What is an American Baptist ?
First Baptist Church is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and the American Baptist Churches of Oregon.
Freedom has been the watchword in our Christian journey. We believe that no one should be coerced or forced to follow the path of Jesus but that such a path is a choice of the heart and entered into freely.
We emphasize freedom not for its own sake but because freedom allows us the opportunity to be guided by the Holy Spirit as we study the scriptures and prayerully seek God’s will for our lives. There are four primary freedoms which guide as Baptists in our spiritual quest: Bible Freedom – the freedom to study, interpret and apply the Bible under the Lordship of Christ and as guided by the Holy Spirit; Soul Freedom – affirms the ability of the individual to seek the will of God in Christ without interference by outside forces such as an imposed religious creed or intervention by clergy or government (religious or secular); Church Freedom affirmation that the local church is free under the Lordship of Christ to set its own course; and Religious Freedom – the foundational Baptist belief; in the separation of church and state where government cannot impose its will on religion and cannot impose its will on the public.
What We Believe Since we as American Baptists are not a “creedal” people, there is no agreed upon summary of doctrines and practices which govern our life together. Nonetheless, we recognize that certain central affirmations exist among us which do guide us as the community of faith we call First Baptist, McMinnville. The following was put together by the search committee in preparation for a search for the senior pastor position in 1994. We believe that these affirmations continue to guide us as a community of faith in the year 2001.
Statement of Beliefs:
We believe in one eternal God who creates (Creator), redeems (Jesus Christ), and sustains (Holy Spirit) our lives.
We believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior who brings healing and reconciliation to the world.
We believe in our church as an open and inclusive community of faith in which worship, education, and outreach are signs of our commitment to love God, others and ourselves.
We believe in the Bible as our source of authority in matters of faith and practice. In making decisions about the Bible’s teachings and our moral choices, we value independent thinking and sensitivity to the collective wisdom of the congregation as the body of Christ.
We believe in the infinite worth of each individual, who although flawed by sin, can be made whole and complete through the love of God in Jesus Christ.
We believe in the importance of discipleship which calls us to a life of renewal, education, spiritual growth and social responsibility so that inner transformation occurs, human needs are met, and peace and justice are pursued.
We believe in the world mission of American Baptists as a part of Christ’s Church, and we support its various ministries beyond the scope of our local church.
We believe in the preservation of our Baptist heritage with its distinctive of believer’s baptism; the separation of church and state; the priesthood of all believers; the importance of ordained pastoral leadership; the autonomy of the local church; the value of voluntary association with other churches; and the previously mentioned emphases upon the authority of Scripture and freedom of conscience (soul liberty).
As a free church, we do not expect that each of our members will hold to each of the affirmations stated above. We are confident, however, that the beliefs listed are consistent with the general ethos and the convictions of the majority of our members. We continue to encourage a variety of views in the knowledge that what we learn from one another broadens and deepens our understanding of our Christian life and faith.
Sources used in developing the above statement:
First Baptist Church, promotion piece (prepared by Worship & Growth Committee)
First Baptist Church, promotion piece (prepared by Evangelism Committee)
Purpose Statement of First Baptist Church of McMinnville
American Baptists: A People of Faith (Valley Forge)
Insights from Search Committee with Senior Pastor 1994
Areas: of emphasis:
Ministry to children (infant to elementary age) and their parents.
Ministry to youth (middle and senior high) and their parents.
Ministry to those who are new or relatively new to Christianity.