The authority of the Bible
The Bible is described as the ‘Word of God’ because Baptists 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.
It is through the pages of the Bible that we can discover what God is like. In the Bible the good news about God’s love for each of us is clear.
Baptism for Believers
From the example of the New Testament, Baptists claim that baptism is for those who believe and are 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
Baptists 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
Baptists 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.
Baptists believe that churches should not live in isolation from one another but rather be inter-dependent. Our Baptist churches are linked regionally, nationally and internationally for support and fellowship.
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.
Sharing the faith
Baptists believe that each Christian has a duty to share their faith with others. We recognize 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. It was said of the early Baptists that they may disagree with what you say but that they would fight for your right to say it.
Acceptance of differences of outlook and diversity of practice is encouraged within Baptist churches, as well as in our wider world.
We believe in inclusive church – a church which celebrates and affirms every person and does not discriminate against people on grounds of disability, economic power, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, learning disability, mental health, neurodiversity, or sexuality.
We believe in a Church which welcomes and serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ; which is scripturally faithful; which seeks to proclaim the Gospel afresh for each generation; and which, in the power of the Holy Spirit, allows all people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ.