At Ladysmith Baptist Church God’s Word, the Bible, is our authority.
The Church believes:
- in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament in their original writings as fully inspired of God and accepts them as the Final Authority for faith, life, and conduct;
- in one God eternally existing in Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and is therefore true God and True Man;
- that God created man in His own image: that man sinned and thereby incurred the penalty of death, physical and spiritual: and that all humans inherit a sinful nature, which issues in the case of those who have reached moral responsibility in actual transgression involving personal guilt;
- that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, a substitutionary sacrifice according to the Scriptures, and that all who believe in Him, are justified on the ground of His shed blood;
- in the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, His ascension into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father and is Head over all and makes intercession for us as our High Priest and Advocate;
- in the personality of the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son and His regenerating and sanctifying work and abiding presence in the born again believer;
- in the personal return of our Lord Jesus Christ;
- in the Priesthood of all believers;
- that the one true Church is the whole company of those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit;
- in the resurrection of the dead, eternal life and eternal condemnation;
- that all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God;
- that all Christians are called to a life of holiness, devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ and service for Him;
- that there is a spiritual being called Satan (the devil);
- that God has ordained marriage as a heterosexual relationship between a natural man and a natural woman;
- and that the Lord Jesus Christ appointed two ordinances:
- Baptism, which is the immersion of the Believer in water as a public confession of identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, and
- the Lord’s Supper, which is the partaking of bread and wine as symbolical of the Saviour’s broken body and shed blood, in remembrance of His sacrificial death, until He comes
The Church further believes in the following distinctive Baptist emphases:
- The DIRECT LORDSHIP OF CHRIST over every believer and over the local church. By this we understand that Christ exercises His authority over the believer and the local church directly, without delegating it to another.
- The CHURCH as the whole company of those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The local church, being a manifestation of the universal church, is a community of believers in a particular place where the Word of God is preached and the ordinances of Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are observed. It is fully autonomous and remains so notwithstanding responsibilities it may accept by voluntary association.
- BELIEVER’S BAPTISM as an act of obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ and a sign of personal repentance, faith and regeneration; it consists of the immersion in water into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- The CONGREGATIONAL PRINCIPLE, namely that each member has the privilege and responsibility to use his/her gifts and abilities to participate fully in the life of the church. We recognise that God gifts His Church with Overseers (who are called Pastors or Elders) whose primary function is to lead in a spirit of servanthood, to equip and provide spiritual oversight, and Deacons whose primary function is to facilitate the smooth functioning of the Church. This principle further recognises that each member should participate in the appointment of the church’s leaders, and that a constituted church meeting, subject to the direct Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture, is the highest court of authority for the local church.
- The PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS, by which we understand that each Christian has direct access to God through Christ our High Priest, and shares with Him in His work of reconciliation. This involves intercession, worship, faithful service and bearing witness to Jesus Christ, even to the ends of the earth.
- The principle of RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, namely, that no individual should be coerced either by the State or by any secular, ecclesiastical or religious group in matters of faith. The right of private conscience is to be respected. For each believer this means the right to interpret the Scriptures responsibly and to act in the light of his conscience.
- The principle of SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE in that, in the providence of God, the two differ in their respective natures and functions. The Church is not to be identified with the State nor is it, in its faith or practice, to be directed or controlled by the State. The State is responsible for administering justice, ensuring an orderly community, and promoting the welfare of its citizens. The Church is responsible for preaching the Gospel and for demonstrating and making known God’s will and care for all mankind.