We are asked that question often!
At Greater Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church, we are a dually-aligned Baptist congregation with affiliations with the American Baptist Churches, USA (and their local affiliate) and the National Baptist Convention, USA (and their local and state affiliates). We share with more than 42 million Baptists around the world a common tradition begun in the early 17th century. That tradition has emphasized the Lordship and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, believers’ baptism, the competency of all believers to be in direct relationship with God and to interpret Scripture, the importance of the local church, the assurance of freedom in worship and opinion, and the need to be Christ’s witnesses within society.
More specifically, as a Baptist congregation, we believe in the following “Baptist distinctives”:
Soul Freedom. We believe each person has the right and responsibility to stand before God make decisions about one’s relationship with God.
Believer’s Baptism. Baptism is the immersion of the believer in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, following one’s confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We believe that a person must make a conscious commitment to Christ based in the experience of Christ’s transforming power in their own lives before they are baptized. We believe baptism symbolizes the death of the old life and the rising of the new life in Christ.
The Lord’s Supper. We believe The Lord’s Supper (also referred to as communion) is a memorial instituted by Christ to be kept by believers as a symbol of his atoning death, and of himself as the Bread of Life, the one through whom we have spiritual life and vitality.
Priesthood of All Believers. We believe that each person can go directly to God without the need of an intermediary and that each person has a call from God to ministry in the church and/or world. We believe that being a priest to the world means that each one of us are God’s representatives, God’s agents, bringing God’s love to the world.
Congregational Autonomy. We believe that each local church has the right and responsibility to order it’s practice and ministry under God authority. We believe it is the responsibility of the local church to listen for and respond to God’s call so that the congregation will remain faithful in its life and ministry.
Religious Liberty. We believe that true faith depends on the absence of any coercion from others, including the government.
The Bible as Sole Rule of Faith and Practice. We believe that the Bible alone claims authority for the conduct of our lives and churches.
Click to learn more about our Baptist affiliations: the American Baptist Churches, USA, the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago, the National Baptist Convention, USA, and the Baptist General State Convention of Illinois, Inc.