4. A Believers’ Church
Baptists believe that their churches should include as members only those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. While they definitely encourage seekers to attend their church services, they do not receive them into the membership until they have confessed Christ in the waters of baptism. We know that we can be deceived by people who make false professions, but we do our best eliminate these deceptions. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (E.S.V.) We endeavor to raise our children to make their own personal decisions to follow Christ, but we do not consider them to be Christians until they have made their own commitments. We also recognize that there are many sincere Christians that are not Baptists.
In our churches we gather to worship God and to fellowship with one another. Our services are also teaching services where we study the Bible. Acts 2:42, 46-67 describes what the early church was like. It says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. … And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” This is the goal for our churches.
We also fellowship with sincere Christians in other denominations and work together with them to further the cause of Christ. John 10:16 says, “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” While we believe that the universal church is made up all Christian believers, we also believe that this invisible church should be expressed in individual, local congregations.
Question: How should your local church be working with other churches to further the cause of Christ?