The Christian denomination of American Baptists focuses especially on the death of Jesus, which they believe Jesus willingly took upon himself in order to pay for all of the sins of the world. They believe that the resurrection of Jesus is important because it means that he triumphed over both sin and death, which is a miracle. American Baptists take part in the Lord’s Supper in order to commemorate this sacrifice, accepting it as a symbol of God’s undying love.
The American Baptist belief system separates the three embodiments of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as the Creator, Redeemer, and the Sustainer, based on the role that each has on the lives of humanity.
As the course text describes, the American Baptist belief system allows for a certain level of personal freedom and power to individuals following the faith. The American Baptist belief states that all believers are capable of contacting God directly, without help from any religious figures such as priests or the Pope. This information goes along with the information from the course texts. The American Baptist website further states that in order to successfully reach God, believers must “truly seek God” in order to successfully get in contact with him (Bible). Further, the American Baptist belief system does not encourage a unified literal interpretation of the Bible. Instead, it states that God gave every individual freedom to their own personal interpretations of its message. In order to encourage personal interpretation, the American Baptist system avoids using prepared creeds dictating a specific interpretation. By giving individuals the freedom to interpret the Bible for themselves and also contact God directly through prayer, the America Baptist belief system allots a certain level of power to its followers.
Because of the denomination’s belief that the Bible can be interpreted in different ways, American Baptists engage in a dialogue with American Baptists following differing interpretations as wells as Christians following different denominations. American Baptists believe in religious freedom including freedom to express differing views on how to interpret God’s will. By allowing for open dialogue on different interpretations on the Bible, the American Baptist belief system allows for honest communication with Christian believers from outside of the denomination.
American Baptists do not perform baptisms on infants. This information is included in the course texts, but the reason is not described in detail. It is the American Baptist belief that all people must have the ability to understand what they are doing before they go through with Baptism. At the very least, people who are being baptized must understand that baptism allows people to be resurrected in Christ. Followers of the American Baptist belief are fully immersed in water as a symbol of attaining a new life.
The mission of the American Baptist doctrine is to spread Christianity throughout the world. This means that everyone on Earth must witness the glory of God and proclaim that Jesus is their Lord and Savior. It also means churches being built around the world, and justice and peace under God spreading universally. The faith values learning and teaching as ways of building true Christians. It maintains that compassion for other Christians is inherent to believing in Christianity, especially believing in Jesus’s deep sacrifice for all of his followers.
The American Baptist denomination decrees that there is a special gift that all believers have, and that everyone has a part in making the mission of Christianity come true. This is part of why the Baptist denomination practices the ordination of women as well as the affirmation of lay leaders. The denomination also recognizes the work of evangelists and teachers alongside apostles and priests. Seeing an important role for everyone, the American Baptist denomination values all of its members.
- “The Bible.” American Baptisit Churches USA. 2014. 30 November 2014.