God’s Plan of Salvation

First of all, accept that…
  • God loves you.  He loved you so much that He allowed His very own Son to take the blame for your sin (John 3:16).
  • Christ died for you and everyone who has sinned against Him (Romans 5:8b)
  • Recognize that…
  • Everyone sins.  No exceptions!  (Romans 3:23)
  • Sin separates you from God.  The price you should reasonably pay is separation from God (death), but He has another way (Romans 6:23).
  • Believe that…
  • Jesus is the answer.  Believe in Jesus.  The Bible says that believing that Jesus is God’s Son is the first step toward faith (Acts 16:31).
  • Then…
  • Admit to God that  you are a sinner.  Ask God to forgive you and allow you to live with Him forever (1 John 1:9).
  • Don’t just say you’re sorry but ask God to help you change your ways.  Do an about-face.  Ask God to help you stop doing what you shouldn’t, and do what you should (Acts 3:19)
  • Tell others about your faith in Jesus.  Confess to others what Jesus has done for you and how He has changed your life (Romans 10:9).
Live in a way that pleases God.  God wants us to follow His guidelines for living.  This will be your testimony to your new life in Him (John 14:15).  Take the next step of obedience through baptism.  Then grow through fellowship and worship with other believers.

Tenets of the Baptist Tradition

While Baptists by Virtue of Theological approach are diverse, we are united around some cardinal beliefs. We reject the notion of an earthly Head, declaring Christ’s is our only Head. However, we can trace our origins to the Anabaptists, who though, not theologically savvy or structurally organized vehemently opposed Infant Baptism, pursued a life of holiness and wanted to mirror the New Testament model of church. Most Baptists acknowledge the intentional work of John Smyth (an Anglican Priest) and Thomas Helwys an English man, who along with a small band of Anglicans separated themselves from The Church of England, advocating Religious Liberty. They were heavily persecuted and forced to leave England, finding refuge in Amsterdam.

There, they were influenced by the Mennonites (followers of Menno Simon – an early Anabaptist Leader of Swiss Origin). In time, John Smyth, baptized Helwys and the others and preformed Se-Baptism (Self Baptism) and a Congregation was formed known as General Baptists. For whatever reason, before John Smyth’s death, he wanted to re-join the Mennonites, a decision Helwys opposed. Upon his death, some of his followers did join the Mennonites, but Helwys carried on the work, returning to England and spreading General Baptist Tenets. Historians all agree that, from General Baptist in England, Baptists Tradition spread to Europe and America. The variation in style of worship and the conservative, moderate, liberal brandings are directly related to the church adapting to realities in its Locale and or the competencies or lack thereof – of adherents. Ethnic tensions and relations have led to splintering over the years.

Baptist Origins

Baptists date 1609 as the origin of the structured movement began by Anabaptists and Radical Reformers of the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century.

Baptist Beliefs

  • Christ is the only Head of the Church
  • Believers’ Baptism, not Adult Baptism
  • Baptism by Immersion
  • Autonomy of the Local Church that each Congregation in Members’ Meeting discerns the will of God for itself as it worships and witnesses in a particular Locale. This does not prevent from associating with other churches of the Baptist Faith or any other Christian Tradition.
  • Priesthood of all believers There is no hierarchy or line of demarcation between clergy and laity – all believers are priests ministering before God, ministering to each other and collectively ministering to the world.
  • Sola Scriptura – The Bible is the only and final authority
  • Two Ordinances/Sacraments – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Baptism

Baptizing is administered upon profession of faith in Jesus as the Christ. Immersion is symbolic of death/burial and resurrection to new life in Christ. It is a sign that one belongs to Christ and will live by the terms of the Gospel. Only Baptized persons can be admitted into membership – Salvation.

The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is a memorial, remembering the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. There elements are bread and grape juice (not wine, as Baptists are against Alcoholic consumption). Early Baptist rejected Real Presence – though modern and enlightened Baptists now confess that Christ is present by faith under the auspices of Bread and Cup. It is a meal only for Christians and it reminds us of The Lamb’s Great Bridal Feast which all Christians will be invited to partake. The Lord’s Supper is not a sacrificial Meal but a Memorial Meal – hence there are no altars in Baptist Churches but Communion tables.
  • Individual Freedom of the Soul – we are not all stained with original sin as taught by Augustine of Hippo – but that each person chooses to sin and thus each is in need of salvation - that comes by faith alone, justification by faith.
  • Freedom to worship – no set pattern, liturgy or Tradition – spontaneity and openness to the Holy Spirit in and out of worship.
  • The office of Pastor and Deacon are the two main offices which evolve from the Laos (The Gathered People of God).

Separation of Church and State

Such a position is understandable that State legislated worship – England and John Smyth and Thomas Helwys and the early followers rejected such state control. This position was reactionary and ought to be soberly understood and revisited by 21st Century Baptists. It means that Baptists do not involve themselves in politics. That is faulty platform.

