What are Baptists?

What are Baptists?

Baptists are a mainstream Christian group. However, we have four distinctives:

  • As our name suggests, we practice Believers' Baptism by total immersion of those who profess a real faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour.
    Watch a Baptism!

  • Local Baptist Churches are independent, linked only to other Baptist churches by voluntary association. There is no national Baptist Church, only a Union of independent local Baptist Churches.

  • Baptist churches are gathered churches in that they consist of those who have 'gathered together' by mutual consent. Members of a local Baptist Church "opt into" membership, rather than entering it by default through tradition or location.

  • Each local Baptist Church is congregationally governed. This means that all the major decisions about the life and work of a local Church are made by its own members. There is no central governing body of Baptist Churches.

Apart from these four distinctives we also emphasise the importance of individual faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, freedom of religious conscience, the importance of the local Christian community and its lifestyle, and the independence of the church from the state.

The modern denomination was founded in the early 17th Century because certain groups of Christians felt the need for reform and change. Our roots can be traced back earlier still to the Anabaptists of Europe in the sixteenth century. The first Baptist Church in this country was founded in Spitalfields, London, in 1612.

There are many Baptists around the world including large numbers in the USA and the former states of the USSR. We are the biggest single Protestant grouping in the world.

Famous Baptists of the last 100 years include Martin Luther King and Billy Graham. Famous Baptists of previous centuries include John Bunyan (seventeenth century) and Charles Haddon Spurgeon (nineteenth century).

More Information about Baptists

Communion in Pictures | Watch a Baptism!
About Teddington Baptist Church | Baptist Distinctives
European Baptist Statement of Identity | British Baptist Core Values
Baptist Union of Great Britain | London Baptist Association