What are Baptists? You can find answers to all your questions by either contacting us, or checking out the Baptist Union of Great Britain homepage.
But here are some answers to questions you may have...
Is this a religion?
Most Baptist, in fact most Christians, would rather say they have a faith than say they are part of an organised religion. In fact, we're pretty disorganised to be honest. But Baptists are Christians. We believe in God, three in one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you want to know more about Christianity, look here.
What makes you different?
There are a few things that make Baptists different from some Christian traditions you may be more familiar with.
Firstly why our name, Baptists? This comes from our belief in Baptism of a believer by full immersion. That sounds a bit complicated, let me explain. We don't think anybody is born with a faith, we think faith is something you either choose to have, or choose not to have, when you're able to make that decision for yourself. Therefore, we don't christen babies. Instead, when a person decides they want to live a life following the teachings of Jesus, we baptise them by full immersion in water. You may have seen this before carried out in rivers or lakes, at DBC we have a baptismal pool that lives under the chapel floor and we fill it up when needed. Don't worry, it has heaters.
We believe that Jesus is the only authority in matters of faith and each church (community of people gathered together) has the ability to administer his laws. But what does this look like in practise? Firstly, we don't believe there is a single person, like a pope, who is in charge. If God can speak to each of us, we are all responsible for understanding what He is saying. This is often called a "priesthood of all believers." Secondly, we have a constitutional method of church governance, which means we hold regular meetings and vote on what we think is the best way of doing things. And finally, we believe there should be a separation between church and state. There have been too many instances through history where the state has had a bad impact on the church, and where the church has not functioned as it should when people can seek political power by being part of it. Makes sense right?
As Baptists we think that is the duty of ever believer to share their faith and to show people that God really truly loves them. We don't think faith is something you only have on a Sunday morning. We aim to live our lives in service of others, helping shape and change the world into a better, more loving place. This means we aren't hypocrites. It doesn't mean we're perfect people as much as we may want to be. It means we acknowledge our flaws and when we don't quite get it right, we admit to it. The world needs a little more honesty.
What do you think? Sound like something you can be a part of? We hope so and it would be great if you could come and be part of the DBC community. If you have any questions feel free to pop in on a Sunday morning, come along to one of our small groups or use the contact us page.