What we believe
As a church family we are part of Baptists Together and the
Southern Counties Baptist Association, one of 13 that make up
Baptists Together. Although all Baptist churches are
independent and have the right to determine thier own affairs
and how to interpret scripture for themselves,
there are some key elements of faith that we all agree with.
The Lordship of Christ
Baptists affirm that 'Jesus is Lord'. He is Lord over our individual lives, the life of each church, and the life of the whole world.
Authority of the Bible
The Bible is described as the 'word of God', Baptists believe that its writers were inspired by God's spirit. As such, it has authority on what we believe and how we live our life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sharing the faith
Baptists 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 Baptist churches, as well as in our wider world.
Baptists hold very strongly to the idea of covenant. When becoming a member of a local Baptist church the individual and the wider congregation covenant together to 'be visible saints, watching over one another and walking in the ways of the Lord', as the early Baptists put it. There are roughly 2200 Baptist Churches in The Baptist Union of Great Britian (known as Baptists Together) and we all covenant together to do the same. We are held together not by a statement of faith, but by a declaration of principle, which is:
The Declaration of Principle
The Basis of the Baptist Union is:
1. 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.
2. That Christian Baptism is the immersion in water into the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 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'.
3. 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.