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The Alliance of Baptists
The Alliance of Baptists is a movement of progressive Christians – individuals and congregations – seeking to respond to the continuing call of God in a rapidly changing world. The Alliance offers a clear voice for Christian freedom, distinctively Baptist and intentionally ecumenical in an interfaith world.
From its inception in early 1987, the Alliance has called Baptists to stand for those values which have distinguished the Baptist movement from its beginnings four centuries ago – the freedom and accountability of every individual in matters of faith; the freedom of each congregation under the authority of Jesus Christ to determine its own ministry and mission; and religious freedom for all in relationship to the state. Alliance members and churches mark our commitment to God and each other by the annual renewal of our uniquely Baptist founding covenant.
The Alliance is grounded in a story that still matters. Rooted in a noble tradition, our members and churches continue to respond in faith to the One who makes all things new. In addition to the historic Baptist principles, traditions and freedoms expressed in the Alliance covenant, the life of the Alliance today is increasingly shaped by:
- A commitment to inclusiveness, each person valued as God’s beloved, uniquely gifted to reveal and enable God’s work in the world;
- A respect for freedom, each voice affirmed as an expression essential to our gathered witness, whether lifted in agreement or dissent;
- A devotion to discernment, each action crafted in the context of active listening and careful and deliberate thought, with a goal of lasting consensus;
- A reverence for mystery, each Christian awed by the transcendence of God, open to being surprised by God, and humble enough to admit that she or he is not God;
- A hunger and thirst for social justice, each believer called to do the transformative work of Christ in the compassionate spirit of Christ; and
- A passion for partnership, modeled in how we do Alliance work together and in our relationships with other people of faith, each collaboration celebrated as an occasion for that spiritual synergy which grows from connecting God’s people with one another.
In a time when historic Baptist principles, freedoms, and traditions need a clear voice, and in our personal and corporate response to the call of God in Jesus Christ to be disciples and servants in the world, we commit ourselves to:
- The freedom of the individual, led by God’s Spirit within the family of faith, to read and interpret the Scriptures, relying on the historical understanding by the church and on the best methods of modern biblical study;
- The freedom of the local church under the authority of Jesus Christ to shape its own life and mission, call its own leadership, and ordain whom it perceives as gifted for ministry, male or female;
- The larger body of Jesus Christ, expressed in various Christian traditions, and to a cooperation with believers everywhere in giving full expression to the Gospel;
- The servant role of leadership within the church, following the model of our Servant Lord, and to full partnership of all of God’s people in mission and ministry;
- Theological education in congregations, colleges, and seminaries characterized by reverence for biblical authority and respect for open inquiry and responsible scholarship;
- The proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ and the calling of God to all peoples to repentance and faith, reconciliation and hope, social and economic justice;
- The principle of a free church in a free state and the opposition to any effort either by church or state to use the other for its own purposes.
To keep faith with our covenant we will:
- Make the worship of God primary in all our gatherings.
- Foster relationships within the Alliance and with other people of faith.
- Create places of refuge and renewal for those who are wounded or ignored by the church.
- Side with those who are poor.
- Pursue justice with and for those who are oppressed.
- Care for the earth.
- Work for peace.
- Honor wisdom and lifelong learning.
- Hold ourselves accountable for equity, collegiality, and diversity.
Twenty-five year ago the Alliance formed around a covenant embodying distinctly Baptist principles. Immediately after its inception, the Alliance responded to the guidance of the Spirit to bear witness to a God who has abundant compassion for those living at the margins – people who are poor, oppressed, disenfranchised. With a heart for mission, the Bridges of Hope Mission Offering was born.
And with that new creation the Alliance set out to do global mission in partnership and in collaboration.
- We empower our mission partners to do their work on their terms, not ours. They are the experts on the mission field.
- We minister with our mission partners knowing they have much to teach us about growing a vital and healthy church.
- We do not own the mission project; through our relationships we minister with others enabling them to respond to needs in their communities.
- We respect and value persons of other faiths, their spirituality and wisdom, and with them we seek to be friends, pray, serve and develop understanding.
- We engage in mission in partnership with others acknowledging our position of having been marginalized in Baptist life and less powerful.
- We are all missionaries. We are on mission together empowered by the One who calls us friend.