Baptists are mainstream Trinitarian Christians (that means we believe in God who is one, but who is three persons Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the Bible teaches) like Methodists, Anglicans (Church of England), Pentecostals, United Reformed Church, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics etc.
This would be a very big subject - so to make things easier, we've separated things into a number of separate headings on the left.
If there's anything that you'd like to know, or anything you'd like to find out more about, please feel free to send us a message.
A Relationship with God... Whilst we have a beautiful and historic set of Grade II Listed buildings, the buildings are NOT the church—for Baptists the building is simply the place where we meet. The church is the people and whenever and wherever God’s people meet, that is the church. When the church meet, God is present among His people—we take Jesus at His word when He promised that ‘Whenever two or three gather together in my name—there am I in the midst of them’ (Matthew 18:20).We believe, as the Bible teaches, that true Christians are those who have come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ—who is the only way that imperfect human beings can come to God who is perfect. Jesus’ death that first Easter was in our place and opened the way for us to come back to God. Jesus is alive, He rose from the dead and can be known today - a living relationship with God through Jesus is at the heart of what it is to be a real Christian. People become Christians when they acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and accept His gift of Life, despite their failures. This is why Baptists baptise only believers who have come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ.
What about The Bible?
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God for all humankind.
St. Paul said the bible is 'God breathed' (2 Timothy 3:16), fully inspired by God and therefore without error.
It is our sole authority for what we believe and contains everything we need to know about God.
Paul said in the same passage that the Bible is 'able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus' (2 Timothy 3:15). Just knowing the Bible is not enough - the Bible is like a letter from God to us and through it God speaks to us about Himself and tells us the way that we can come to know God - 'through faith in Christ Jesus'. Whilst it is important to know what God says, faith is the bridge to knowing God, the open hand through which we can receive what God wants to give us.
If you want a definition of 'faith' - we look to see what the Bible says - 'Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see' (Hebrews 11:1) - the Biblical Greek word for faith means more than just believing as in 'I believe that it might rain today...' It means to have total confidence in, to rely on, to trust fully in - the kind of faith or belief that governs how we live and act.
The Bible tells us the way we can know God and what God, our Creator, expects of us and how we can live to please Him. In the words of Paul, it 'is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man or woman of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work' (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is important that we know what God has to say and to live it out.
The Bible is important because through it we can come to know God personally and because it is His word, He speaks to us personally through it.
The Baptist way of being Church
The Baptist way of being the church is living together in community - in a family if you like. In the Baptist Family everybody is equal, because everybody has a part to play in serving God. There is no hierarchy of bishops or priests exercising authority over their members.
Equality of status, however, does not mean that all have the same role. Each local Baptist church appoints its own leaders - or Minister - to have particular responsibility for preaching, teaching and pastoral care. Working alongside the minister are also 'deacons', who together with the pastor form the leadership team of each local Baptist church.
Each Baptist church is autonomous and governed by its members, who freely agreed to ‘walk together’ with God and to care for and support one another. Church membership is open to all who have come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ and whilst membership of Gamlingay Baptist Church is open to those who have not been baptised as believers, all are encouraged to follow the command of Jesus and be baptised. Members hold ‘Church Meetings’ quarterly through the year, where all the business of the church is conducted and decisions are made together, as we seek to find the will of God together as His people.
Jesus commanded that those who come to trust in Him and know Him personally, should be baptised. In the Bible, Baptism is of believers, people who have already come to faith in and have committed themselves to follow Jesus. Babies are not yet able to take this step, so Baptists believe that it is inappropriate to baptise babies. For those who have come to faith in Jesus and wish to follow Him, they should take His command seriously to be baptised—through baptism, we show that we are sincere in our desire to follow Jesus. At a baptismal service, we follow the biblical pattern, normally the person being baptised is totally immersed in a pool of water, however, there are situations and circumstances where this would be difficult and in those cases, other arrangements can be made.
So, what about babies?
Babies and children are an important and valued part of the church and whilst it is inappropriate that we baptise them, it is important that we mark their birth and welcome them amongst us. We do this through a special service of thanksgiving or a 'dedication' service, whereby we give thanks to God and everyone dedicates themselves to support the parents and help to nurture and bless the children.
If you'd like more information about a Thanksgiving or 'Dedication' Service for your child, please feel free to send us a message.