Who are the Baptists?
Baptist Churches trace their origins back to the New Testament. The ways in which we function follow the practices of those very first Christian churches recorded in the Bible.
There are now Baptist Churches all over the world, with many millions of people involved and Baptist Churches are not a recent development here in Ireland. Baptists formed their first churches here over 350 years ago. They were actively involved in education, employing fluent Irish speakers and using the Bible as the text book. When the Great Famine devastated the land in 1885 they gave aid and distributed food.
Here in Athlone, the present Fellowship traces its beginnings back to 1819 when a fluent Irish speaker called Isaac McCarthy began to hold “Gospel” meetings at which he preached from the Bible. Athlone Baptist Church was formed in 1821 and the second building of that church was opened in 1845 in St Mary’s Square. It was in 1994 that the Fellowship moved into “cherith” and its present building was officially opened in 1997.The Gospel is Central
By the “Gospel” we mean the truths that are written in The Bible that make up God’s Good News. Starting with the truth of God’s existence and His authority, the Gospel sets out the reality of human failure and disobedience. Although human beings have sinned, God calls them back to a new relationship with Himself. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all who would believe, have built the bridge to this new relationship. When His gift of new life is received through faith, a person becomes part of God’s family and starts out on the Christian journey. It is this life-transforming message that lies at the heart of all we do.
The Bible is the Foundation
We believe the Bible is the final authority for people who want to live as God wants. The Bible gives us all we need to know about what to believe and how to live. All who attend are encouraged to grow in their knowledge, understanding and practical application of what “God’s Word” says. Those who become Members are required to believe only what the Bible clearly teaches, nothing more and nothing less.
The People are the Church
Baptists view the church not as an institution or building but as a community of Jesus’ followers. Personal faith in Christ always precedes baptism and church membership. We baptise those people by immersion in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who have trusted in Christ alone for forgiveness. This means that each person must come to their own convictions and conclusions as Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”. The Christian faith may be childlike but it is certainly never childish!
There is no church hierarchy. Each church is independent, managing its own affairs under the leadership of Christ alone. The church is structured so as to allow every member to play their part in the decision making process.
Diversity is Encouraged
We are deeply committed to the freedom of conscience of the individual, and as such have never imposed, or sought an imposed uniformity. Baptist Churches are linked together by common commitments rather than a formal or hierarchical structure. We also believe this freedom of conscience is the right of all the people of Athlone. Therefore, while we are committed to sharing the “Good News” about Jesus with all the people of Athlone, we shall always respect the rights and religious freedom of every individual. We simply long to see the people of this Island reading the Bible for themselves because of its powerful life-changing message.
So what about you?
Whereabouts are you in life’s journey? Are you one of the many that are so disillusioned with religion feeling that it has no relevance for day to day living? Perhaps you are carrying deep hurts and wounds from experiences in the past that leave you feeling burdened and chained today? Maybe you’re looking for something deeper that you don’t quite understand but yet know is missing? Are you simply looking for a place where God’s Word is plainly taught?
Whatever your reason, you will find a warm welcome, people who will help to bear that burden with you and those who will clearly point you to the One who said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. ..So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (St. John 8v31-32, 36)
If you have any queries, please contact:
Pastor Dominic Montgomery
Cherith Athlone Baptist Church
Perhaps you would like someone to call with you first instead? Maybe you would like to begin to read the Bible but you don’t have one yourself?
You might even like to attend a “Just Looking” group. This is a short series of six classes to give you an explanation of God’s plan of salvation. At the end of the course, you choose whether you want to take things further or leave them just the way they are. It’s up to you to decide.
If you have any or all of the above needs, we are here to help, simply give us a call.
We look forward to seeing you soon!