The HOLY BIBLE shall be the sole source of the DOCTRINE for the CHURCH. The Doctrinal Beliefs shall be those currently practices by the Church, providing such beliefs and practices are consistent with the teachings of the HOLY BIBLE and except that for the standards herein set forth for particular Rituals, and/or ceremonies for which the Church will be brought under a unified Doctrine.
Excerpts taken from an article written by Roxanne Stapleton, Express, March 30, 2000
The Baptist community has experienced a measure of success in sharing information on their past struggles. In previous times, they were not a recognized body, and much of the things they were identified with, lay behind closed doors. Today it is no longer so. In 1996 the Government granted a public holiday to the Spiritual Baptist faith, to be celebrated on March 30, called Spiritual Baptist/Shouter Liberation Day, in memory of this struggle and in recognition of the Repeal of the 1917 Prohibition Ordinance of March, 30, 1951.
In the Spiritual Baptist Church there was no organizational affiliation or structure, and the faith grew with the blossoming of individual churches - “camps”, as they were called - established as and when the spirit gave guidance and instructions. Church membership was congregational and the control of the affairs of the church resided in each individual church with the Leader or Mother.
In those not-too-distant days, the establishment, reading the political potential of this movement, decided to suppress the Spiritual Baptist movement, thus sending them underground. In its formative years, prayer meetings of the early followers of the faith were always secret and kept in the woods at night. There were no churches, as they exist today. Spiritual Baptist churches took the form of thatched huts or shacks with wooden altars and benches in the remotest parts of the country. As a result there are no parish churches and it is not uncommon for eight or nine separate Spiritual Baptist churches to exist in one area.
The Baptists suffered much persecution and prosecution resulting from the ordinance to render illegal the practices of the body known as the Shouters, and the order of the day was “beat and arrest, fines and imprisonment for the Spiritual Baptist”. Perhaps the faith, like the early Christian faith, grew and spread in spite of the law. It was during those years of active and persistent harassment that the first organization of Spiritual Baptists was formed.
Baptism is the first requirement of those who are called or chosen to join the faith. Such initiation is an invitation to walk in God’s way and to follow His will.
Mourning is basically a Godly sorrow, which entails prayer and meditation with fasting.
Feasting and festival are integral to African life and are attended to with great ceremony. The ceremony of thanksgiving is an important aspect of the African’s ancestral heritage. Since it contains much religious significance, it is an important part of the faith.
Pilgrimage is very significant. It is an important way for one assembly to meet another. On a pilgrim journey people meet and bestow spiritual greetings, extending love, peace, unity and promulgation of the gospel.
Candle lighting is highly symbolic to the Spiritual Baptists. The wax and the light are meaningful. Not only does the burning of candles play a very important role in the life of every Spiritual Baptist, but it is also a part of the belief system of the worshippers. The wax symbolizes primitive man in his darkness, whereas the wick represents the light and glory from this sense of primitiveness.