The Head of the Church

The BGCT affirms the biblical teaching that Christ is head of the church. This means, among other things, that churches are under the authority of Christ not of the BGCT or any other body.

Since Christ is the head of the church, then church leaders and members should all seek to know the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:5) When we know His mind, i.e. His will, then we know what the members of the body should be doing. We seek, therefore, harmony in the body of Christ as the muscles and limbs move to the rhythm of Christ’s commands.

Because Christ is the head of the church, the BGCT does not instruct a church regarding whom it elects as its leaders. The BGCT affirms a church’s responsibility to select biblically qualified leaders who are called by God to serve so the gospel can be spread to a lost and hurting world. Every person who is called to ministry can and should be encouraged to share Jesus.1

The BGCT honors local church autonomy.2 In recognition of that autonomy, the BGCT does not decide what literature a church will use in its teaching ministry, how the church’s budget will be spent, nor what percentage of its funds will go to the state and/or national conventions.

Because Christ is the one head of the church, all authority has been committed unto Him. No traditions, customs, councils, confessions, or ecclesiastical formularies, however venerable and pretentious, guide Baptists, but simply and solely the will of Christ as revealed in the New Testament.3

The local church, as an autonomous body, operates through democratic processes under the lordship of Christ. In such a congregation members are equally responsible.4

[We] will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
– Ephesians 4:15-16 (NIV)

In [Christ] the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
– Ephesians 2:21-22 (NIV)

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
– Ephesians 1:22-23 (NIV)

  1. Committee on Baptist Integrity letter to Texas pastors 9-01
  2. Officers of the BGCT in Open Letter to Texas Baptists
  3. George W Truett Baptists & Religious Liberty
  4. 1963 Baptist Faith and Message, Article IV The Church