The church is a covenantal community of the committed.
A Little History
Baptists as a denomination trace their spiritual history back to Europe in the 16th and 17th Centuries. The name Baptist comes from this early history and association with the Anabaptists. Baptists believe only people who’ve had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ can belong to the church.
You can’t be born a Christian: at some point in your life you choose to belong to Christ’s church. Another distinctive is the theological concept of the ‘priesthood of all believers.’ And how that is applied to our gathering and our governance.
Kaiapoi Baptist Church is a member of the Baptist Union of New Zealand. The Baptist Union is a legal entity through its own Act of Parliament, and as such gives cover, administrative guidance, theological training, mission
empowerment and specialised consultation to member churches and holds church property as Trustee owner.
Although Kaiapoi Baptist Church is a member of the Baptist Union it is also locally autonomous. This means that we are locally autonomous. This means that we are free to “interpret and administer the laws of Christ and to govern our own affairs” This also means that we are responsible for our: financial, administrative and legal responsibilities.
Membership – A Covenant Commitment
Membership of a local congregation is ecclesiastical in nature not salvific. (It does not contribute to salvation, we are saved by Christ alone. Romans 5:1-2) Baptist have always agreed that the church exists in two expressions:
One, to refer to the local congregation
The other, “the one great church of Jesus Christ, those known to God on earth and in heaven.” Therefore we do not consider salvation to be dependent on membership of a local congregation. Because we see the church as existing locally and globally. The local congregation has always been the primary expression of church for Baptists.
Membership in a local church from a Baptist perspective is about
a covenant with people, in a place, at a particular time.
Membership is for those who have publicly confessed their faith in Jesus Christ. The church isn’t just a club, it is the people of God, the Body of Christ. “Since the church is the very Body of Christ in the world, it cannot be constituted, but rather is manifested when Christians come together in one place.”
Membership & Governance
In Baptist governance and church meetings everyone is allowed to speak as the church (the Body of Christ) gathers to discern the mind of Christ. Only members (those who have formally committed to this people and place) are allowed to vote during a members meeting. Although this makes our meetings democratic they are in essence theocratic (ruled by God) so members do not have the right to say anything they please – only that which is loving, constructive, true and that which humbly seeks the mind of Christ.