It’s a historical nickname really. In the 1500s; the Bible was more accessible to common people (non-clergy) in their native languages. Some believers began to recognize that, in the Bible, it was believers who were baptised, not newborns. The state churches of Europe and America gave the nickname “baptist” to groups who practised baptism of believers by immersion rather than baptising infants.
The name “baptist” speaks more of a movement rather than a particular denomination. Because we strive to follow what the Bible teaches; we ought to be far more Jesus-centred than we are baptist-centred; and our history should be traced all the way back to Jesus and His teachings. Admittedly, there are many flavours of Baptists today; but here are some basics that Baptists hold to:
The Bible is God’s word.
- We believe that the Bible is God’s Word.
- We believe that we should put into practice what the Bible says.
- We believe we should base our beliefs and practices on what the Bible says; rather than on human traditions, human morality, majority thinking, personal experiences or feelings.
- We want to interpret our lives through the Bible; rather than interpreting the Bible on the basis of our life experiences.
Self-governing local churches
- The local church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ and is to depend on Him completely; applying what His word says.
- The local church functions independently of any other church government structures or official hierarchies.
- Though independent, our local church associates and fellowships with other local churches that uphold the truth biblically regardless of their denominational labels.