The basic doctrinal beliefs of Evangelical Christian Baptists, based on the Holy Scriptures, are formulated into seven basic principles of Evangelical Christian Baptists.
Principle 1. The Holy Scriptures - the books of the Old and New Testaments (canonical) are the basis of the beliefs of the Evangelical Christian Baptists.
Evangelical Christian Baptists only consider the Bible to be the basis of their faith, world view and morality. The Lord Jesus Christ prayed for his followers, “Sanctify them through the truth; Your word is truth”(John 17:17). The Bible is the Word of God, God's written revelation. Therefore, it is the Bible that must be obeyed as God's voice. No human wisdom can replace or complement the Word of God.
The Bible is a complete and perfect message of God, absolutely necessary and absolutely sufficient for salvation and the full spiritual life. Anything contrary to the Bible and not derived from its text, cannot be part of the faith of evangelical Christian Baptists.
Principle 2. The church should consist exclusively of regenerated people.
The local Christian church should be a community of sincerely believers, born-again people. According to the Word of God, “One body and one spirit,… one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in all of us ”(Ephesians 4: 4-6). Evangelical Baptist Christians believe that faith is not inherited and that one does not become a Christian simply by attending or joining the church.
Only sincere repentance and faith make a person a Christian, and only then a believer should join himself to the local church of regenerated Christians like him. Therefore, Evangelical Baptist Christians do not add to the church records, all those who attend it, believing that the formal inclusion of unregenerate people into the church membership is a deviation from the Word of God and the path to spiritual death of the church.
Principle 3. Baptism and the Lord's Supper belong exclusively to regenerated people.
Evangelical Baptist Christians believe that water baptism and the Lord's Supper are the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ for the church. The Savior established water baptism before His Ascension to Heavenly Father, commanding the disciples “... Jesus said to them: All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go then, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28: 18-20).
The Lord's Supper was set by Christ before His atoning sufferings "... do this in remembrance of Me. Also the cup after supper, saying: This cup [is] the New Covenant in My blood, which is shed for you ”(Luke 22: 19,20). Evangelical Baptist Christians do not believe that baptism and the Lord's Supper are works that give salvation. Only living faith in Christ saves. Baptism and Communion support and encourage the faith of already saved people; they do not complement the Holy Scripture to affect any righteousness. In symbolic form, they visibly indicate and express truths that believers already know from the Word of God. They serve for the spiritual affirmation and reminder of the salvation of the spiritual unity of all believers.
Water baptism indicates that a person is born again. Therefore, Evangelical Baptist Christians do not baptize babies who cannot yet consciously believe. The water of baptism does not literally wash away sins, but testifies to a spiritual rebirth that has already taken place. The Lord's Supper testifies of the salvation of man through the broken Body and the shed Blood of Christ. Bread and wine are a picture of the Body and Blood of Christ, but do not become them in any way.
Principle 4. The independence of each individual local church.
Each church that is a member of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists (UECB) maintains internal independence or autonomy. After the Apostles on Earth, there is no longer any authority standing over church communities. We consider any supra-church hierarchy that dominates churches to be non-biblical. Every local church has the right to:
All of the above constitutes the exclusive prerogative of the local church and cannot be decided for the church by anyone from outside. Preserving their independence, local churches are members of regional associations and the Russian Union, they maintain brotherly relationship between churches of the same faith, "eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph.4:3).
Principle 5. Equal rights of all members of the local church.
In God's eyes, all Christians who are members of the local church are equal. This means every church member:
- is a priest and has direct access to Christ through prayer and the Word of God;
- is called to testify about his faith in Christ;
- should serve the church with their spiritual gift(s);
- is mutually responsible for the spiritual health and condition of the church;
- has an equal right to vote when making major church decisions.
Equality does not mean that ministers, elders and deacons do not have special rights and duties. These servants must be respected by the church members in obedience to God’s word (Heb 13:17). The ministers, in turn, are accountable to the church membership (1 Peter 5:2-3).
Principle 6. Freedom of conscience for all.
Evangelical Christian Baptists believe that following Christ is voluntary. In spiritual matters there should not any violation against the conscience of man. Religious beliefs are a personal matter of the individual. Neither the state, nor society, nor representatives of other religious movements have the right to interfere in the relationship between God and man and in the field of personal convictions.
No one has the right to deprive a person of the freedom of spiritual choice granted by God Himself. Freedom of conscience includes not only the right to adhere to certain religious beliefs, but also the opportunity to worship God in accordance with them, as well as the opportunity to share one's views with other people. Therefore, it is desirable that the government maintain religious neutrality.
Principle 7. Separation of church and state.
The church and the government are divine institutions created for various purposes. The church is called to proclaim the kingdom of God, salvation in Christ, and eternal spiritual values. The state serves for earthly temporary purposes:
- helping to keep order and peace in society;
- the limitation of evil;
- encouraging virtues.
There is a difference not only in the goals, but also in the methods of their achievements. Attempts by the state to interfere in the internal affairs of religious associations or attempts by church structures to interfere in the activities of state bodies always lead to a distortion of God's plan, both in relation to the church and the state.
Evangelical Baptist Christians consider it right that church and state be separated from each other. “... now give unto Caesar what is Caesar, and God to God” (Matthew 22:21). At the same time, the church must honor and respect state laws.