If you want to know who we are and what we believe, here are a few of the important things that make us what we are. This is a brief, incomplete description of what we believe and feel passionately about – feel free to get in touch with us if you would like to talk further about any of these matters.
1. We are a Christian Church.
Most importantly, we are Christians. This means we are followers of Jesus Christ.
- We believe in one holy God, who exists in three persons – the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God made the world and all that is in it.
- Because humanity needed rescuing from the consequences of all the bad choices we have made, Jesus became a human being (while still being fully God), lived for about thirty years, taught, healed, loved, and was judicially murdered on a Roman cross. Three days later he rose from the dead, and a little while after that he returned to his Father in heaven. One day he will return in glory to judge the world and usher in a new, perfect heaven and earth.
- The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son to live within each believer.
2. We are a Protestant Church
This means that we are in broad continuity with the Western churches that broke away from the Roman Catholic church in the sixteenth century, affirming the gospel truths they found in the Bible:
- The Bible is our only authority for our beliefs about God and salvation.
- We are saved by the wonderful, free, undeserved grace of God alone, not because of anything we have done to deserve it. It is faith alone in Jesus which saves us, not anything good that we do.
3. We are an Evangelical Church
- This means that we have a ‘high view’ of the Bible – we believe that although it is a book written by many human hands, it is God’s words to us and completely trustworthy.
- It also means that we believe that Jesus took the punishment that we deserved, by dying on the cross. As a result we can receive the blessings we don’t deserve through being adopted into God’s family.
- Thirdly, it means that we believe a person must be “born again” to become a true Christian – that is; they need to be changed by the Holy Spirit so that they are able to turn towards God and receive forgiveness.
4. We are a Baptist Church
While we have good relationships with Christian churches of many denominations, we are proud of our ‘Baptist Distinctives’:
- Congregational Government: We believe that every believer is able to discern the leading of God, and so although we have ‘ministers’ who are trained and released to work more full-time for the church, important decisions are made by the gathered family of God’s people. So a local church best discerns the way that Jesus is leading them by coming together prayerfully and listening to the insights he has given to the individual members.
- Believer’s Baptism: We believe that baptism (brief immersion in water as a symbol of new life through Jesus) is the way that a new believer should demonstrate their new faith publicly. We do not place age restrictions on this special ritual, but believe it should be reserved for those who are ready to affirm faith for themselves.
- Religious freedom and independence from the State: We believe that only God may stipulate how we worship. It is therefore inappropriate for a State to control the conduct of worship or the appointment of church officers. Historically, Baptists suffered religious persecution from other Christians in England, so we especially value religious toleration and freedom.
We are members of the Baptist Union of Great Britain http://www.baptist.org.uk/.