The Lordship of Christ
We affirm that ‘Jesus is Lord’. He is Lord over our individual lives, the life of each church, and the life of the whole world.
A Christian is someone who is in a living relationship with God and who recognises Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Christians recognise the need to change and live in a way that does not prevent a relationship with God.
We as Baptists, like other Christians, believe that there is no one so important in human history as Jesus. He is “God with us”, and “God’s way of showing us what God is like” (from St John’s Gospel in the Bible chapter 1 verse 14).
We believe in God the creator of all that is.We believe that Jesus is the Son of God.We believe He came to earth, lived, ministered to people around Him, was crucified on a cross, died and rose again. We believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit, God is at work today, here in Girton.
We believe that each one of us is individually responsible before God and that we have a duty to work to free people from want, discrimination, ignorance, oppression and injustice.
We share our basic beliefs with many Christians from other denominations.
The authority of the Bible
We believe that the whole the Bible is the Word of God because we believe that its writers were uniquely inspired by God’s Spirit.
Therefore the Bible is our guide in matters of belief and behaviour. We look to the Holy Spirit, and God himself to deepen our understanding and bring the truth to light.
We usually celebrate Holy Communion on the first Sunday evening and the third Sunday morning of each month, gathering and sharing together in thanksgiving and fellowship. This reminds us, with the powerful symbols of bread and wine, of how Christ suffered and died for us, and how His death became the key to abundant life.
We have an ” open” communion table and welcome all who truly love our Lord to join with us whenever we gather around the table.
Baptism for Believers
From the example of the New Testament, Baptists claim that baptism is for those who believe and able to declare that Jesus is Lord. Here in Girton Baptist Church we accept into membership Christians from other traditions who may not have been baptised as adults but who have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
Because of our conviction that the Church is made up only of freely believing disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that baptism is the outward sign of our joining ourselves to Christ and His Church.
We baptise people by immersion. That means after a person has publicly declared themselves to be a Christian, they are “buried” for a moment in water, in a baptistery (a large tank under the floor in the church), then to “rise up” to a new life.
As a symbol of Jesus’ claim on our lives, baptism by immersion is practised, representing a desire to die to self and to live for Christ.
A Believers Church
Baptists understand the church as a community of believers gathered in the name of Jesus Christ for worship, witness and service.
There is no set Baptist liturgy. Each local church and community is free to determine its own pattern, though prayer and praise, listening and reflecting on scripture, and sharing Holy Communion will always be central.
The priesthood of all believers
Baptists believe that everyone is equal before God and that anyone that attends a Baptist church has a role to play and can use their God-given skills and talents for the good of the church and the community.
These gifts include teaching, evangelism, social action, pastoral care, prayer, healing, taking part in worship, administration or hospitality.
Church members and church meetings
The Church is not a building, but a “company of believers” – all of us followers of Jesus. Jesus said wherever any of His disciples meet together in His name, there He is too (from St Matthew’s Gospel in the Bible chapter 18 verse 20). Wherever a group of Christians meet and promise together to live and to work as Christian people – there is the church. This is not an optional extra for us.
We Acknowledge that all Christians are members of the universal church. However, those who believe that God has called them to serve in our fellowship become ‘members’ of our church and meet together at the church meeting.
An important part of our Church life is our Church Meeting where we come together to discuss the life of the church and plan for the future, trying always to discern God’s will for us.
All Baptist Churches are independent in terms of their governance and finance but many, like ours, recognise the value of sharing and supporting as well as being supported by other Baptist Churches which we do as a member of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, an association comprising most of the Baptist Churches in this country.
When a person is baptised in a Baptist church, they normally become a church member.
Church members are called to prayerfully discern God’s will for their shared life. Final authority does not rest with the ministers, deacons or any other local, national or international body, but with the members meeting together under God’s guidance.
Church meetings will make significant appointments including ministers, and agree financial policy and mission.
Baptists believe that churches should be mutually supportive of one another.
Baptist Union churches are linked regionally, nationally and internationally for support and fellowship.
Sharing the faith
Baptists believe that each Christian has a duty to share their faith with others.
We recognise that mission is not just evangelism, but also includes promoting justice, social welfare, healing, education and peace in the world.
Religious freedom for all has always been a keystone of Baptist understanding.
Acceptance of differences of outlook and diversity of practice is encouraged within Baptist churches, as well as in our wider world.