Introduction

Baptist churches have been around for over 400 years and one of the primary reasons we developed as a separate group within the Christian Church is because we are absolutely committed to the idea of freedom.
We believe every individual believer is free to access God and serve Him in his or her own way (within biblical lines). For this reason Baptist churches are often very different from each other. Some are very traditional, others very radical, and others are somewhere in between. We have no prayer book, no bishops, and no hierarchies. We are committed to each church being free to shape its own style, language and ministries.
But there are many things we share in common...

Becoming a Christian

We are an evangelical church. We believe the Bible to be God's inspired word for us. We look to the Bible to discover the mind of God and therefore our life values. We believe in the great biblical truth of the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The atoning death and resurrection of Jesus, salvation by faith through God's grace.
A full statement of beliefs is available from all Baptist churches or from the Baptist Union in each state.

How is the Church organised?

The church is a group of people who have all made a personal commitment to Jesus. While every individual involved in the church is gifted for different roles we believe everyone is equal before God.
The Holy Spirit is working within each Christian equipping, directing and encouraging. Each church member therefore has the ability and responsibility to listen for God's direction for themselves and the church.

Therefore Baptist churches organise themselves with the following points in mind:

  1. Christ, not any particular individual, is the head of the church.
  2. Church meetings are an opportunity for everyone to express where they believe God is leading.
  3. God's leading is ultimately tested in the consensus of a church meeting.
  4. The church does not try to tell anybody exactly what they should believe, but each individual seeks the truth of God personally.

Who runs the Church?

We all do! But we recognise that certain individuals are personally gifted to provide leadership in the church. The church itself will recognise an individual as having the right gifts and abilities for leadership. The church then allows the individual to use his or her gifts to lead the group.
So while the church members themselves run the affairs of the church, they empower certain types of leadership. Pastors are responsible for the overall direction and biblical teaching in the church. The deacons usually deal with matters of administration. Elders become involved with the personal and spiritual concerns of the church members.
Leadership is not a right to authority or personal power, but rather an individual using his or her skills for the good of the church. Leaders are elected by and accountable to the church itself.

What about Baptism? Isn't that why you're called Baptists?

Yes, we do have a particular view on baptism, but again it has to do with our greater commitment to freedom. We believe that the symbol of being baptised (being plunged under water and then brought up again) is an illustration of burial and resurrection. This indicates a believer re-enacting Jesus' death and resurrection as being substitute for his or her own.
For this reason, we baptise believers who are free to choose faith in Christ and we prefer baptism by full immersion. Baptism does not make a person right with God, but is an expression of an inner spiritual commitment. Any Christian wanting to make this commitment should speak to their pastor.

Do you celebrate communion?

Yes, we do. Jesus gave his disciples a way of remembering Him, by sharing together bread and wine. It reminds us today of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. Baptists encourage all Christians present at their communion services to share in the Lord's Supper, no matter what their church background might be.
It is usually celebrated once or twice a month and we use small pieces of bread and grape juice to follow Jesus' example. Usually stewards serve the members of the congregation in their seats.

The world we live in

While we are only passing through this world, God calls us to be concerned for it. This means we are deeply concerned about such issues as poverty, justice, freedom, equality and the environment. We understand that the Bible does not draw distinction between people's spiritual and physical wellbeing, and we are committed to caring for both.

How can I become a Baptist Church member?

We are more than glad to welcome all visitors and guests at our services. But if you would like to engage fully in the life of a local Baptist Church, we invite you to apply for church membership. Membership is open to all who have freely committed themselves as Christians and expressed this in baptism. Each church has the right to decide who is able to become a member. All church members have equal rights and personal liberty.

Are you a large group of churches?

