What do we mean by “Baptist”?

One of the distinctive features of Baptist church life is our practice of Christian Baptism. We follow the New Testament pattern of baptising those who have come to personal faith in Jesus Christ – this is commonly known as Believer’s Baptism and is normally by total immersion in water.

Baptists also lay stress on the responsibility of each local church to govern its own life and affairs. The Church Meeting is the place where the members of the local Church gather together to discuss the business and make decisions seeking always to discern the mind of Christ. Leadership in our fellowship is provided by Elders and Deacons, Elders are responsible for the spiritual welfare and oversight of the Church and one of the Elders is normally a full time Pastor accredited by the Baptist Union of Scotland. The Elders are assisted by Deacons who concentrate on the more practical aspects of Church Life such as Property and Finance.

This emphasis on local authority does not mean we are independent from our fellow Baptist Churches instead we are inter-dependent. Whilst recognising the autonomy of each Church we gather together under the banner of the Baptist Union of Scotland to provide training, resourcing, support and encouragement for each other. Leadership within the Union is provided by a team of Core Leaders responsible for areas such as Mission, Youth Work and Minstry.

Baptists believe that everyone should be free to worship according to their beliefs. They have stood for the separation of Church and State yet it is largely true to say that they have been at the forefront of those demonstrating that a lack of formal links between Church and State does not hamper a Christian contribution to society, but rather enhances it. Baptists have been at the forefront of many political movements such as the crusade to abolish slavery.

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