What does the Baptist Church think
Baptists are - seen worldwide - the largest Protestant church. They are particularly widespread in the USA and Russia, but also in parts of Africa and Asia. The name is derived from the Greek word "baptistein": "baptize".
In Germany the Baptists belong to the Federation of Evangelical Free Churches. This federation has around 88,000 members in 930 congregations and branch congregations. It thus forms the largest Protestant free church in Germany. In addition to the Baptists, brother congregations also belong to the covenant. The brother communities have created their own organizational structure in the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Brüdergemeinden (AGB).
Like other free churches, the Baptists also value a conscious and responsible decision of faith as the basis for congregation membership. The baptized are expected to contribute their gifts and opportunities to the church and, together with other Christians, to make God's love for all people tangible.
What do Baptists believe?
The Baptists are evangelical Christians who rely solely on the Bible as the basis of their faith.
It connects with one another and with Christians of other denominations by personal faith in Jesus Christ. Church members trust that God will guide them through the Holy Spirit to properly understand the Bible and do His will. They try to follow Christ in their personal life and to make the love of God tangible in this world.
The "account of faith" sums up the essential beliefs.
How are Baptists different from other churches?
The Baptists differ from other (regional) churches in their baptismal practice and their understanding of the community.
The Baptists, founded in Germany in 1834 by the Hamburg merchant Johann Gerhard Oncken (1800 to 1884), practice the baptism of believers and reject infant baptism as unbiblical.
The congregations are relatively small, as they only consist of baptized members. This often creates a family atmosphere.
The services are open to guests. Some congregations even offer special services for those who are distant from the church. These events are characterized by modern music, life-related sermons, small plays and the like. Many of these elements have also become common in "normal" Sunday services.
The individual municipalities are independent from the federal government. They finance and manage themselves. In community life, the `` lay element '' is strongly emphasized. According to the Baptist understanding, there is no ecclesiastical act that is exclusively reserved for `` officials ''.
What connections are there with other churches?
The Federation of Evangelical Free Churches maintains close contacts with other churches and Christians.
He works with other churches in the Working Group of Christian Churches (ACK), of which he is one of the founding members.
There are close contacts in the Protestant area with the Protestant regional church (EKD) and its member churches.
The oldest inter-church connection in Germany is the Association of Evangelical Free Churches (VEF), which the Baptists founded in 1926 together with the Methodists and the Federation of Free Evangelical Churches.
Many members of the BEFG work within the framework of the German Evangelical Alliance with Christians from other Protestant churches and in joint campaigns and projects such as "ProChrist" and the "Year of the Bible".
This website contains a list of links under the heading "Service" which connect directly to other churches, associations, institutions and initiatives.
What does "Protestant Free Churches" mean?
The Baptist congregations and the Brethren congregations have been amalgamated in Germany under the name Bund Evangelisch-Freikirchlicher Gemeinde since 1942. Originally, so-called Elim communities also belonged to this association.
The name wants to make it clear:
Baptists are evangelical because they want to pass on the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ and the love of God to all people in word and deed.
Baptists are a free church because they stand up for the free and personal religious decision of the individual and because they are independent of the state and other institutions. They do not collect church taxes and finance their work through voluntary donations and membership fees.
Baptists value the church because they share the belief that Christians should help one another on the journey of faith and serve one another together.
How can I become a Christian?
A very personal question that is best answered personally, that is, in a conversation.
Here should be briefly summarized:
According to the biblical understanding, God's declaration of love for all people requires a conscious answer. Since Jesus Christ not only showed the great love of God, but also affirmed it by giving his life on the cross, the only appropriate response to this love appears to be to make one's own life available to God. This surrender to God is a lifelong process, but it can begin with a conscious decision of faith. One small step, a simple prayer, but that has an impact on the rest of your life!
The prayer could go something like this:
Lord Jesus Christ, I have heard of your love for all people. I would like to take it for myself personally. I entrust my life to you. I ask you to forgive my guilt. Let me live in the power of the Holy Spirit and serve you and other people.
How are the Baptists organized?
Each municipality is responsible for its concerns and organizes its concerns independently. In the community, the assembly of members (community hour) is the highest decision-making body. This is where fundamental decisions (finances, personnel, goals, etc.) are made. An elected church leadership (sometimes also called board of directors, elders and deacons, leadership group or similar) carries out the operational tasks.
The municipalities are united in regional associations (unions).
The corresponding menu item on this website provides information on the structure of the Federation of Evangelical Free Churches.
Why Do Baptists Not Baptize Infants?
Because faith always has to do with a conscious life decision in which no one can represent another. Parents and a congregation can promote and accompany children - also their faith - but cannot make decisions on their behalf on this issue.
Baptists see the choice of faith as a prerequisite for baptism. In the New Testament (Matthew 16:15) it says: "Whoever believes and is baptized?"
From this they deduce that no one should be baptized without personal faith. In practice, therefore, baptism is always connected with a publicly made profession of faith by the person being baptized.
This understanding of baptism does not call into question that faith is also an invitation and a gift from God. Rather, confession and baptism are understood as man's response to God's address. In addition, God is expected to give the powers and gifts of the Holy Spirit in the context of baptism.
It is common in Baptist churches for infants, often with their families, to be blessed in a church service.
Comment: The Evangelical Free Churches advocate freedom of religion and conscience and advocate the separation of church and state. That's why you don't levy church taxes. All costs are paid from voluntary contributions from the members.
(Excerpt from www.Baptists.org)
Association of Evangelical Free Churches in Germany
Community Development Service
With the kind support of Pastor Heike Beiderbeck-Haus
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