Kingsthorpe Baptist Church is affiliated to the Baptist Union of Great Britain and adopts their Declaration of Principle.
The Basis of the Baptist Union is:
1. That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy
Scriptures, and that each Church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His laws.
2. That Christian Baptism is the immersion in water into the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, of those who have professed repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ who ‘died for our sins according to the Scriptures; was buried, and rose again the third day’.
3. That it is the duty of every disciple to bear personal witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to take part in the evangelisation of the world.
Baptist churches are found in almost every country in the world. As part of the world-wide Christian church, Baptists form one of the largest families of faith, alongside other trinitarian Christian traditions such as Anglicans, Methodists, Reformed, etc.
For Baptists the concept of a family is important. The church is not so much a particular place or building, but rather a family of believers, committed to Christ, to one another and to the service of God in the world.
In this Baptist family everybody is equal, for everybody has a part to play in the service of God. There is no hierarchy of bishops or priests exercising authority over their members. Equality of status, however, does not mean that all have the same role.
Each local Baptist church appoints its own leaders – or ministers – to have particular responsibility for preaching, teaching and pastoral care. Working alongside these ministers are also deacons, who together with the minister(s) form the leadership team of the local Baptist church.
Baptists are grass-roots people, with a particular emphasis on the local church. These local churches are self-governing and self-supporting, ranging in size from twenty or so members to many hundreds. Although each Baptist church is an independent entity, Baptists nonetheless have always believed in associating with one another – and so the churches come together in regional, national and international spheres to promote and support the fellowship of Baptists everywhere.
Baptists also play their part ecumenically through membership with Churches Together in England, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI), Cytun (Churches Together in Wales), the Conference of European Churches and the World Council of Churches (WCC).
The Baptist way of being the church is living together in community; in a family, if you like.
Believer’s baptism is a very special moment on the journey of faith. It is a moment when God’s presence and blessing meets us, and when we make our personal commitment of faith in Jesus as Lord.
It signifies the end of our old life and of being born again to new life in Christ. Normally taking place by full immersion in water, it speaks of repentance and cleansing, of being united with Christ in his death and resurrection, and of witnessing to the call of God upon our lives.
Baptism is also about receiving God’s Spirit for service in the church and in the world.
The vast majority of Christian churches affirm baptism as a moment when we receive God’s gift and respond in faith, but not all practise believer’s baptism. Many baptise those who are too young to make their own response of commitment to Christian discipleship, and so parents make promises on their behalf that are later ‘confirmed’ by the person themselves when they are of an age to do so.
Many Baptists will want to welcome and affirm those who have a different story to tell of how they have been baptised and come to faith, while still declaring our conviction that believer’s baptism is the pattern that is set out for us in scripture:
1 Jesus set an example: Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22).
2 Jesus commands us: In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
3 The early church practised it: On the Day of Pentecost, Peter tells the people to “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38).
There are other examples of baptism throughout the book of Acts which suggests believer’s baptism was an integral part of early church life.