- There is no “Baptist Denomination” as such. Each baptist church is an independent community, although often a member of a wider loose federation. There is no central governing authority, except God, and details of belief can vary from community to community. Generally, most Baptist communities follow the Lutheran teaching that Christ’s atoning sacrifice is considered to be available to every human being (as opposed to an elect few) and that salvation is freely available to all through faith alone. Baptists however do not adopt the Lutheran practise of infant baptism but rather practise believer’s baptism. Baptism and Communion are generally considered to be sacraments – rites of particular importance and significance by means of which God enacts his grace, his free and unearned love and favour, to those that seek him.
- Within each Baptist community all members are equal, committed to following Christ, caring for one another, contributing to the wider community, and seeking peace and justice in the world. Each Baptist community governs itself through meeting together, prayer, discussion, and voting (every member has an equal vote). This approach to decision making, based on the principle of the priesthood of all believers, must be guided at every stage by the Holy Spirit of God. Each church appoints in this way a minister for preaching and teaching, and a supporting body of administrators called deacons. At Blackhill Baptist Church there is no distinction between women and men.
- Like many Baptist churches, Blackhill Baptist Church is a member of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB), with regional associations throughout England and Wales. We are in the Northern Baptist Association.
- These national and regional organisations support local churches with friendly concern, advice on spreading Jesus’ message of love and hope, training, financial and legal advice, and advice on practical matters from roof repairs to child protection.
A three part “Declaration of Principle” forms the basis of understanding for all churches that choose to belong to the Baptist Union:
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is God in the flesh and he is the only authority in all matters of Christian faith and practise as revealed in The Bible, and that each church has liberty, guided by The Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His laws (freedom of conscience).
Christian baptism is the full immersion in water of those who understand their need to express a genuine sorrow and regret to God for their previous thoughts and actions that were opposed to Him, and who hold a belief that Jesus died for them out of His love for them, was buried, but rose again on the third day. Christian baptism represents cleansing and a fresh start.
That it is the duty of every disciple to declare to the whole world by their actions and their words the Good News of the availability to all of eternal life and joy as freely offered by God, through faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour.