Baptists hold many traditional Christian beliefs when it comes to God and the nature of God. In particular, Baptists support the doctrine of the Trinity, that God is one God manifested in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. For Baptists, the Holy Spirit plays a specific role in salvation, Christian living and church life.
Baptists stand with the historic Christian doctrine of the Trinity. While Baptists tend to shun formalized statements of historic Christian belief such as the early Church creeds, they nevertheless hold to the same tenets. Baptists believe the Holy Spirit is God, that the Holy Spirit is equal with God the Father and God the Son (Jesus Christ). They believe each person of the Trinity is distinct yet all three are fully God in their very nature.
The Holy Spirit's first role in the world is to convict human beings of sin, according to Baptists. They believe it's the Holy Spirit that works in the heart of a person to help him understand his wrongdoing and sinful nature. Baptists refer to this as "conviction." The Holy Spirit creates feelings of guilt in people, opening them up to the idea that they need to be saved. Many other Christian denominations also agree with this belief.
Righteousness and Understanding
Baptists believe the Holy Spirit also plays a role in the life of believers. They believe this role is twofold: to empower the believer to live righteously and to help the believer understand the Bible. Baptists don't believe human beings can live a completely perfect or sinless life, but they believe the Holy Spirit helps the believer to live a more righteous life than the believer could achieve alone. They also believe the Holy Spirit plays a direct role in helping human beings to understand the meaning of the Bible.
The Holy Spirit also actively empowers believers with spiritual gifts, according to Baptists. Examples of these spiritual gifts include teaching, preaching and evangelism. Most Baptists do not believe in a modern expression of miraculous spiritual gifts described in the Bible, such as speaking in tongues and prophecy. Some Baptists go so far as to believe that Christians who speak in tongues are actually possessed by an evil spirit, rather than being used by the Holy Spirit. There are, however, some Baptists who believe in and practice these spiritual gifts.
- Paul Chappell: Baptists and the Holy Spirit
- Christian Post: Educating Baptists on the Holy Spirit
- Baptist Bible Hour: God, the Holy Spirit
- All About Baptists: God the Holy Spirit
- Christian Broadcasting Network: Southern Baptists Struggle with the Holy Spirit
- Southern Baptist Convention: The Baptist Faith & Message
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