What do We Believe?
Baptists trace their lineage all the way back to the early church as a movement earnestly seeking to remain true to the Bible. Our approach to the Bible is simple—if the plain sense makes sense, don’t look for any other sense. It means that we take the Bible literally rather than allegorically. We study it in the context of the ancient cultures, then tease out universal, timeless principles and apply them to life in the 21st century.
We have come to cherish five basic New Testament truths that are foundational to what we believe. These are the basis for fellowship with other believers. They are what you might call “non-negotiable.”
- The virgin birth of Jesus Christ
- His sinless life
- His substitutionary, atoning death on the cross
- His bodily resurrection from the grave
- The inerrant Scriptures which testify to his life
There are other denominations holding to these “fundamentals,” so what distinguishes Baptists from them? Here are the basic seven:
- The Bible as our sole authority for faith and practice—not tradition.
- The autonomy of the local church—no denominational hierarchy.
- Priesthood of every believer—no cleric stands between a believer and his God.
- Two ordinances, baptism and Lord’s table, which are not sacraments. They do not impart grace. They are symbols and remembrances.
- Two offices—pastors or elders, and deacons.
- Separation of church and state. We do not permit the state to dictate matters of faith and conscience. Nor we do dictate to one another. This is a subset called “soul liberty,” meaning each of us will give account of ourselves to God, not each other.
- Regenerate church membership—we work very hard at making sure those who join the body are indeed authentic believers in the Jesus Christ of the Bible.