- There is no “Baptist Denomination” as such. Each baptist church is an independent self governing community. All important decisions are are made by the members meeting after prayer and discussion and meetings always seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Each member has an equal say and vote. At Blackhill membership is restricted to believers baptised by full immersion (infant baptism is not recognised) with no distinction between men and women. Applications for new membership have to be approved by a full meeting of existing members.
- As with most Baptist communities we consider that Christ’s love and cleansing sacrifice is available to every human being and that salvation is available solely through faith in Jesus Christ. No human activity can influence this, neither good works nor church tradition nor discipline. Christ has done everything necessary for us and we accept or reject the gift he offers.
- Baptism and Communion are generally considered to be sacraments – rites of particular importance and significance by means of which God brings his free and unearned love and favour (grace) to those that seek him. There is no “Baptist” teaching regarding the mystery of communion (does the bread and wine transform into the flesh and blood of the saviour?) with each individual having freedom of conscience – a private matter. However it is generally accepted that the communion meal unites us with 2,000 years of fellow Christians, reminds us of Christ’s promise to come again, and He is present at the head of the table. Communion must never be treated lightly.
- Each community appoints a minister for preaching and teaching, and a supporting body of administrators called deacons. Some communities may appoint Elders who together with the minister provide spiritual guidance – Blackhill Baptist Church does not appoint Elders.
- 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 are loose federations of fellowship and support, providing 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.