Baptist?


You might wonder about visiting a Baptist church because the denomination is not all that big here - though there are about 167 churches in the Baptist Union of Scotland  with a total membership of about 12 000.  In Europe there are about 13 000 Baptist churches with a 700 000 members. Globally, Baptists can claim to be the largest mainstream, protestant denomination with around 100 million members.  Baptist churches are not an import from America, they started in Europe at the time of the Reformation.  The first in Scotland was formed at Keiss, near John O’Groats, in 1750.

So, what makes Baptists different from other Christian denominations?  Well, in some ways not much.  We have a great deal in common with the Church of Scotland and many of the others.  The two most distinctive features of Baptist churches concern how we do baptism and how the local church is run - but in each of these areas we share the practices of many other Christian denominations.

Baptism

Baptism is the time-honoured way, commanded by Jesus, for believers to declare their faith in him, and their resolve to follow him.  So, we think it makes most sense to follow what seems to be the pattern of New Testament times and baptise people when they have become Christians by repenting of their sins and putting their faith in Jesus as their saviour.  In those times believers were baptised by ‘total immersion’ - that’s going right under!  It’s a picture of the end of an old way of life and the beginning of a new one.  So, we have a wee pool in the church and that’s the way we do it.

Church Government

Each local Baptist church is responsible for its own affairs and the great majority of Baptist churches in Scotland are, like us, financially independent, meeting all of the costs of their staff, activities and maintenance themselves.

The Baptist Union of Scotland provides a central voice for the denomination and gives encouragement and advice to the churches.  It provides a channel by which the member churches can support the planting of new churches.  (In the 1960s about 80% of the cost of our building was met by the generosity of our fellow Scottish Baptists through the Union.)

Big decisions in the life of the church are taken by the members at business meetings where we seek to discover together God’s way ahead for us.  We have two elders (including the pastor) who oversee the life of the church and guide it on it’s journey.  Six deacons complete the Leadership Team, each with responsibility for a sector of church life.  Each of our organisations has a recognised leader.



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“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ...

... and teaching them to obey every thing I have commanded. ...

... And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.”

- Jesus (NIV)