As American Baptists We Believe

As American Baptists, we . . .

. . . believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, and that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God that serves as the final written authority for living out the Christian faith.

. . . believe in Church Autonomy.  The local church is the fundamental unit of mission in denominational life.  The local church is free to make and carry out the policies and programs which it believes best reflect and fulfill God’s purpose for the church.

. . . partake of two ordinances: Believers’ Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.


Faith precedes Baptism.  Baptism, an act of full immersion following Christ’s example, is undertaken by those spiritually mature enough to understand its profound, symbolic significance: resurrection to  new life in Christ. It is the outward symbol of what has already taken place in the person’s life.

    communion resizedWe believe in Open Communion.  The communion table is the Lord’s, not ours.  Christ is the host.  It is  not our decision who will or will not be guests.  Communion is open to all believers present.

Through The Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion, the bread and cup that symbolize the broken body and shed blood offered by Christ recall God’s great love for us—just as they did for the disciples the eve of Christ’s crucifixion .

 . . . believe in Soul Freedom. The committed individual Christian can and should approach God directly, without the mediation of others and is free to read the Bible and and be guided as to its meaning by the Holy Spirit.

. . . believe  in the Priesthood of All Believers.  Individual gifts of ministry should be shared.  All believers are called to minister according to individual gifts given by God.  Professional ordained clergy are those called to full time service.  Women are given full opportunity to respond to God’s calling to leadership positions and the ordained ministry.

. . . believe in Missionary Zeal.  We take seriously the call to evangelism and missionary work.  Each Christian has the duty to spread the Gospel to all people, serving as Christ’s ambassadors, responding to human need in the world.

. . . believe in Religious Liberty.  We support religious freedom and respect the expressions of faith of others.  Each person may choose and practice religion freely without physical, economic, or political influence.

. . . believe in Ecumenical Commitment.  We acknowledge that God’s family extends beyond our local churches, and that God calls us to cooperative ministries.  We desire to work in cooperation with other denominations for effective witness and mission and realize that American Baptists are only one part of the Good Shepherd’s flock and not the entire flock.

. . . believe in Social Justice.  We are called by God, to bring the Good News to the institutions of society so that they might be saved from corruption and that they might treat people justly and fairly.

(These Beliefs are taken from the publication “10 Facts You Should Know About American Baptists” and the document “American Baptist Beliefs”)