As Baptists, we have much in common with other Christians. In agreement with faithful Christians around the world, we believe the following:
We believe in one true, good and living God who exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. (Gen. 1:1, 26; John 1:1,3; Eph. 4:5-6)
God the Father
We believe in God the Father, the eternal and personal Creator and Ruler over all that exists. He is all-powerful and all-sufficient, yet conducts Himself with mercy towards humanity. He hears and answers prayer according to His wisdom, love and will. He draws people to Himself through His Son, saving and forgiving those who come to Him through Jesus. (Psa. 139; Luke 10:21-22; I Pet. 1:3)
God the Holy Spirit
We believe in God the Holy Spirit, eternally one with the Father and the Son. Through His guidance He enables people to understand Truth. He is the divine agent by which believers are born into the Family of God. He indwells all believers and as our constant helper, He calls, sanctifies, empowers, teaches and equips us. He enables all believers to live in union with God the Father and God the Son. (John 16:8-14; Rom. 8:9, 12-13; I Cor. 12:13)
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. It is absolutely trustworthy as our guide for life and for our relationship with God and with people. (John 20:31; II Pet. 3:16; Heb. 4:12)
We believe that Salvation is the gracious gift of God by which he justifies (makes right), sanctifies (continues to grow) and glorifies (fully restores) sinners. There is nothing that we can do to earn salvation; it comes by grace alone through faith in Christ. Apart from Christ’s atoning sacrifice, we are all subject to our own sinful natures and are thus separated from fellowship with God. But the Gospel is the act of God making a way for us to exchange our sinful nature for His righteous nature and be adopted into His family where we are secure forever. (John 6:44; Rom. 8:2, 30; Eph. 1:4-12; Phil. 2:13)
God the Son
We believe in God the Son, Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father. He took on human nature, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, performed many signs and wonders, and taught the words of eternal life. He offered Himself as a substitution, an atoning sacrifice, for sinners. He was crucified, died, and was buried. He rose again three days later and ascended to Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father where He is constantly interceding for us. Salvation is found through Christ alone. It is only by the blood of His death that we are able to live in right relationship with God. He is worthy of worship, service and complete obedience. He will come again personally, sent by God the Father, to judge His creation and call the Family of God together to experience eternal, abundant and perfect life in the presence of God. At His appearance, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord of all. (Matt. 20:28; I John 2:2; Rom. 5:6-8; Heb. 9:28; Rev. 5:12-14)
Specifically as Baptists, the following is how we understand the church. In agreement with other Baptists, we believe the following:
Baptism by immersion in water is the rite of initiation into the church. It is reserved for those who publicly profess their faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we baptize believers only, not infants.
A New Testament church is made up of believers only. Children and grandchildren of members are precious to God and are important to their families within the church, but they cannot be members themselves until they consciously place their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
The Lord's Supper
The Lord’s Supper is a celebration of the presence and grace of Jesus Christ. By faith, we meet the risen Lord at his table in a unique and powerful way.
Priesthood of All Believers
All Christians are priests before God. Baptists elevate the laity so that every member is a minister.
Autonomy of the Local Church
Every Baptist church receives its marching orders from Jesus Christ. No church has to gain permission from another church in order to do what it believes is the will of God. At the same time, Baptist churches have a long history of cooperating with one another to expand and further the Kingdom of God in the world.
In their earliest years, Baptists were persecuted for their convictions about religious liberty. Having suffered at the hands of those who wanted to unite church and state, Baptists have long stood for the absolute religious liberty of all people, achieved through the separation of church and state. “A free church in a free nation” is the motto of Baptists.
The two church offices in a Baptist congregation are ministers and deacons. Ministers are the spiritual leaders of the church, overseeing worship, proclamation, discipleship, and all other ministries. Deacons are the primary models of lay ministry, serving the church through family ministry, outreach, and prayerful consideration of major proposals offered by church committees and teams. Deacons are not a governing body of the church, but rather a ministering body, discerning and modeling the best ways that Calvary can reach others with Christ’s love.
What Kind of Baptist Are We?
First, we are evangelical Baptists. This means we are Gospel-centered. Jesus Christ is the most common name in our church’s vocabulary. The Bible is the primary book we study. We are concerned about knowing Jesus Christ and making him known to others. While we are Baptist, we believe that God is bigger than Baptists. We rejoice in God’s activity in numerous denominations and para-church groups. We want to cooperate with and be open to all that God is doing in these organizations. We respect and love anyone who makes the common Christian confession, “Jesus is Lord.” We are more interested in the Kingdom of God than in a specific denominational label. We are open-minded Baptists. Within the limits of the New Testament, we want our members to enjoy the freedom that comes in following Jesus Christ. This does not mean that one person is free to use the Bible while another uses the Koran, or that one is free to worship Jesus while another bows to Buddha, or that one is free to obey the Golden Rule while another is free to reject it. Being open-minded does not give a believer the right to ignore or disobey Biblical teachings and the example of Jesus. With that said, however, there is not a lock-step mentality at Calvary that requires every Christian to look, walk, and talk the same. Our goal is to follow Jesus Christ, and that necessitates a spirit of liberty (and responsibility) which we cherish here.
Based on our beliefs of who God is and what He has done, this is how we as a congregation seek to live:
Calvary seeks to provide people with opportunities to worship the Lord corporately and tools with which to worship the Lord individually. Corporately, we have worship services for all age groups centered around music and teaching of the Word, works and ways of Jesus. We believe that worship is not just confined to the large group gatherings, but happens every time we attribute worth to Jesus. With that in mind we have small groups that center on Bible teaching, discussion and fellowship. We also believe that it is vital for every believer to grow and foster their own individual relationship with God, so we provide tools in the form of devotional material, Bible study curriculum, daily readings, weekly Psalms, and pastoral care.
Discipleship (Small Groups)
Calvary believes that it is the mission of all Christian congregations and individuals to make disciples that make disciples. We also believe that a result of people becoming disciples is the community, or family, that is formed when followers of Jesus come together. We seek to foster discipleship through small group teaching and fellowship and through discipling relationships, the intentional investment of one believer to another, which includes both invitation and challenge.
Calvary has been blessed by God so that we can be a blessing to others. We want our local community to have a more accurate picture of who God is because of the way we live out His story here. We do this by working alongside various churches and non-profits in Tuscaloosa with whom we maintain intentional partnerships. We also want to be a part of sharing the love of God with people in other parts of the country and the world. Calvary takes mission trips annually both in the States and abroad and launches missionaries regularly to go into all the world.