Our Vision

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Arms

 
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Open Hearts

When we decide to follow Jesus, we're not just making a choice that alleviates a sense of guilt or shame for things we may or may not have done. The decision to follow Christ is the decision to follow the path of love. As 1 John 4:7-8 says, "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love." Jesus' life exemplified what human love can look like. He showed us what perfect, self-giving, love can truly be; and, in the process, he showed us what true human flourishing can look like. By opening our hearts up to God, to be transformed by grace, we follow Christ's example and in turn see others as our neighbors - dignified and worthy of the same kind of love that we have received.

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Open Minds

Baptists are interesting for three reasons. First, they're in the habit of dunking people. Second, they're kind of unruly. They like the idea of freedom and autonomy. Finally, they believe that churches should be governed from a bottom-up approach, rather than a top-down approach. Congregations, like people, tend to have their own journeys and experiences. This can lead them to have different ideas about things. As a people of faith, we believe that it's important to respect this. We're not absolute relativists, but we do think that it's important to come to respect the ways that God may speak into the lives of other people. It is only God's Word, as revealed through scripture, that is truly authoritative.

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Open Arms

We believe that spiritual maturity is often shown in how closely we are able to follow Christ. Following Jesus requires us to submit to his example and his teachings. As people who are forgiven, we can be grateful and happy for that, but we should also try to spread the Good News of God's grace and love. It's easy to forget that Jesus only told the story of the Good Samaritan after he instructed an educated man to "love your neighbor as yourself" to which the man replied, "And who is my neighbor?" In Jesus' parable, only the Samaritan treated the man by the side of the road as a neighbor. We strive, with God's help, to love our neighbors - all of them - as we would ourselves.


Beliefs


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As the divinely-inspired word of God, the Bible for us reveals our faith and its mandated practice.
 
As the most racially diverse denomination in Protestantism, American Baptist Churches USA has seen that commitment for inclusiveness manifest itself in the makeup of its churches and their members.
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American Baptist churches began ordaining women even before the formation of the denomination.
 
The Christian faith is centered in a person. It is not a legalistic code which forms our faith; it is the living Christ... We should recognize that the quest for Christian unity is a response to the Gospel of Christ
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While we rejoice in gains made in civil rights in past years, we recognize that much still remains to be done if equal opportunity is to become a reality for all the citizens of this nation.
 
Our responsibility as stewards is one of the most basic relationships we have with God.
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For Christians... refugee policy... must reflect humanitarian values, respond to the needs of people within and outside of our own nation alike, and recognize the effect our trade and foreign assistance policies have on developing countries if internal pressures for emigration are to be reduced.