Baptists belong to the Protestant Arm of Christendom

As such, agree with the timeless Doctrines of the Christian Church.
  • God is Spirit
  • God discloses God’s Self is three distinct persons Father, Son and Holy Spirit – all three though distinct are equal.
  • Jesus is Savior and Lord.
  • Bodily Resurrection of The Dead-Jesus the Christ is the first Fruit of them that slept.
  • The Holy Spirit is the sustainer and Guide of the Christian in pilgrim age back to the Father’s House.
  • Second coming of Jesus the Christ
  • End times-Final Judgments-The righteous rewarded and the unrighteous condemned.
  • Baptists seeks to mirror the New Testament Church free of all the frills that plague institutional churches what is rooted and defended in scripture is rejected. Simplicity and Sincerely through Spirit led worship is the goal of Baptists.  Modesty and Moderation in all things are desired, evidenced through a life of Personal Holiness.  This Holiness is not by human efforts, by the work of the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer.

Hierarchy

Modern Baptists are opening themselves to other commissioned offices such as Evangelists and Exhorters. What is a non-negotiable for Baptists there is no hierarchy or Titular office in position: i.e. Apostles, Bishop – The Office of Pastor for Baptists is synonymous to that of Bishop, Overseer, Elder or Presbyter.

Expression

  • Imagine Blacks (the marginalized of the Colony) worshipping in the center of the Town where policies were rigged against them and where the agents of the Empire who sought to keep them bondage, worked and lived.
  • Prepared by Pastors who sought to be faithful to the tenants of the Gospel although they had feet of clay. Through sound preaching and teaching the tools were given generation after generation necessary to make them effective in Christ Service.
  • Poised- we now stand ready to do the work of impacting our city and our country for God and for God.


Powerful Prophetic Proclamation-ours is not the task, the pander to Political Directorate or Peoples’ fancy, no ours is the task to represent God, to be God’s Voice even when the message is not desirable, convenient or politically correct.  Ours is the task to condemn evil, whether personified or Institutionalized while calling all to sound biblical principles.  This is to be done notwithstanding fierce opposition from within and without, for the way of the people is hard (yea bitter).  Yet, when those who are prophetically warned, repent and return to God- the flood gates of Blessings are opened into them.  So like the Prophet Habakkuk centuries before has declared; I will stand upon my watch as a faithful guardian of our city and prophetically declare what thus says the Lord as His 21st Century mouth piece.

Bodily Resurrection of The Dead-Jesus the Christ is the first Fruit of them that slept.

  • The Holy Spirit is the sustainer and Guide of the Christian in pilgrim age back to the Father’s House.
  • Second coming of Jesus the Christ
  • End times-Final Judgments-The righteous rewarded and the unrighteous condemned.
  • Baptists seeks to mirror the New Testament Church free of all the frills that plague institutional churches what is rooted and defended in scripture is rejected. Simplicity and Sincerely through Spirit led worship is the goal of Baptists.  Modesty and Moderation in all things are desired, evidenced through a life of Personal Holiness.  This Holiness is not by human efforts, by the work of the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer.

Baptist Witness

  • As believers, Baptist accepts the call to be salt and light, the recognition that though we live in the world we are not of the world. Baptists seek to faithfully and authentically witness about Jesus the Christ the mains of Salvation and the one who helps us live as children of God.  Worships must lead to witnessing in speech and in action.  Therefore, Baptists are not afraid to champion social causes, empowered by love that demands justice.  Baptists understand that in order for the world to be transformed and change, things can only take place as people hear the word of God and be brought to Faith.  Hence, Preaching and Teaching have always been priorities for Baptists.  The evidence is also clear that through National, Regional and International Baptist Bodies- Discrimination and Racism have been attacked (Martin Luther King Jr. is noted Baptist Personage).
  • Poverty has been address
  • Political inequalities rebuked
  • Housing and Health Care Projects under taken.
  • Establishing of Christian Schools among other things, solidify Baptists commitment to bring about the kingdom or Region of God on Earth.

Our Responsibility

Zion’s History is so rich and diverse as it points the awesomeness of God. Our presence as the only Historically Black Church in the heart of the City of Nassau (Charlestown) pre-dates the Anglican Cathedral that elevated Charlestown (to the City of Nassau). Through sound Preaching and Teaching, lives continue to become transformed. In this year marking the 180th Anniversary of our Local Assembly the theme chosen: “Pursuing Excellence: Planted, Prepared and Poised for Powerful Prophetic Proclamation” only serves to underscore our understanding of our purpose. We know that only God could have planted a Baptist Chapel on a strategic corner in a British Colony were Anglicism was the established Religious Expression.Imagine Blacks (the marginalized of the Colony) worshipping in the center of the Town where policies were rigged against them and where the agents of the Empire who sought to keep them bondage, worked and lived.

Prepared

Prepared by Pastors who sought to be faithful to the tenants of the Gospel, preaching and teaching were the tools used for generations to make them effective in Christ Service.

Proclamation

Proclamation demands right action and calls Christians to get involved, so that public policy is a consistent with the teaching of Jesus the Christ.  Proclamation has and will forever be the hallmark of Zion. As a church, we also proclaim the praises of the God who has called us from darkness into light, through Psalmody.

Poised

Poised - we now stand ready to do the work of impacting our city and our country for good and for God. Powerful Prophetic Proclamation -ours is not the task, to pander to Political Directorate or Peoples’ fancy. No! Ours is the task to represent God, to be God’s Voice even when the message is not desirable, convenient or politically correct.  Ours is the task to condemn evil, whether personified or Institutionalized while calling all to sound biblical principles.