AMERICAN BAPTIST IDENTITY STATEMENT
We Are American Baptists
An Expression of Christian Faith Representative of American Baptists
adopted by the General Board, American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.,
American Baptists worship the triune God of the Bible, who is eternally
one God in three persons. This one, true God is most clearly revealed
to us in the incarnate
Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
American Baptists proclaim the Good News of the atoning death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ, knowing that salvation (forgiveness
of sins, release from guilt
and condemnation, reconciliation with God) and eternal life are granted
in grace to all who trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This
Gospel is the central
message of the Bible.
American Baptists believe that the Bible, composed of the Old and
New Testaments, is the divinely inspired Word of God, the final
written authority and trustworthy
for faith and practice. It is to be interpreted responsibly under
the guidance of the Holy Spirit within the community of faith.
The primary purpose of the
Bible is to point to Jesus Christ, the living Lord of the Church.
Although Baptists have produced numerous confessions to express
our common understandings of Christian faith, we hold the Scriptures,
the Old and New Testaments, as our
final authority. We accept no humanly devised confession or creed
American Baptists affirm that God is sovereign over all and that
this sovereignty is expressed and realized through Jesus Christ.
we affirm the
Lordship of Christ over the world and the church. We joyously
confess that Jesus Christ
is Savior and Lord. We are called in loyalty to Jesus Christ
to proclaim the power of the Holy Spirit, the Good News of
God’s reconciling grace, and
to declare the saving power of the Gospel to every human being and to every human
institution. We celebrate Christ’s charge to "make disciples of all
nations" and to bear witness to God’s redeeming
reign in human affairs.
American Baptists are summoned to this mission in common with
all Christians. With the whole body of Christ, we also believe
God has been revealed
in Jesus Christ as in no other, and that "God was in Christ reconciling the
world to Himself" (2 Corinthians 5:18). We anticipate
the day when every creature and all creation, on earth and
beyond, will confess
is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).
God has given this particular community of believers called
Baptists a distinctive history and experience. As we share
in common with
Christians everywhere, so
Baptists everywhere celebrate a common heritage.
With Baptist brothers and sisters around the world, we
• That the Bible is the final authority and trustworthy
for faith and practice. It is to be interpreted responsibly
Holy Spirit within the community of faith;
• That the Church is a gathered fellowship of regenerated
believers, a sign of the coming universal reign of God;
• That the freedom to respond to the Lordship of Christ
in all circumstances is fundamental to the Christian
gospel and to human
• That witness to Christ is the ongoing task of every Christian
and of every church.
• Within the larger Baptist family, American Baptists emphasize
convictions which direct our special task and ministry.
We affirm that God through Jesus Christ calls us to be:
A Redeemed People
• who claim a personal relationship to God through Jesus Christ;
• who follow the Lord in believer’s baptism;
• who gather as a believer’s church;
• who share in the meal of the kingdom known as the Lord’s Supper;
• who honor the priesthood of all believers; and
• who live their faith as visible saints.
A Biblical People
• who affirm the centrality of Scripture in our lives;
• who pursue the study of God’s inspired Word as a mandate for
faith and practice; and
• who seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the understanding
of Scripture, while respecting the common interpretation
of Scripture within the community
• Who submit to the teaching of Scripture that God's
design for sexual intimacy places it within the context
and one woman, and acknowledge
that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with
A Worshiping People
• who gather regularly to praise God;
• who receive nourishment by communion with the Risen
• who share an open and public confession of faith;
• who believe that personal devotion brings vitality
to corporate celebration.
A Mission People
• who strive to fulfill the Great Commission to make
• who invite persons to receive salvation and follow
• who engage in educational, social, and health ministries;
• who seek justice for all persons; and
• who provide prayer and financial support to sustain
a worldwide mission outreach.
An Interdependent People
• who affirm the Church’s unity as given in Jesus Christ;
• who gladly embody in our practice the ministry of the
whole people of God;
• who recognize God’s gifts for ministry and
honor all offices of pastoral ministry;
• who live and work together "in association";
• who bring the free church tradition to cooperative
and ecumenical Christianity.
A Caring People
• who care for the needy, the weak, and the oppressed;
• who care for the earth and for all its creatures.
An Inclusive People
• who, gifted by a variety of backgrounds, find unity
in diversity and diversity in unity;
• who embrace a pluralism of race, ethnicity, and
• who acknowledge that there are individual differences
of conviction and theology.
A Contemporary People
• who have a remembrance for the past and a vision
for the future;
• who are committed to religious liberty and
to the separation of church and state;
• who call our present world to make Jesus Christ
Lord of all life; and
• who trust the Holy Spirit for insight and power
to live in the present age.
We further believe
• That God has called us forth to such an hour
• That we live with a realizable hope;
• That all things are held together in Christ;
• That all creation will find its ultimate
fulfillment in God;
• That we shall see the One whose we are; and
• That Jesus shall reign for ever and ever.
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