What is a Baptist Church?

For a quick answer click on this link which will take you to the leaflet written by Nigel Wright and published by the Baptist Union of Great Britain: Baptist Churches: An Introduction.

This is probably one of the questions we are asked most. Firstly and most importantly, Baptists are Christians just like members of any other church. There are lots of different kinds of churches: Baptist, Church of England, Elim, Methodist, Roman Catholic, United Reformed, and so on. All Christian churches share most things in common; where there are variations they will be more about how things are done, or distinct emphases or history.

So, we are a Baptist Church but what is that all about? Has it got anything to do with John the Baptist or with baptism? What makes Baptist churches the same as or different from others? Some churches make it known that they are evangelical, and like most Baptist churches we would certainly identify with that description. Ryde Baptist Church is in membership of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Southern Counties Baptist Association and the Evangelical Alliance.

In addition to the introductory leaflet above there is also a set of Baptist Basics leaflets that briefly explain different aspects of Baptist Church life, also written by Nigel Wright. These are not comprehensive so please enquire if you have more specific questions.

  1. Why be a Baptist?
  2. The Congregation
  3. Believers’ Baptism
  4. Church Membership
  5. The Lord’s Supper
  6. The Church Members’ Meeting
  7. Stewardship
  8. Leadership in the Local Church
  9. Children in the Church
  10. Radical Dissent
  11. Mission and Evangelism
  12. Lifestyle

Finally, the Declaration of Principle first introduced by the Baptist Union of Great Britain in 1873 (and revised in 1904, 1906 and 1938) and itself rooted in the Great Commission of Jesus found in Matthew 28:18-20, is a good summary of what holds Baptist Churches in relationship together.

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.