With Christian around the world, we confess the historic and traditional faith of the Church:
- WE BELIEVE and RECEIVE GOD’S FOREVER FORGIVING LOVE in JESUS CHRIST by the HOLY SPIRIT – We are followers of Jesus Christ! God invites all people to respond to the Lordship of Christ in all circumstances by gifting them the fundamental freedom to accept or reject the Christian gospel; and
- WE TEACH AND OBEY the BIBLE – The Bible (Old and New Testament) is the final authority and trustworthy for faith and practice. It is to be interpreted responsibly under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit within the community of faith;
- WE GATHER and SUPPORT the LOCAL CHURCH – The Church is God’s gift to the world as regenerated followers of Jesus gather for worship, friendship, encouragement, and service.
- WE ARE COMMITTED to MISSION, SERVICE, and EVANGELISM – That witness to Christ is the ongoing task of every Christian and of every church unto the ends of the earth.
Autonomous, Independent Christian Church in the Baptist Tradition
West Side Baptist Church is an autonomous (self-governing), independent Christian congregation that adheres to the teachings of God revealed in the Holy Bible (the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments). We cherish several distinctives which make our faith and traditions unique (see https://www.baptistdistinctives.org), including, but not limited to:
- BIBLICAL AUTHORITY – We believe the Holy Bible is the only written authority for faith and practice. The Bible contains everything a person needs for salvation, faith, spirituality, and Christian living.
- CHURCH AUTONOMY – Autonomy means that each local congregation, among other things, has self-rule (self-governance and direction) under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and, therefore, is free to select its leadership – both lay and clergy, determine its worship form, decide its affiliation and denominational practices or none, direct its financial matters, own and care for their property, elect representatives and delegates who speak freely on matters of common concern, and direct other church-related affairs without outside control or supervision. Baptist denominational organizations such as associations of churches and state and national conventions have no authority over a local Baptist church.
- PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS – We believe every baptized Christian has the opportunity and responsibility to relate to God and serve the Lord directly as believing priests under Jesus Christ’s Lordship. Every believer in a local congregation of believers has the authority and duty to preach/teach the Word of God, administer the ordinance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (holy communion), serve in leadership and sacrifice, and pray (free intercession) to and with God on behalf of the world. The local church calls and elects individuals freely to serve as ordained clergy for special offices devoted to preaching, teaching, evangelism, missionary service, leadership, etc.
- REGENERATED CHURCH (BELIEVER’S CHURCH) – We believe Christ’s church is a fellowship of redeemed persons who have voluntarily followed Jesus as Lord and voluntarily associated with one another under God’s lordship and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thus we believe that only saved persons should be members of a local congregation. Baptists also believe that saved persons should be members of a church who are gathered together as God’s redeemed fellowship. While becoming a Christian is an individual response to faith, growing as a Christian is enhanced by fellowship with other Christians. The Christian life was designed not as a solo endeavor but as a fellowship experience, with a church being the primary fellowship.
- SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE – We recognize no governmental control over faith and religious practice. Although Baptist churches obey the laws of governments related to some issues, they refuse to recognize the authority of governments in matters of doctrine, polity and ministry (Matthew 22:21). Baptists have consistently rejected the efforts of any secular government entity to dictate to a church what to believe, how to worship or who should or should not be members.
- SOUL COMPETENCY – We believe every person has the God-given freedom and ability to know and respond to God’s grace and will – including rejecting God or practicing no faith without outside interference or coercion – and make choices that decide their lifestyle and future.