A Canadian Baptist not just a Baptist who is Canadian, but someone who belongs to a family of Baptists called Canadian Baptists. I belong specifically to a group called the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec.
The big reason is that we focus on basics. We hold with other protestant Christians, belief in the Trinity, the reliability of the Bible, atonement, resurrection and salvation by faith.
We have a number of Baptist-specific beliefs, including baptism by immersion for believers, focus on the local church and others.
The reason that I like Canadian Baptists in particular is that we have a big tent. This is why I am a Canadian Baptist:
- We have cessationists and charismatics.
- We have Calvinists and Arminians.
- We have liturgy and free-form.
- We have pacifists and people serving in the military.
- We have people against women in leadership and female pastors.
- We have people who support traditional marriage and those who support same-sex marriage.
- We have conservatives and liberals.
- We have young earth creationists and theistic evolutionists.
Some may look at this (on either end of the theological spectrum) and see this as a weakness. The Bible clearly teaches a truth and we need to follow it. However, godly people who value the Bible disagree on plenty of biblical interpretations.
That’s not to say I have no opinions or that I think all interpretations are equally true. Some are correct and some are wrong. But I have moved on some of my positions and cannot be confident that there won’t be more movement.
Canadian Baptists give room to figure these things out. Our denomination doesn’t have the authority to impose interpretations on the churches and pastors don’t have the authority to impose interpretations on the congregation.
We agree to associate based on our core values and then attempt to have grace toward those we disagree with. And that is why I’m a Canadian Baptist.