Baptist Christianity is one of the largest and most diverse groups of Christians. Baptists take their name from the practice of adult baptism and unlike most Christians, who baptize infants or young children, baptists insist that individual believers freely and publicly commit themselves to their Christian faith. This is done in a ceremony of adult baptism, often known as “believers baptism” or credo-baptism.
Often these baptisms are full immersions, in which the believer is lowered completely beneath the surface of the water, emerging in the eyes of the Church as “born again” in Christ. This is both an outwardly and inwardly sign of repentance of sin and confession of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
Baptist churches emerged in the early 17th century within various protestant denominations. While today there is still no central Baptist authority, two prominent confederations are the Baptist World Alliance and the Southern Baptist Convention.
The former being a more liberal branch, and the latter being a more conservative branch. Generally evangelical, Baptists require that the new testament be the explicit authority for their beliefs and practices. While not always taking the Bible literally, Baptists insist that the Christian beliefs and practices are commanded or commended by example within the Bible.
Baptists believe that religious faith is a matter of the personal relationship between God and the individual. This support for “religious freedom” entails that individuals may practice any religion or none. Historically, they have been ardent supporters of the principle of the separation of Church and State, particularly in the United States. Of course, Baptists have the evangelical hope that individuals will confess a Christian faith, but insist that this must be a free decision.
Because of the lack of a central authority, a wide range of beliefs can be seen between one baptist church and another. However, there are many main central beliefs, such as There is one God who is eternal, infinite in power, wisdom, holiness, and love. God is an essential being and revealed to mankind as the father, son and holy spirit.
Jesus is the second person of the Godhead and is eternally one with God the Father. To become human he was conceived of the holy spirit and born as a human.
The scriptures, consisting of the old and new testaments, are the infallible word of God. And People were made in the image of God and for fellowship with God. However, we fell from fellowship with God and as a consequence, all of mankind is spiritually dead under Satan’s dominion and control. In order to atone, one must accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and become baptized in his name and thus, born again.
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