The First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg exists to help people experience God’s gift of life in Jesus. We invite people into a dynamic Christian gathering to…
- meet GOD,
- connect with one another, and
- embrace opportunities to impact our world for the good.
We feel God calling us to be:
- An intergenerational, diverse, family of faith, united in Christ.
- A warm, inviting church that welcomes everyone, reaches out to the unchurched, while loving and caring for each other.
- An active and relevant church, biblically-based and faithful in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to our congregation, our community, and around the world through missions support and involvement.
Our Christian Identity
First Baptist Church is a fellowship of Christians in the Baptist tradition.
Our Christian identity is shaped by our shared confession: "Jesus is Lord."
Our Baptist Identity
As Christians in the Baptist tradition, we emphasize what Baptist historian Walter Shurden coined the "Four Fragile Freedoms". Those are:
- Soul Freedom - We believe in the priesthood of all believers and affirm the freedom and responsibility of every person to relate directly to God without the imposition of creed or the control of clergy or government.
- Bible Freedom - We believe in the authority of Scripture. We believe the Bible, under the Lordship of Christ, is central to the life of the individual and the church. We affirm the freedom and right of every Christian to interpret and apply scripture under the leadership of the Holy Spirit within the context of Christian community.
- Church Freedom - We believe in the autonomy of every local church. We believe Baptist churches are free, under the Lordship of Christ, to determine their membership and leadership, to order their worship and work, to ordain whomever they perceive as gifted for ministry, and to participate as they deem appropriate in the larger body of Christ. In line with this freedom, First Baptist affirms the participation of women and men in all aspects of church leadership and Christian ministry.
- Religious Freedom - We believe in the freedom of religion, freedom from religion, and freedom for religion. We support the separation of church and state.
As Baptists, we do not have a creed, but from time-to-time groups of Baptists have written down shared beliefs for the purposes of facilitating cooperation in important works of mission and ministry. One such document many in our fellowship would hold accurately reflect our shared beliefs is The Baptist Faith and Message, 1963. Among our practices of faith as Baptists are two ordinances given us by Jesus:
- Believer’s Baptism – It is our practice to baptize, generally by immersion, those who claim Jesus as Lord. This serves as a powerful symbol of their new life in Jesus and first step of obedience in following him. Because of our belief in soul freedom and the priesthood of all believers, it is not our practice to baptize infants nor anyone who has not yet confessed Jesus as Lord.
- Lord’s Supper – It is our practice to invite all those who share our confession of Jesus as Lord to the table to share bread and grape juice, which symbolize Jesus’ broken body and spilled blood, respectively. This practice, also called communion, was established by Jesus with his disciples on the night before he was crucified and has been practiced by followers of Jesus ever since. It is an important part of our worshipping life together, and an enduring symbol of Christian unity and reconciliation with God through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and resurrection.
We believe the Bible is the written word of God and the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. Jesus, Son of God, is the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted. John 1:18; John 5:39; 2 Timothy 3:14–17
There is one God – creator and sovereign of heaven and earth – revealed in three persons: The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. To God we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. Deuteronomy 6:4; Revelation 1:8; Mark 1:9-11
God loves all human beings and intends that we live – with God and with one another – authentically, joyfully, and eternally. John 3:16
All human beings – in multiple ways and at varying times – reject God’s holy love and attempt to create life of, for and/or by ourselves; an attempt which results in disruption of relations to God and to others, dissolution of the human self and finally death. Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23
In Jesus Christ, God acts to rescue all humans from the powers and fatal end of sin, and as we trust and obey Jesus Christ, to recreate us for life with God and with one another. Ephesians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 1:7
Jesus Christ – Son of God, wholly God and wholly human – lived a sinless life, died as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all human beings, was buried, arose bodily from the grave, and ascended into heaven, where he reigns as Lord. Philippians 2:5-11
The Spirit of God acts on, within and through human beings to convince us of our need for God. The Holy Spirit enables us to embrace Jesus as Lord, guides us into truth, energizes our worship, empowers our witness and assures our eternal relationship with God and God’s community. John 16:7–14
Personhood in Jesus
To trust and obey Jesus is to embrace life in a relationship with God – a relationship which is marked by a trusting intimacy and obedient service. John 1:12
Community in Jesus
Trusting and obeying Jesus is to embrace life in God’s community, through whom God announces to the world the good news about Jesus, and shapes human beings for authentic and eternal life - life abundant and purpose-filled. John 20:21; 1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 4:15–16; 1 Peter 2:17
God will bring history to its completion: Jesus will return to judge all human beings and to establish God’s eternal kingdom. John 14:1–4; 2 Corinthians 5:10