STATEMENT OF FAITH
All the Churches of the Baptist Union of SA share the following statement of faith.
The Church believes:
- In the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament in their original writings as fully inspired of God and accepts them as the final authority for faith and life.
- In one God eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- That Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and true man.
- That God created man in His own image; that man sinned and thereby incurred the penalty of death, physical and spiritual; and that all human beings inherit a sinful nature; which issues (in the case of those who have reached moral responsibility) in actual transgression involving personal guilt.
- That the Lord Jesus 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.
- In the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, His ascension into Heaven, and His present life as our High Priest and Advocate.
- In the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- That all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 mutilated body and shed blood, in remembrance of His sacrificial death till He come.
- That God has ordained marriage as a heterosexual relationship between a natural man and a natural woman.
STATEMENT OF BAPTIST PRINCIPLES
PREAMBLE: 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 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. It is to clarify these that the following statement is made.
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 community 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 the ordinances of Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are 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 in 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 recognize 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 recognizes 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 ends 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 their 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 and 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.