The Declaration of Principle forms the basis of the life of the Union and is rooted in the Great Commission given by Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). The Declaration was prepared in 1873 and revised in 1904, 1906 and 1938 and enables us as churches to be in relationship with each other although the expression of our faith can differ.
The first clause refers to the absolute authority of the Lord Jesus, the second focuses on baptism by immersion whilst the third clause refers to the importance of mission.
The Declaration of Principle
- 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.
- 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 Scripture; was buried, and rose again the third day’.
- That it is the duty of every disciple to bear personal witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to take part in the evangelization of the world.
We are members of the worldwide Church and it is possible to find Baptists in almost every country. For Baptists, the concept of family is important and we consider ourselves to be a part of a family of believers, committed to Christ and to each other in order to serve God in the world, with the local church at the core of our identity.
Ministry of All Believers
We believe in the ministry of all believers and that everyone has an important and valuable contribution to make in serving God. All members are equal in status but some will fulfil different roles within the Church, for example a minister or leader will be appointed by every Church along with deacons who will assist the minister in his/her work.
Sovereignty of the Local Church
The principle of sovereignty of the local church is extremely important to Baptists and we believe that each church has the right to discern God’s will under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the church meeting. At the same time we have always believed in the principle of associating with other Baptist churches within our Associations, Union and on a global basis rather than being isolated as individual churches.
Baptism by Immersion
As Baptists, we believe in Baptism by immersion when a disciple decides to make a public commitment of faith in the Lord Jesus. This is not the culmination of the spiritual journey but an important milestone in our journeying together.
Word of God
The Bible, the Word of God, is central to our faith and through studying the Word under the guidance of the Holy Spirit we grow in our faith as individuals and congregations. Like many of the other Free Churches, preaching is central to the life of the Church.