What We Believe
In our beliefs we stand fully with other Christian denominations and traditions upholding the central tenets of the Christian faith. Baptists have always stood for freedom of conscience in matters of faith and belief (for all religions, not just Christian) and favoured a worship style that is simple and accessible. The name ‘Baptist’ came about because of an emphasis on believers’ baptism. When people come to personal faith in Christ we believe the Bible teaches that this is the appropriate point and way to make a public profession of faith. These services are always very special occasions.
We are part of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. As such we believe the basis of the Baptist Union which is:
- That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that each Church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His laws.
- That Christian Baptism is the immersion in water into the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, of those who have professed repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ who 'died for our sins according to the Scriptures; was buried, and rose again the third day'.
- That it is the duty of every disciple to bear personal witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to take part in the evangelisation of the world.
Every Baptist church is independent and autonomous so beliefs may vary but the following are common Baptist beliefs:
- The Lordship of Christ
- The authority of the Bible
- A Believers Church
- The priesthood of all believers
- Church members and church meetings
- Sharing the faith
- Religious Freedom
The Lordship of Christ
We affirm that 'Jesus is Lord'. He is Lord over our individual lives, the life of each church, and the life of the whole world.
The authority of the Bible
The Bible is described as the 'Word of God' because we believe that its writers were inspired by God's Spirit. As such, it has authority to guide both what we believe and how we live our lives. Baptism for Believers From the example of the New Testament, Baptists claim that baptism is for those who believe and able to declare that Jesus is Lord. As a symbol of Jesus' claim on our lives, baptism by immersion is practised, representing a desire to die to self and to live for Christ.
A Believers Church
We understand the church as a community of believers gathered in the name of Jesus Christ for worship, witness and service. There is no set Baptist liturgy. Each local church and community is free to determine its own pattern, though prayer and praise, listening and reflecting on scripture, and sharing Holy Communion will always be central.
The priesthood of all believers
We believe that everyone that attends a Baptist church has a role to play and can use their God-given skills and talents for the good of the church and the community. These gifts include teaching, evangelism, social action, pastoral care, prayer, healing, taking part in worship, administration or hospitality.
Church members and church meetings
When a person is baptised in a Baptist church, they normally become a church member. Church members are called to prayerfully discern God's will for their shared life. Final authority does not rest with the ministers, deacons or any other local, national or international body, but with the members meeting together under God's guidance. Church meetings will make significant appointments including ministers, and agree financial policy and mission.
We believe that churches should not live in isolation from one another but rather be inter-dependent. Baptist churches are linked regionally, nationally and internationally for support and fellowship.
Sharing the faith
We believe that each Christian has a duty to share their faith with others. We recognise that mission is not just evangelism, but also includes promoting justice, social welfare, healing, education and peace in the world.
Religious freedom for all has always been a keystone of Baptist understanding. Acceptance of differences of outlook and diversity of practice is encouraged within our church, as well as in our wider world.