So what sort of church are you?

Many churches use a series of adjectives to describe the kind of church they are. Our most important adjectives are:
Christian
Protestant
Evangelical
Non-conformist
Baptist
Independent
Reformed
Christian

Some places are described as churches, but would not be Christian in the Biblical and historic sense. We seek to follow the Bible’s teachings and believe in the major creeds adopted by churches in the early centuries of the faith. These include the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Chalcedonian Definition.

Protestant

A term describing the form of the Christian faith which was expressed at the Reformation in the sixteenth century as a ‘protest’ against the distortions that the Roman Catholic Church had created over the preceding centuries. It recognises that Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin properly identified the Biblical shape of Christianity and recovered its true components. ‘Protestant’ certainly does not imply hostility towards Roman Catholics.

Evangelical

This word comes from the Greek New Testament word translated in English as ‘gospel’ or ‘good news’. This relates to the very core of the Christian message. If we ask the question ‘what must I do to be saved?’, as the Philippian jailer did (Acts chapter 16 verse 30), then the gospel describes what we need to believe and how we need to respond.

To be an ‘evangelical’ is to hold to the central Biblical message that we as human beings are enemies of God because of our personal sin and rebellion, but that God has sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay for our sin on the Cross and offer us freely His complete forgiveness and blessing, both in this world and the world to come.

Non-conformist

In English history King Charles II introduced the Act of Uniformity which required all Christians to follow the form of worship that the Church of England was required to follow. The king wanted to introduce conformity to a shape of Christianity that he favoured. Those who disagreed were subjected to legal penalties. To this day, those who do not follow the Church of England’s practices are broadly described as ‘non-conformists’.

Baptist

Among the ‘non-conformists’ were those who believed the Bible taught that only those who had become Christians should be baptised (that excluded babies) and that the Biblical way of baptising was to immerse – because that is what the word ‘baptise’ actually means. Such people are ‘baptists’ although many evangelical churches who adopt this view are not actually labelled as such.  Find out more.

Independent

Many churches belong to groups or denominations. We are not connected to any other group and believe that the direct head of each local church is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He leads and directs it by means of the Bible which is His Word, and by the activity of God the Holy Spirit who guides each Christian. In addition, He provides elders for His churches, whom He gifts to guard and guide the church, but only in accord with what the Bible says.

Reformed

We believe that God is God. He is the supreme lord of everything and everyone and that in the Bible we have the full expression of His revealed truth for us and our salvation. Our salvation does not rest on us, our efforts or our choices, but in the loving, merciful power of God Himself. So we believe in the ‘doctrines of grace’ and, as Baptists, see them best expressed in the 1689 Second London Confession.

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