In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity
Baptists are a people who profess a living faith. This faith is rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ who is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Therefore, we affirm that the sole authority for faith and practice is Jesus Christ, whose will is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
We affirm the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, but we do not worship the Bible; we worship the Savior revealed in the Bible and seek to follow Him. We affirm that every person has a right and a responsibility to read the Scriptures, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, to interpret them for him/herself. We also affirm that our goal is to discern the meaning of the Scriptures, relying on the historical understanding by the church and using the best Biblical scholarship available. Our ultimate goal is to discover the mind of Christ.
We affirm there is one and only one living and true God; that He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe; that He is infinite in holiness and all other perfections; that we owe Him the highest love, reverence, and obedience; and that the eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We affirm that man was created by the special act of God, in His own image, male and female created He them; that only the grace of God can bring men and women into His holy fellowship and enable them to fulfill the creative purposes of God; that human life is sacred.
We affirm that salvation involves the redemption of the whole person, and is offered freely by His grace to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer.
We affirm that a New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local body of baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel, observing Christ’s ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, committed to His teachings, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His word, and seeking to extend the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
We also affirm the autonomy of the local church with each congregation operating through democratic processes under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the freedom of the local church under the authority of Jesus Christ to shape its own life and mission, call its own leadership, and ordain whomever it perceives as gifted for ministry.
We moreover affirm the servant role of leadership within the church, following the model of our Servant Lord, and the full partnership of all of God’s people in mission and ministry.
Evangelism and Missions
We affirm that it is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and the calling of God to all peoples to repentance and faith.
We affirm that the cause of Christian education is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches; and that theological education in congregations, colleges and seminaries should be characterized by reverence for Biblical authority and respect for open inquiry and responsible scholarship.
We affirm that God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; that all we have we owe to Him; that every believer is under obligation to serve Christ with his/her time, talents, and material possessions; that according to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We affirm that the Baptist mode of baptism is the immersion of the believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; that it is symbolic of the believer’s faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and of the believer’s death to sin, burial of the old life, and resurrection to walk in a new life with Christ Jesus; that it is an act of testimony to the faith of the believer in the final resurrection of the dead.
We affirm the Lord’s Supper to be a symbolic act of obedience whereby believers through partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His return.
We affirm that God in His own time and way will bring the world to its appropriate end; that, according to His promise, Jesus Christ shall return personally and visible in glory to the earth; and the dead shall rise and Christ will judge all persons in righteousness.
We affirm that God alone is Lord of the conscience, and that He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of human governments which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it; that a free church in a free state is the Christian ideal; that this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all persons, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.