We acknowledge that the term “Baptist Theology” is multifaceted. Therefore, it is important that we take the time to identify and explain the main components. We have identified three aspects vital to Baptist Theology; they are credo-baptism, baptism by immersion, and elder-led congregationalism.
Baptism is a command and a sacrament given to us directly from the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that baptism is for professing believers only. If a child is neither old enough to demonstrate an understanding of the gospel nor to profess belief in the gospel the child should not be baptized. We understand the Old Testament sacrament of circumcision to point to the new status of the regenerate’s heart. Therefore, baptism is a visible and public sacrament which proclaims the reality of true circumcision which is the circumcision of the heart. We believe that one must hear the word, and therefore, understand the word prior to being baptized.
Romans 2:29; Matthew 28:19; Acts 10:44-48; and Romans 10:14
Baptism By Immersion
We believe that proper baptism requires full body immersion in water. The Greek verb baptizo (βαπτίζω) simply means to immerse. Therefore, whenever the verb baptizo is used in scripture it, by its very definition it implies immersion. The sinner going under the water represents the death of Jesus Christ, the body going into the ground. Coming back up out of the water represents the new life that we find in Christ Jesus’ resurrection.
Romans 6:4; Colossians 11-12; and Matthew 3:16
We believe that the most biblically faithful understanding of church polity and structure is for a group of elders to be selected from within a local congregation to be in a position of authority over the congregation and to be held responsible to that congregation. Scripture acknowledges the reality that we are our brother’s keeper as well as the priesthood of all believers. Scripture also acknowledges that men are to be selected as elders; these men must fulfill certain roles and maintain certain life styles. The bible also acknowledges that those in local churches are to submit to these leaders. We believe that elder-led congregationalism is the most biblical way for churches to proceed in their polities. A local congregation is not formally held accountable to an outside entity. Churches are, however, encouraged to voluntarily partner with other churches and/ or parachurch entities which share common theological distinctions and goals.
1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-6; Hebrews 13:17; Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Peter 2:5; and Acts 20:17-35