Baptists have traditionally been people who do not enforce ecumenical creeds, but rather statements of faith. As a general principle, Baptists believe in in soul liberty. This means that in matters of faith, each person has the liberty to choose what his/her conscience or soul dictates is right, and is responsible to no one but God for the decision that is made. This to say that Baptists have not had differences concerning beliefs.
Historically, Baptists have affirmed these Christian distinctives
The Bible: The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is inspired by God and bears the absolute authority of God Himself. Whatever the Bible affirms, Baptists accept as true. No human opinion or decree of any church group can override the Bible. Even creeds and confessions of faith, which attempt to articulate the theology of Scripture, do not carry Scripture’s inherent authority.
Freedom or autonomy of the local church: The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus the church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church’s beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. A Baptist church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests and in an associational tie, but a Baptist church cannot be a “member” of any other body.
Priesthood of all believers: Every believer has direct access to the throne of God. Therefore, since every child of God shares in the priesthood of the believers, all have the same right as ordained ministers to communicate with God, interpret Scripture, and minister in Christ’s name. This is first and foremost a matter of responsibility and servanthood, not privilege and license.
Two ordinances: (sometimes called sacraments in some protestant churches) We practice baptism by immersion because it alone preserves the picture of saving truth. It proclaims the imagery of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:1-5). We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a symbolic Christ’s body broken for our sins and His blood shed for our redemption. It does serve as a spiritual connection and helps us remember Jesus’ death, and inspires us while looking forward to Christ’s coming.
Individual Soul Liberty: Every individual Christian has the liberty to believe, right or wrong, as his/her own conscience dictates. While we seek to persuade people to choose the right, a person must not be forced to into compliance, realizing that it is not always the larger group who holds the truth when, in fact, our heritage as Baptists has demonstrated the worth of every individual believer.
Separation of Church and State: Historically, Baptist have fought for religious freedom. In a famous letter to Thomas Jefferson, the Danbury Baptists affirmed that “Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty — That Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals — That no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious Opinions — That the legitimate Power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor…” Our Baptist forerunners such as Roger Williams, Isaac Backus, and John Leland believed that the state cannot enforce religious law upon its citizens.
Two offices: There are two spiritual roles that Baptists have upheld, pastor and deacon. The pastor serves as the spiritual shepherd, teacher, and church leader. Deacons serve as the spiritual hands and feet of the church. Deacons assist in worship, give assistance, and aid in spiritual nurturing.
In addition to those Baptist beliefs, we also hold to basic Christian beliefs:
The Holy Scripture:
We believe that the Scriptures were given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on the hearts and minds of the writers. The Bible consists of the Old and the New Testament, which are the Word of God, inerrant in the original language. The scriptures are the final authority for our lives, faith and belief.
We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God is our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.
The Lord Jesus Christ:
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal son of God, became human, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by God the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, and lived a sinless life. He came that He might reveal God and redeem humanity
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins for all people, and all who trust/believe in Him are saved by grace through faith, and are kept secure unto salvation in Christ.
Resurrection and Ascension
We believe in the physical resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord Jesus Christ; and in the ascension of Christ to heaven where He is exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate.
The Second Advent of Christ
We believe in the personal return of our Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones, and that our Lord Jesus Christ will establish His Kingdom and rule and reign in righteousness.
The Eternal State
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all humankind, the saved to eternal life in heaven and saved from judgment and punishment in hell.
We believe the local church is the spiritual representation of the body of Christ. We commit ourselves to our local church and celebrate our common belief with Christians all around the world.