A popular Baptist quote from years gone by says that Baptists “have no creed but Christ!” When we speak of Baptist beliefs it is important to understand first that Baptists are a “non-creedal” people. We emphasize the freedom and the responsibility of every individual to relate to God without the imposition of human creeds. Our goal is simply to know the mind and spirit of Christ revealed in scripture and experienced through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We are a Christ-centered, Bible-focused people.
We affirm that Christ is Lord over the believer, He is Lord over the church, and He is Lord of all that is. Jesus Christ is the final authority in our individual lives, in our homes, in our churches, and in all our relationships with society and the world. Our ultimate loyalty and allegiance is to God's Person, not to books, creeds, confessions, traditions, programs or procedures.
At the same time it is important to say that Baptists affirm the historical doctrinal beliefs of the church. Those faith statements are expressed in such historic creeds of the church as the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed, what we might call “first order” beliefs—the core doctrinal beliefs of Christianity. These affirmations lift up the Triune character of God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Jesus as the only begotten Son of God who is Lord and Savior born of a virgin, living a life of complete faithfulness to God, suffering and dying on the cross for us and for our salvation. He was buried and arose on the third day, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God ever interceding for his own. Through him we have forgiveness of sin and peace with God as we come to him in repentance and faith. We affirm the Holy Spirit as the living presence of God with us making real the things of Christ in the life of the believer and empowering the church of Jesus Christ for the living of these days. We believe that the church is the Body of Christ and that all of God’s people are called and gifted by the Holy Spirit to serve and love our Lord and give witness to his saving love for all the world. The promise of God’s Word is that one day we will be united in God’s presence through Jesus who is Lord of the living and the dead. These central beliefs are the core of our faith.
What’s So Special About Baptists?
What makes us unique as Baptists are distinctive in that have to do with the way we understand the church and the role of the individual in the church. First Baptist Church is rooted in this particular history we know as “Baptist.” We are centered in the Bible and celebrate a personal faith affirming the integrity of the individual in matters of faith & practice. We practice “Believer’s Baptism” by immersion and we are committed to religious liberty for all people. Our mission is focused in the local church and united with other Baptists and Christians where we make common cause to accomplish the work God seeks to do through us. We are engaged in mission and evangelism, open to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit who empowers us for mission and service.
We Are A Church Expressing Our Heritage In A Unique Way
At First Baptist Church we affirm the historic Baptist principle of Congregational Autonomy through which Baptist congregations are able to express our heritage in a way that does not compromise the historic beliefs of the church but in which we are faithful to the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst. We practice open membership which means that any believer from another Christian community desiring membership in our church whose baptism is by a means other than immersion may join our church without re-baptism if their prior baptismal experience is meaningful for them as their public witness to faith in Christ and their belonging to the Body of Christ, the Church. For those who come making a first time profession of faith in Christ we baptize by immersion.
We celebrate open communion, meaning that all believers regardless of membership are invited to share with us around the Lord’s table. It is the table of the Lord and the witness that we are united in Christ at the deepest possible level where denominational characteristics do not separate us. We are committed to working with other believers to serve a world in need. Where it is possible, we work with other Baptists and other Christians to serve the cause of Christ. We believe that both women and men are called by God to lead and serve. The Holy Spirit uses all of us in the work of Christ.