What is Christian Baptist?

I have lost count of how many times someone has asked me to repeat myself when we are telling them the name of the denomination I am ordained through and pastor.   It is, The Ohio Valley Association of Christian Baptist Churches of God.  That is a mouth full.  You can find the website by clicking here.  Most of the time we go by a shorter, unofficial name, Christian Baptist Association (CBA).  Of course, the standard response is, “I thought all Baptist were Christian.”  Now, you may ask why is the name so long?  The easiest answer that I can give you 1is for legal uniqueness.

The name shows the Baptist heritage that the founding churches came from (though were are far from typically Baptist nuances).  The association was formed in 1931 when these community-based Baptist churches stepped forward and declared a holiness message.  Doctrinally, we identify with the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition.  In the following sections, I would like to take further into our structure, practice, and doctrine.  Of course, there is nothing like experiencing it for yourself.  This post will suffice as an introductory survey for the moment of the finer points about the CBA rather than hitting everything.

Structure

The CBA are primarily rooted along the Ohio River Valley in Southeast Ohio.  There are churches located in the central Ohio area.  There are also churches located in Northeastern Kentucky, West Virginia, and Michigan.  Together, there are around 25 churches.  We also support and care for almost 200 congregations in Mexico, Brazil, Haiti, Cameroon, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

On the denominational level, we are governed by the General Council which consists of representation from each congregation and every licensed and ordained minister.  Council meets once a year during the summer and when it is not in session, is led by a group called the General Board of Managers.  This twenty-five person board is lead by the General and Assistant Superintendent, General and Assistant Secretary, and the General and Assistant Treasurer.  Rounding out the board are several trustees and the heads of the various departments.  We have departments for local and foreign missions, Sunday school, and youth, Christian education.

On the local church level, each church is led by a local board that is elected by the congregation’s members.  This board is made up of the pastor, deacons, trustees, and leaders of the various departments, similar to the General Board of managers.

Practice

Worship is primarily traditional in a majority of the churches with some more modern practices sprinkled throughout.  One thing that is identical in all the churches is a great amount of freedom observed in the services.  While the CBA is not charismatic in the observance of speaking gifts (unknown tongue), we are typically expressive in worship.

We practice full immersion as the only mode of baptism.  Along with communion, we also encourage the observance of washing feet.  The CBA also encourages the prayer meeting and Sunday School as essential practices of worship.  The CBA ordains women into ministry, which is unique for a group with a Baptist background.

Doctrine

Linked to practice is the doctrine or teaching of the Christian Baptist.  One key teaching of the Christian Baptist is the use of the King James Bible.  A particular point of interest is that the CBA recognizes other versions as commentary to the Scriptures rather than placing them as erroneous material.  The selection of a particular version was made in part to create a commonality between the pulpit and pew.

Another interesting point about the CBA in regards to its baptist background is the Wesleyan-Arminian accent.  We teach that after salvation, the believer can move forward in the faith and experience a deeper work of God in their life called entire sanctification.  This experience is characterized by greater dependence and commitment to God and increased power and leading by the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life.

If you wish to see a detailed history of the foundation or the articles of faith, you can check the earlier placed link to the CBA website.