Who are we?
We as Baptists share many areas of our faith with other members of the professing Christian Church. These include a belief in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; in the supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ as Head of the Church; and in the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and as the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
There are however areas of principle and practice where we as Baptists make distinctive emphases arising out of our understanding of the Scriptures such as the direct lordship of Jesus Christ, the autonomy of the local church, believer’s baptism, the congregational principal of church government, the priesthood of all believers, the principle of religious liberty and the principle of separation of church and state.
According to StatsOnline, the South African census of 2001 recorded that out of a population of 44,819,774 citizens 691,235 people identified themselves as Baptists in South Africa.
We are Baptists
That means our family is part of a much larger family of believers who all live by the same beliefs as we do. Our family nature is based on a common understanding of the Bible and of God. Some of the important ideas which separate us from other followers of Christ are our belief in the complete supremacy of the Bible in all things. This means that, for something to be correct or recommended or even permissible, it must be explicitly stated, either through a command or an example, in the text of the Scriptures. We don’t recognise any other book or message other than that given to us by God.
Another belief we share which is not shared by all denominations of Christians is that of a personal faith. We believe that every believer has religious freedom and can experience and understand God on a personal, relational level. Finally, the point on which we earn our title: we believe that baptism, in the full-body-submersion kind of way, is the only true baptism.
Anyone who shares these three beliefs is well on their way to understanding us, and would fit right in as part of our family. If you don’t, don’t let that stop you from joining us on Sundays – we’re not in the habit of turning anyone away! We encourage you to join us as we seek to better make sense of ourselves, the world, and its Creator. We hope that by encountering people who understand the world differently to us, both parties can learn and come to a closer and surer knowledge of the truth.
Our Statement of Faith
- We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments in their original writing as fully inspired of God and accept them as the supreme and final authority for faith and life.
- We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and true human.
- We believe that God created human beings in His own image; that humans sinned and thereby incurred the penalty of death, physical and spiritual; that all human beings inherit a sinful nature which issues (in the case of those who reach moral responsibility) in actual transgression involving personal guilt.
- We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, a substitutionary sacrifice according to the Scriptures and that all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood.
- We believe in the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus, His ascension into heaven and His present life as our High Priest and Advocate.
- We believe in the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We believe that all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God.
- We believe in the resurrection both of the just and the unjust, the eternal blessedness of the redeemed and the eternal banishment of those who have rejected the offer of salvation.
- We believe that the one true Church is the whole company of those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit; that the local Church on earth should take its character from this conception of the Church spiritual and therefore that the new birth and personal confession of Christ are essentials of Church membership.
- We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ appointed two ordinances – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper – to be observed as acts of obedience and as perpetual witnesses to the cardinal facts of the Christian faith; that Baptism is the immersion of the believer in water as a confession of identification with Christ in burial and resurrection and that the Lord’s Supper is the partaking of bread and wine as symbolical of the Saviour’s broken body and shed blood, in remembrance of His sacrificial death till He comes.
We, as Baptists believe in:
- The DIRECT LORDSHIP OF CHRIST over every believer and over the local church. By this we understand that Christ exercises His authority over the believer and the local Church directly, without delegating it to another.
- The CHURCH as the whole company of those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The local church, being a manifestation of the universal church, is a community of believers in a particular place where the Word of God is preached and observed. It is fully autonomous and remains so notwithstanding responsibilities it may accept by voluntary association.
- BELIEVER’S BAPTISM as an act of obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ and a sign of personal repentance, faith and regeneration; it consists of the immersion in water into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- The CONGREGATIONAL PRINCIPLE, namely that each member has the privilege and responsibility to use his/her gifts and abilities to participate fully in the life of the Church. We recognise that God gifts His Church with Overseers (who are called Pastors or Elders) whose primary function is to lead in a spirit of servanthood, to equip and provide spiritual oversight, and Deacons whose primary function is to facilitate the smooth functioning of the Church. This principle further recognises that each member should participate in the appointment of the church’s leaders, and that constituted church meeting, subject to the direct Lordship of Christ and the authority of Scripture, is the highest court of authority for the local Church.
- The PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS, by which we understand that each Christian has direct access to God through Christ our High Priest, and shares with Him in His work of reconciliation. This involves intercession, worship, faithful service and bearing witness to Jesus Christ, even to the end of the earth.
- The principle of RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, namely that no individual should be coerced either by the State or by any secular, ecclesiastical or religious group in matters of faith. The right of private conscience is to be respected. For each believer this means the right to interpret the Scriptures responsibly and to act in the light of his conscience.
- The principle of SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE in that, in the providence of God, the two differ in their respective natures and functions. The Church is not to be identified with the State nor is it, in its faith or practice, to be directed or controlled by the State. The State is responsible for administering justice, ensuring an orderly community, and promoting the welfare of its citizens. The Church is responsible for preaching the Gospel and for demonstrating and making known God’s will and care for all mankind.