The Autonomy of Baptist Local Churches and its Implications

Babalola-Jacobs Akintoye
Keywords: Baptist, Autonomy, social, transformation, morality
Tropical Journal of Arts and Humanities 2021 3(1), 44-50. Published: February 28, 2021


Abstract

The question of local church autonomy has always been critical to the issue of church administration and governance as local churches are often time subjected to the obnoxious control of external ecclesiastical authorities. This study aims at examining the autonomy of Baptist local churches from historical and biblical perspectives and the implications for the church, particularly in terms of its leadership/governance and relationship with others. The study is carried out using the historical and analytical methods. The study establishes that the autonomy of local churches has biblical basis and there are numerous documents of the Baptist Convention that have since gazetted the autonomy of the local church in line with the biblical principle. However, the study noted that some of the members of the church abuse the use of their church autonomy because there is no greater body to which they are accountable. It recommends therefore, that while the autonomy of the local church should be upheld for effective administration that reflects democratic principles, there should be internal mechanisms to check the tendencies of members to abuse their local autonomy, particularly in mistreating the clergy in charge of the local church.