We believe in the independence and autonomy of each local church
(Christ’s body) under the headship of Christ (Mt. 16:16; Rom. 12:4-5; 1
Cor. 12:27; Eph. 4:15-16; Col. 2:9-10, cf. Rev. 2-3). As every Baptist church
is independent and autonomous, beliefs may vary from church to church. Our key
The Lordship of Jesus Christ
We affirm that 'Jesus is Lord'. He is Lord over every individual person’s
life and the whole world. However, we must all choose to willingly accept him
as our Lord now, through faith and acceptance of his demands of discipleship,
or unwillingly when he returns to judge the world, and all peoples at the end
of this age (Mt. 7:21-23; Lk. 9:57-62; 14:25-35; Rom. 10:9-13; Phil.
The Authority of the Bible
The Bible is described as the 'Word of God' because Christians believe that its
writers were inspired by God's Spirit. As such, it has authority to guide both
what we believe and how we live our lives (2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 2:13).
Baptism for Believers
From the example of the New Testament, we believe that baptism is for those who
have repented of their sins, who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and who
declare that he is Lord. As a symbol of Jesus' claim on our lives, baptism by
immersion is practised, representing a desire to die to self and to be a
disciple of Christ (Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:1-7).
A Believer’s Church
Baptists understand the church as a community of believers gathered in the name
of Jesus Christ for worship, witness and service. There is no set Baptist
liturgy. Each local church is free to determine its own pattern, though prayer
and praise, listening and reflecting on scripture. Sharing Holy Communion will
always be central. (Mt. 18:19-20; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Cor. 5:4; 14:26; Col. 3:16).
The Priesthood of all Believers
We believe that everyone that attends West Hendon
has a role to play and can use their God-given skills and talents for the good
of the church and the community. These gifts include teaching, evangelism,
social action, pastoral care, prayer, healing, taking part in worship,
administration and hospitality (Mk. 16:17- 18; Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-13; 1
Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:5).
Church members and church meetings
When a person is baptised in a Baptist church, they normally become a church
member. Church members are called to prayerfully discern God's will for their
shared life. Final authority does not rest with the ministers, deacons or any
other local, national or international body, but with the members meeting
together under God's guidance. Church meetings will make significant
appointments including ministers, and agree financial policy and mission (Mt.
18:15-17; Acts 2:41; 1 Cor. 12:13).
We believe that churches should not live in isolation from one another but
rather be inter-dependent. Baptist churches are linked regionally, nationally
and internationally for support and fellowship.
Sharing the faith
We believe that each Christian has a duty to share their faith with others. We
recognise that mission is not just evangelism, but also includes promoting
justice, social welfare, healing, education and peace in the world (Mt.
25:31-46; 1 Tim. 2:1-4; Jam.
5:1-6; 1 Pet. 3:15).
Religious freedom for all has always been a keystone of Baptist understanding.
Acceptance of differences of outlook and diversity of practice is encouraged
within Baptist churches, as well as in our wider world (Mk. 9:38-41; Rom.
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life...