Baptists in the Philippines
Baptists in the Philippines dates back during the 1900's when American Baptist missionaries went to the country. The Baptists trace their roots to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The beginning of Philippine Baptist history is traced from the baptism of Braulio Ciriaco Miralles Manikan and the initial translation of the Bible into Hiligaynon language in Barcelona in 1898. By 1900 Braulio Manikan and Swedish Missionary Eric Lund went to the Philippines as Baptist missionaries with the support of the American Baptist Missionary Union (ABMU), now known as the Board of International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches. The American Baptist missionaries are also considered as part of the history of Philippine Baptists as they interacted in organizing churches, theological education, and politics.
Two years after the acquisition of the Philippines by the U.S.A. in 1898, Baptists from the U.S.A. opened a mission field in the country. Because of the work of numerous American mission societies and with division, there are at least eighteen different Baptist groups with a total membership of over 350,000 in over 4,100 churches.
From the early 1900's through 1934, the American Baptist missionaries and the Filipino Baptists were able to work together to organize local congregations in Panay and in neighboring Negros Occidental. In 1935, the Filipino Baptist pastors and church leaders formally organized the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches - an association of local churches in the Philippines.
Contributions of the Philippine Baptists
- Organizational Initiatives and Leadership - In the 1970s, the number of congregations has increased rapidly in different parts of the country including the islands of Mindanao and Luzon. This numerical and geographical expansion has been possible mainly through the leadership of the Philippine Baptists.
- Theological Education and Information - The translation of the Bible into Hiligaynon had played a significant role in spreading the gospel to the rural areas. Many had decided to join the Baptist church after reading the Bible in their own language. Women Baptists took the initiative in establishing a Bible Institute that was to flourish and to be known as the Convention Baptist Bible College. The Philippine Baptists slowly developed theological institutions to respond to the demands of the churches for theologically trained leaders.
- Development and Social Concerns - The initiatives in establishing institutions like the Family Christian Center in Iloilo City (1963), Health Aid to the Needy for Development (1970), Center for Education and Research (1974); New Frontier Ministries (1977); and program for children have raised the social awareness of many Baptists.
- Ordination to the Ministry - Although most baptists does not teach the ordination of women, baptists recognize women’s contribution and leadership in helping the churches. Although more liberal churches shows a tendency towards a concept of ordaining women to the leadership(pastor/elders) more conservative churches allow women to be involved in a non-preaching capacity.
- Foreign Missions - The number of congregations supporting the program on foreign missions has been slowly increasing. This shows not only a growing interest in sharing the gospel in foreign countries but also that the Philippine Baptists, who were at first recipients of foreign missions, are now bearers of foreign missions.
- Baptists believe in the Holy Bible as the only authority on faith and practice
- Baptists believe that Jesus Christ is God's only Son, became a man, lived a sinless life and shed his blood on the cross to die for our sins, and rose again the third day. They believe that apart from Jesus Christ there is no salvation(John 14:6, Acts 4:12).
- Baptists believe that once a person believes in Jesus Christ, he is born again(John 3:1-7), born into the family of God(John 1:12), and lives a godly life as a result of that belief(Ephesians 2:8-10).
- Baptists believe in autonomy of the local church and the separation of church and the state.
- Baptists reject infant baptism, believes that baptism is for believers only - those who trusted Jesus as Lord as the prerequisite for baptism. Baptists beieve that baptism is not a means of salvation but a first step of obedience for the new believer. It is a symbol of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. Some churches will re-baptise those who were baptised as infants in another Christian tradition, others respect that various denominations do things differently. A believer's baptism is carried out by full immersion only.
- Baptists believe God created every individual with personal soul liberty. Baptists believe that Bible is the sole authoritative word of the God and he has revealed truth through the Bible. After the Holy Bible, The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan is a favorite reading for Baptists.
- About.com. (accessed on January 26, 2008).
- Find Articles. (accessed on January 26, 2008).
- Baptist Churches in the Philippines Blog. (accessed on January 26, 2008).