Freedom Baptist Church began ministering to the Shenandoah Valley in 1996 in a rented space on Hwy. 42, just south of Harrisonburg. When the church outgrew that space in the early 2000’s, the congregation purchased its present location on Pleasant Hill Rd., laid the foundation, and built the basement level of their first official meeting space. Since then, the church has worked to pay off that portion and save for the next phase of construction.
But of course, the church is not the building; it’s the people! As a congregation, we’ve had some great experiences over the years laughing, crying, learning, growing, and enjoying each other in Christ. Like most, our church family has changed over the years, but God has used us to lead many to Christ, to baptize dozens, and to disciple not only new believers but also those mature in the faith.
Freedom: When Jesus confronted the spiritual leaders of His day, He said something controversial, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). Jesus was asserting that we are all under the power and control of a natural tendency to sin; we can’t get away from it by ourselves.
However, when Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah, He said that He had come to Earth to “proclaim freedom” (Luke 4:18). And on another occasion, He said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Jesus was not setting us free from sin to do whatever we wanted; He was freeing us to do what we ought to do. He was liberating us to walk in a relationship with God and to be the kind of people He created us to be. This spiritual freedom is the freedom we enjoy, celebrate, and strive to practice.
Baptist: We are Christians who hold to a firm belief in the normal, literal interpretation of scripture. The Baptist faith was not founded by, nor under the authority of any human being living or dead, therefore we do not operate based on scripture “plus the writings of our founder” nor any other extra-biblical texts. (2 Tim. 3:15-17; 1 Thes. 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
Since scripture is our sole guide, and it contains only examples of professing believers being baptized, Baptists follow this example (in other words, we do not baptize infants because scripture speaks of no such thing). Since scripture only contains examples of baptism by immersion (including Christ’s own baptism), Baptists follow this same procedure. The word “baptize” literally means “to immerse” so we immerse. (Matt. 3:13-17; Acts 8:26-39; Romans 6:1-4)
Baptists are also distinguished from other denominations by doctrines derived from this normal literal interpretation of scripture such as “faith alone in Christ alone.” In other words, the Bible is clear that salvation comes through faith alone without the aid of works (such as speaking in tongues) or any other requirement (such as baptism), and that this faith alone must be in Christ alone. No church denomination, nor the Virgin Mary, nor any other person or organization is capable of imparting salvation. (Eph. 2:8-9; John 14:6; Acts 4:12)
Baptists also believe that each person has direct access to God and needs no human intermediary because scripture says so (1 Peter 2:5-9; John 14:6). Likewise, each person is responsible to God for one’s own personal faith in Jesus Christ. No family ties, pastor, parish priest, or church membership can add or take away from this personal relationship you have with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Baptists also hold to the autonomy of the local church (Col. 1:18); that church members must be saved and baptized (Acts 2:41-47); and that there is separation of church and state (Romans 13:1-7 vs. Matt. 28:19-20). The church can and should influence the government toward righteousness, but should not control government nor be controlled by it.
So being Baptist means that your beliefs spring from and are consistent with scripture. Unfortunately, some people think of Baptists as those sour saints who don’t drink, don’t dance, and don’t have fun. While some Baptists may fit that stereotype which developed in the 1920’s, it in no way accurately characterizes our belief system nor the majority of Baptists today. (Eccl. 2:26, 8:15; Psalm 37:4)
Church: The church is defined two ways in scripture. It is both the “body of Christ” – all believers throughout history who professed personal faith in Jesus Christ — and local congregations comprised of those believers. All believers throughout time are sometimes referred to as a whole as the “invisible” or “universal” church. Members of this “universal” church are “visible” and active in “local” congregations across the world which are also called churches. It is here in these congregational gatherings like ours that Christians worship the Lord together, edify one another, encourage one another, and spread the gospel. God never intended His children to be orphans, but to be members of church families where they will prosper, grow, and serve. (Heb. 10:24-25; Matt. 18:20; Col. 3:16; Eph. 4:11-13; Acts 2:42)
Come join us!
Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.