STATEMENT OF IDENTITY
At its Council in September 2006 the EBF adopted the Message of the 2005 Baptist World Alliance Congress as a Statement of Baptist Identity which can helpfully summarise the core beliefs and values which are common among European and Middle Eastern Baptists. Each member Union has its own Doctrinal Basis or Declaration of Principle and these can be obtained by contacting the particular Union.
THE BAPTIST WORLD ALLIANCE
MESSAGE FROM THE CENTENARY CONGRESS
Birmingham, United Kingdom, July 2005
(Based on a fuller declaration prepared for study after the Congress)
To Baptist believers throughout the world with love and joy from those assembled together in Birmingham, UK, at the Centenary Congress of the BWA:
Together those Assembled –
THE HOPE OF A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH
1. Renew our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour, our guide and friend, in the power of the Holy Spirit and we affirm our life together as a community of faith looking forward in hope to Christ’s return and God’s New Heaven and a New Earth;
OUR TRIUNE GOD
2. Believe in the one eternal God who revealed Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
3. Rejoice that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, revealed in the Scriptures as fully God and fully human, and whose life shows us the way of true discipleship, was crucified for us and was raised from the dead on the third day to save us from our sins;
4. Declare that the divinely inspired Old and New Testament Scriptures have supreme authority as the written Word of God and are fully trustworthy for faith and conduct;
THE CHURCH AND THE KINGDOM
5. Believe the Christian faith is best understood and experienced within the community of God’s people called to be priests to one another, as these Scriptures are read and studied together. We thank God for all those who study God’s word and seek to put its teachings into practice individually and collectively through congregational polity;
6. Understand that our worship, mission, baptism and celebrating of the Lord’s Supper, joyously witnesses to God’s great purposes in creation and redemption;
7. Believe our gathering churches, with other true Christian churches, are called to be witnesses to the Kingdom of God. To that end we pray, work and hope for God’s Kingdom as we proclaim its present and coming reality;
8. Declare that through the Holy Spirit we experience interdependence with those who share this dynamic discipleship of the church as the people of God. As such, we affirm Christian marriage and family life;
9. Repent for not having prayed and worked hard enough to fulfil the prayer of Christ for the church’s unity. We commit ourselves to pray and work to further the unity of Christian believers;
10. Affirm that Believers’ Baptism by immersion is the biblical way to publicly declare discipleship for those who have repented of sin and come to personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour;
THE WORK OF CHRIST: ATONEMENT AND REDEMPTION
11. Affirm the dignity of all people, male and female, because they are created in God’s image and called to be holy. We acknowledge we are corrupted by sin, which incurs divine wrath and judgement;
12. Confess the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross, dying in our place, paying the price of sin and defeating evil, who by this love reconciles believers with our loving God;
STEWARDSHIP OF GOD’S CREATION
13. Proclaim our love of God’s created world and affirm our commitment to the stewardship of God’s creation.
14. Declare that God gives spiritual gifts to believers who are called to live a life of worship, service and mission. These gifts are discerned and confirmed by the believing community together;
15. Know that in the Great Commission, every believer, empowered by God, is called to be a missionary, learning and sharing more of Christ that the world might believe;
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND JUSTICE
16. Confess that faith in Christ entails a passionate commitment to religious liberty, freedom, peace and justice;
17. Affirm that in Jesus Christ all people are equal. We oppose all forms of slavery, racism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing and so will do all in our power to address and confront these sins;
Now, at this centenary gathering these things we declare, affirm and covenant to the Lord Jesus Christ and to each other, believing the truth found in Him and revealed in the Scriptures. We, recognising that this is a partial and incomplete confession of faith, boldly declare that we believe the truth is found in Jesus Christ as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Because we have faith and trust in Him so we resolve to proclaim and demonstrate that faith to all the world.
Amen and Amen. Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus, come.