What do we believe?
We endorse The New Baptist Covenant that was put forward in January of 2008. It says:
Baptists of North America covenant together to:
- Create an authentic and prophetic Baptist voice for these complex times,
- Emphasize traditional Baptist values, including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private morality, and
- Promote peace and justice, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and marginalized, welcome the strangers among us, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.
Throughout decades and even centuries, many have written about the principles we presently call our traditional Baptist values. Such writings include historical, theological, spiritual, and biblical perspectives. The following is largely fostered by that provided by our American Baptist USA denomination.
- PRIESTHOOD OF BELIEVERS: Every person can approach God directly through Christ without the aid of human priests. Each believer should be a witness to others.
- LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST: Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and humanity. He is the living Lord of the Bible and the living Lord of today. He is the head of the church.
- BELIEVER'S BAPTISM: Baptism should be administered only to believers and followers of Christ, and the mode is immersion, as taught in the New Testament.
- SUPREMACY OF SCRIPTURES: The Bible, which can be read and understood by all believers, is our final authority in faith and conduct.
- AUTONOMY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH: Each local church is self-governing, choosing its own pastor and managing its own affairs.
- EVANGELIZATION OF THE WORLD: Baptists take seriously the Great Commission of Christ. Therefore, they endeavor to win people to Christ at home and abroad.
- SEPARATION OF CHURCH & STATE: The state should protect all religious groups and favor none.
- REGENERATE CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: Church membership is only for baptized believers who bear witness to the new life in Christ.
- RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: Every person is responsible to God for his or her religious beliefs and practices. All persons therefore should have the right to worship God as their own convictions and consciences dictate.
The above list of Baptist Beliefs and descriptions are from The New Member's Guide, Revised Edition, Judson Press, 2001, p. 15.Return to top of page
What does it mean to be a Christian?
Called to personal discipleship in Christ Jesus, we of Luther Rice Memorial Baptist Church are committed... (Vision Statement, Luther Rice Memorial Baptist Church, 2006)
We at Luther Rice strive to be intentional about faith, which means that the living out of our faith is a direct result of working at it. Faith is not a casual thing. It is something that requires a conscious decision.
Assume that God is always inviting you to be in a relationship. Praying the words, "Yes, Lord," in response to this ongoing invitation is one very simple way of entering into this relationship. Believing that Jesus Christ was God�s human son who gave His life so that we might begin to understand how much God loves us is another way to begin. Simply put, becoming a Christian is easy, like A-B-C! "A" is for ASK. Ask God to help you receive all the love that is already yours for the taking! "B" is for BELIEVE. Believe that Jesus was God's son and that the Holy Spirit enables you to actually have a personal, meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ today. "C" is for CONFESS. Honestly confess your sins in prayer. Actually listing them before God helps us to be honest and intentional about changing our sinful ways. It also helps us remember that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that an honest, regular examination of our own hearts is an important part of being a believer (Psalm 139:23).Return to top of page
Called to personal discipleship in Christ Jesus, we of Luther Rice Memorial Baptist Church are committed to being a Christ-centered, biblically grounded, ethnically diverse, people. As a people of prayer, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will strive to be a community of faith and service, that the gospel might be preached and lived in our community, nation, and world.Return to top of page
A New History: God Has Begun to REVIVE Us!
Join Us as We Strive to Make a Difference in Today's World
True to its namesake (Luther Rice was a wonderful missionary in the early 1800's), LRMBC has MISSIONS at heart. Some individuals who grew up in our church have become foreign missionaries, and Luther Rice Memorial Baptist Church regularly supports them as well as others in countries like Liberia, Thailand, the Philippines, India, and Cuba. The church identifies with American Baptist Churches through active membership in the District of Columbia Baptist Convention. It also supports and benefits from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist World Alliance. On a local level, Luther Rice has an active Seniors Program and a clothing and food ministry called the Luther Rice Neighborhood Center. Historically, our church has always cared deeply about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ beyond its own walls.
While its MISSIONS heritage is rich, this family of faith struggled in the past. Decades ago, relational adversity and changing venue affected the church's attendance and consequently its spirit. Though the congregation had a heyday in the 60's and early 70's, numerical decline became apparent in the early eighties. Responding pro-actively, this building-rich church invited two non-profit schools to share its space, along with two international congregations.
By God's grace, our congregation has really changed FOR THE BETTER in recent months! We are becoming younger, more diverse, and we are growing. Indeed, God has begun to revive us. We are praying to become an increasingly vibrant, healthy, open, active witness for Jesus Christ!
In summary, our church and its individual members are on an exciting journey of faith! We are confident that God has a fruitful plan for us. Encountering God's love and grace over and over again in our DIVERSITY, we are discovering that our UNITY in Jesus Christ strengthens an already strong heart for missions! Join us as we seek to make a difference in today's world. God is certainly making a difference in our lives!Return to top of page
What is believer's baptism about?
We practice baptism by immersion. This means that baptism occurs in water, following the example of Jesus� baptism as it is described in all four of the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Once you publicly profess belief in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you will be encouraged to be baptized. This is done no matter what your age. Baptism is regarded as a testimony or public announcement of one's faith. Furthermore, it is symbolic of what happens to a Christian when a new life of faith begins. When a person is immersed, it is like saying, "I am forever forgiven for my sins." When a person rises from the waters of baptism, it is like saying, "I will walk in newness of life." While a person does not have to be baptized to be a Christian, the church encourages that all of its members be baptized believers. A baptism usually takes place near the beginning of any Sunday morning worship service, and it requires advance arrangement with the pastor.Return to top of page
What kind of Baptist are we?
In true Baptist form, Luther Rice Church has voluntarily aligned itself with several other Baptist groups.
For regional, national and global efforts, we are currently aligned with:
- D.C. Baptist Convention (www.dcbaptist.org)
- Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs (www.BJConline.org)
- American Baptist Churches USA (www.abc-usa.org)
- Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (www.thefellowship.info)
- Mid-Atlantic Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (www.macbf.org)
- Alliance of Baptists (www.allianceofbaptists.org)
- Baptist World Alliance (www.bwanet.org)