What we believe as Baptists
Here is a checklist of what we as Baptists hold as our main beliefs. It is based largely upon a summary of Baptists’ beliefs produced by the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
The Lordship of Christ
Jesus is Lord is the distinctive confession of our faith. As individuals and as churches, we seek to make Jesus Lord of every aspect of our lives.
The Authority of the Bible
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that the Holy Spirit through the Bible shows us God’s way for living. As radical believers, we seek to root our lives in the revelation of God’s truth.
Baptism for Believers
On the basis of the New Testament, we assert that baptism is for believers only. Baptism is only for those who are able to declare Jesus is Lord. As a symbol of Jesus’ claim on our lives, we practise baptism by total immersion, in which candidates symbolise their desire to die to self and to live for Christ.
A Believers Church
We understand the church to be a community of believers gathered by the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ for worship, witness and service. Central to our worship is prayer and praise, listening to God’s word in preaching and a gathering around the Lord’s Table.
The Priesthood of all Believers
In a believer’s church every member has a role to play. We all need to use the gifts God has given us whether in teaching, faith-sharing, evangelism, social action, pastoring, guiding, serving, prophetic insight, praying, healing, administration or hospitality.
The Church Meeting
In a Baptist church, the priesthood of all believers is best shown at the church meeting. Members come together to prayerfully discern God’s will for their life together. The final authority rests not with the ministers or deacons but with the members gathered together in church meetings.
Baptist churches have always come together in regional, national and international associations for support and fellowship. On the basis of the New Testament, we believe that churches should not live in isolation from one another but rather support each other whenever possible.
Sharing the Faith
We believe that each of us as Christians has a duty to share our faith with others. William Carey was a Baptist who is known as the father of the modern missionary movement. Along with this emphasis on evangelism, however, we recognise that mission includes social action. This involves promoting justice, social welfare, healing, education and peace not just in our own community but in the world at large.
Religious freedom for all has always been a keystone of the Baptist way. Within Baptist churches, we encourage tolerance for differences of outlook and different practice but with one important condition – that the truth of the Gospel is not compromised in any way.
How are we, as Baptists, different from other Christians?
In other Christian traditions, church membership is not always clearly defined. In a Baptist context, baptism involves not only commitment to Christ, but also commitment to Christ’s Church. For Baptists, church membership involves a commitment not only to work together to extend Christ’s Kingdom, but also to love one another and stand by one another whatever the cost.
Tabernacle Baptist Church belongs to the Baptist Union of Wales (English wing) and is also affiliated to the Baptist Union of Great Britain. Although we are strongly community-based, we are part of the worldwide family of Baptist Churches through the Baptist World Alliance.