WE ARE AMERICAN BAPTISTS: A People of Faith, a People in Mission.
American Baptists worship the true God of the Bible, who is eternally one God in three Persons. This one, true God is most clearly revealed to us in the Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
American Baptists proclaim the Good News of the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, knowing that salvation (forgiveness of sins, release from guilt and condemnation, reconciliation with God) and eternal life are granted in grace to all who trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This Gospel is the central message of the Bible.
American Baptists believe that the Bible, composed of the Old and New Testaments, is the divinely inspired Word of God, the final written authority and trustworthy for faith and practice. It is to be interpreted responsibly under the guidance of the Holy Spirit within the community of faith. The primary purpose of the Bible is to point to Jesus Christ, the living Lord of the Church.
Although Baptists have produced numerous confessions to express our common understandings of Christian faith, we hold the Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, as our final authority. We accept no humanly devised confession or creed as binding.
American Baptists affirm that God is sovereign over all and this sovereignty is expressed and realized through Jesus Christ. Therefore, we affirm the Lordship of Christ over the world and the Church. We joyously confess that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. We are called in loyalty to Jesus Christ to proclaim the power of the Holy Spirit, the Good News of God's reconciling grace, and to declare the saving power of the Gospel to every human being and to every human institution. We celebrate Christ's charge to "make disciples of all nations" and to bear witness to God's redeeming reign in human affairs.
American Baptists are summoned to this mission in common with all Christians. With the whole body of Christ, we also believe that God has been revealed in Jesus Christ as in no other, and that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself." (II Corinthians 5:18). We anticipate the day when every creature and all creation, on earth and beyond, will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2: 10-11).
God has given this particular community of believers called Baptists a distinctive history and experience. As we share in common with Christians everywhere, so Baptists everywhere celebrate a common heritage.
Therefore, we affirm that God through Jesus Christ calls us to be:
--A Redeemed people
--A Biblical people
--A Worshiping People
--A Mission People
--An Interdependent People
--A Caring People
--An Inclusive People
--A Contemporary People
We further believe:
---That God has called us forth to such an hour as this;
---That we live with a realizable hope;
---That all things are held together in Christ;
---That all creation will find its ultimate fulfillment in God;
---That we shall see the One whose we are; and
---That Jesus shall reign for ever and ever.
"We are American Baptists: an expression of Christian faith representative of American Baptists," was adopted by the General Board, American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., June 1998. The Bristol Baptist Church is grateful to God to be affiliated with the American Baptist Churches!
THE BRISTOL BAPTIST CHURCH COVENANT
We are people who love God, who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and who are baptized by the Spirit and by water.
We gladly covenant with God and one another to live lives worthy of our holy calling as Christians. We will make every effort to live together in harmony, to accept our differences, and to celebrate our diversity. We agree to listen to each other respectfully, to be slow to take offense, and quick to seek reconciliation.
We promise to extend friendship to all who come into our midst. Since Jesus commands us to “love your neighbor as yourself,” we will be mindful of needs outside our congregation and offer help whenever possible in our own community and around the world.
We promise to pray for one another, to support each other in both joy and sorrow, and to watch over each other with loving concern. We will be especially mindful of our congregation’s children who God entrusts to us for teaching and nurturing in the faith.
If we move away from this area, we agree to seek membership in another congregation as soon as possible and to offer our very best to the continuing ministry of the church of Jesus Christ.
We promise, with God’s help, to practice these principles as we walk together on our faith journey.