Today there are about 72,000 of us in hundreds of churches in every state of Australia. Each local church is autonomous (self-governed) but we voluntarily link together with other churches to form a Baptist Union in each state, who together form the Baptist Union of Australia. The first Baptists came into being in Europe as part of the Reformation which swept that continent. Baptists came to Australia in 1831 and today we have fraternal links through the Baptist World Alliance with more than 41 million in our worldwide Christian family which now numbers 1.3 billion. Source: Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT - http://www.nswactbaptists.org.au/about-us/beliefs

BAPTIST UNION OF NEW SOUTH WALES STATEMENT OF BELIEFS AS APPROVED BY THE 2003 ASSEMBLY

1. THE NATURE AND UNITY OF THE GODHEAD

There is one God Who is eternal personal Spirit. He is infinite in power, wisdom, holiness and love. God is Triune in essential being and revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

2. THE DEITY AND HUMANITY OF CHRIST

Jesus Christ as the second Person of the Godhead is eternally one with God the Father of whose person and glory Jesus is the accurate expression. To become human He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, so that two whole and perfect natures, the nature of God and human nature, were united in one Person; truly God and truly human.

3. THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit as the third Person of the Trinity is eternally one with the Father and the Son yet He is sent by Them to achieve the divine purpose in the world and in the Church.

4. THE DIVINE INSPIRATION OF THE SCRIPTURES

The Scriptures, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, are the infallible Word of God. They were written by holy people of God inspired by the Holy Spirit and have supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

5. THE SINFULNESS OF PEOPLE

People were made in the image of God and for fellowship with God. By transgression of God's command humankind fell from fellowship with God and their nature was corrupted. As a consequence all people are spiritually dead under Satan's dominion and control and subject to God's wrath and condemnation. Therefore, apart from God's grace, people are helpless and hopeless.

6. CHRIST'S ATONEMENT FOR HUMAN SIN

In order to redeem people from the guilt, penalty and power of sin, Jesus Christ became human and died a sacrificial death as our representative substitute. By His resurrection, God's acceptance of His atoning death was demonstrated. This atonement is sufficient for the whole world, but effective only in those who received it. The sinner is justified and reconciled to God, not through any personal merit, but solely on the basis of God's gracious gift of salvation in Jesus Christ received through faith.

7. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN SALVATION

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is necessary for the acceptance of God's provision of salvation. The Holy Spirit convinces sinners of their sinfulness, leads them to personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and so brings them to spiritual birth as God's children and to fellowship in Christ. Working within the life of believers the Holy Spirit makes real the presence of Christ, witnesses to their relationship with God, leads into all truth, bestows gifts for effective service and produces graces for holy living.

8. THE CHURCH

The Church is the body of people whom God has separated from the world through faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. All regenerate persons are members of the universal Church of God which takes local form wherever groups of believers unite for worship, fellowship and service in accordance with scriptural principles. All believers are called to a priestly ministry in the offering of spiritual sacrifices and sent into the world to be witnesses. God calls individuals to positions of oversight and leadership or to special ministries. The Church recognizes such by ordaining pastors, commissioning missionaries, appointing deacons and other leaders, following New Testament practice.

9. THE BAPTISM OF BELIEVERS ONLY BY IMMERSION

Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a public declaration of a person's faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In accordance with New Testament Scripture it should be administered only by total immersion which symbolises the believer's identification with Christ in death, burial and resurrection, the remission of sins and the believer's dedication to God to live and walk in newness of life.

10. THE COMMUNION

The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus Christ instituted by Him to be celebrated with the elements of bread and wine by believers in Christ until the end of the age. It commemorates and declares our thanks for the Lord's substitutionary death.
The celebration of the ordinance expresses our fellowship with and in the Lord Jesus Christ as members of the Body of which He is the Head.

11. THE RETURN OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

At the end of this age, according to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in His glory to the earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom of God awaits His return.

12. THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD

At the end of the age, there is to be a resurrection both of the righteous and the unrighteous. After death people’s bodies return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God - the righteous to be with Him and the unrighteous to be reserved for the judgment.

13. REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS IN A FUTURE STATE

God has appointed a day of final judgment for the world. At that time Jesus Christ will judge every person and each will receive reward or punishment according to their deeds. Those judged righteous, in their resurrected and glorified bodies, will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment.