We BELIEVE - From the North American Baptist Conference
Baptists, since their beginnings, repeatedly have composed confessions, which expressed the doctrinal consensus among related churches. In principle, however, Baptists always have insisted that no statement of faith can be considered creedally binding even upon concurring congregations. The purpose of their doctrinal summaries was to explain to other Christians and to the larger society what Baptists believed and practiced. Within and among Baptist churches, statements of faith also provided a standard for instruction, counsel and fellowship.
We, as the North American Baptist Conference, presently feel the need to state more fully our Baptist understanding of the Christian faith. The purpose that guided us in writing and the use that we intend for this declaration are to:
- further the sense of identity and the spirit of unity within our North American Baptist Conference by declaring our common doctrinal understanding
- provide a basis for doctrinal instruction within our conference
- provide a basis for doctrinal discussions in the hiring of conference personnel
- serve as a reference point when opinions differ
- provide a basis for doctrinal discussion in admitting new churches and new pastors into our various associations
- provide a doctrinal guide for new churches
- give a doctrinal witness beyond our conference
In continuity with our immediate forefathers and the larger fellowship of Baptists throughout history, we seek to practice and propagate by God’s grace the following convictions:
- We believe the Bible is God’s Word given by divine inspiration, the record of God’s revelation of Himself to humanity.
- We believe in the one living and true God, perfect in wisdom, sovereignty, holiness, justice, mercy, and love.
- We believe God created an order of spiritual beings called angels to serve Him and do His will.
- We believe God created man in His own image to have fellowship with Himself and to be steward over His creation.
- We believe salvation is redemption by Christ of the whole person from sin and death.
- We believe the Church is the body of which Christ is the head and all who believe in Him are members.
- We believe religious liberty, rooted in Scripture, is the inalienable right of all individuals to freedom of conscience with ultimate accountability to God.
- We believe Christians, individually and collectively, are salt and light in society.
We believe God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring all things to their appropriate end and establish the new heaven and the new earth.
Adopted by the North American Baptist Conference delegates, August 10-15, 1982, Niagara Falls, NY. Section 8 amended by the delegates, July 15-19, 2009, Winnipeg, MB.