesus commanded the church to perform baptism (Matt 28:18) but he also commands the church to partake of the Lord’s Supper:
…Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes…