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  Theme2014

What do Baptists believe?

* Baptists enjoy Bible freedom—freedom of access to the scripture, freedom from creedal restrictions and freedom of individual interpretation.

* Baptists deal directly with God without the imposition of creed, without the interference of clergy and without the interference of government. We call it soul freedom.

* Church freedom gives autonomy to the local church. Clergy is called by and answers to the local congregation, not to some distant board or authority.

* Baptists believe in religious freedom—the absolute separation of church and state.

* As a member of a priesthood of all believers, each Baptist is called to minister to others.

* A Baptist distinctive is believer's baptism by immersion, a public testimony of the experience of personal salvation. Many Baptist churches accept baptism from other traditions.

* Baptists place a high priority on living out the faith through mission and service.

How are American Baptists different?

* We are ecumenical, as we tend to support and encourage unity among the various divisions of the Christian religion.

* We ordain women.

* We are very active in social justice issues.

* We work at indigenous control of mission—a hands-on local approach—rather than a central hierarchy of missionaries.

* We are more moderate in interpretation of scripture.

ABCUSA

American Baptists believe the gospel is marked by the unity of believers who celebrate their racial and ethnic diversity. They also lift up the common elements of humanity and faith that bind us together as the children of God for growth, service, and mission. We work diligently to strengthen the bonds of that union so that we might all be better disciplines for Jesus Christ.

10 Facts You Should Know about American Baptists.

For more information, read a brief history of the origins and development of Baptist thought and practice.

American Baptist Churches USA

The 1.5-million members and 5,800 congregations of American Baptist Churches USA share with more than 43 million Baptists around the world a common tradition begun in the early 17th century.

We are quite individualistic. We don't believe any pastor or denominational leader has a right to speak for us on matters of faith or conscience. We believe individuals should, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, make up their own minds about what they believe. And we believe all Christians - laity as well as clergy - have special callings to be ministers for Jesus Christ.

Our individualism leads to some disagreements in the political, social, and theological positions we hold. Like most Baptists, we enjoy our differences, and we enjoy discussing them. Even so, we don't let our diversity slow us down. Most of us agree on the matters we think are really important. For example:

WE CONFESS JESUS CHRIST as the Son of the Living God, our Lord and Savior. We are joyously united in our common task of sharing the whole Gospel with the whole world.

WE BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE as the divinely inspired record of God's actions in history, and we believe it is a trustworthy, authoritative, and all-sufficient rule of faith and practice.

WE BELIEVE that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and we believe Jesus died to save us from our sins. Those of us who believe this are forgiven by God and enter into a new life.

We observe two ordinances:

WE BAPTIZE believers by immersion. We regard 'believer's baptism' as a symbol of death to the old life, and resurrection to a new life in Christ.

WE CELEBRATE the Lord's Supper (or Holy Communion) in memory of the sufferings of Christ. Most American Baptists practice 'open communion' and invite all believers to participate in its celebration.

FINALLY, WE BELIEVE that all American Baptists, laity and clergy, are called together to be a family of disciples; witnessing at home and throughout the world to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and calling upon all individuals, groups, institutions, and nations to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God.