What do Baptists believe? Every Baptist church is independent and autonomous so it varies, but the following are common Baptist beliefs which we subscribe to.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In common with orthodox Christianity through the ages, we understand the three Persons to be one God: perfectly good, loving, holy, and eternal. We recognise Jesus Christ as God the Son coming as one of us.
The Lordship of Christ. ‘Jesus is Lord’. He has authority over our individual lives, the life of the church, and the life of the whole world. It is each church’s responsibility to follow the Lord’s guidance by the Holy Spirit.
The authority of the Bible. It is the Word of God, its writers inspired by God’s Spirit. As such, it has authority to guide both what we believe and how we live our lives.
Believers’ baptism. From the example of the New Testament, we find that baptism is for those who believe and are able to accept and declare that Jesus is Lord. We baptise by full immersion.
A believers’ church. We understand the church as a family of believers gathered in Jesus’ name for worship, witness and service. There is no set Baptist liturgy. Each local church and community is free to determine its own pattern, through prayer and praise, listening to and reflecting on scripture. Regularly sharing bread and wine, as Jesus told us to do, will always be central.
The priesthood of all believers. We believe that everyone who attends 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, hospitality, and more.
Church membership. When a person is baptised they normally become a church member. The members’ meeting is the key decision-making body of the church. Final authority rests there; not with the ministers, deacons, or any other body.
Interdependence of churches. We believe that churches should not live in isolation from one another but rather connect relationally as God’s big family. Baptist churches are linked together regionally, nationally, and internationally.
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, fairness, healing, education, and peace in the world.
Religious freedom. Freedom for all has been a key Baptist emphasis since the earliest days. We accept differences of outlook and diversity of practice within churches as well as in our wider world.