“That view has normally been sustained down through the centuries, with ultimate responsibility for decisions resting not with pastors or deacons but with the committed church members as a whole.  The churchmanship of the Baptists was not unique, for it was upheld as fully by Independents, but it was an unusual position in Christendom, arising from Baptists’ belief in a regenerate church membership.”

David Bebbington, Baptists Through The Centuries, p. 178.