Baptists are committed to evangelism, to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ so that others might believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Commitment to evangelism as a priority is evident in practically every aspect of Baptist life.
The Bases of Evangelism
Evangelism is not some sort of fringe concern but rather an integral part of who Baptists are. The Baptist emphasis on evangelism is not based on anything less than the beliefs and practices that comprise Baptist distinctives.
For example, belief in the lordship of Christ is a bedrock Baptist conviction. Because Jesus is Lord, those who follow him are to do as he commands. Jesus commanded, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). He further declared, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8). The Great Commandment of Jesus (Matthew 22:36-40) calls for sharing the good news about him; love of neighbors certainly involves telling them about salvation in Christ.
For Baptists, the Bible is the authoritative source of teaching about doctrine and the Christian life. The Bible teaches that salvation from the power and penalty of sin, from hell to heaven, comes only through faith in God’s grace gift of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18; Ephesians 2:8-10). The Bible records Jesus’ statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Salvation does not come from good works, or through sacraments, or by baptism or in church membership but only by a faith response to God’s grace gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Thus, the Bible also emphasizes the importance of sharing the gospel so that people might know to believe in Jesus and be saved (Romans 10:13-17).
Salvation involves a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Baptists believe that the Bible teaches that salvation is experiential, that it results from an experience of personal repentance of sin and of faith in Christ. Jesus compared this to being born again (John 3:7). The experience is not necessarily emotional, but it is personal. No one can do this for another.
The Bible teaches that the gospel is for everyone, that whosoever believes in Christ as Lord and Savior can find salvation (John 3:16; Romans 10:13). Therefore, all people are to be urged to trust in Christ as Savior and to follow him as Lord.