THE HISTORY OF WHO WE ARE
Third Baptist Church
1857 – Present
Third Baptist Church is the third oldest Black Baptist Church in Washington, DC and the oldest Black Baptist building still standing.
Third Baptist Church started as a small prayer group in the home of Rev. Albert Boulden on September 5, 1857. The church was officially recognized and founded on June 20, 1858 and Rev. Albert Boulden was installed as the first pastor. On June 6, 1865, the cornerstone for the new church was laid at the corner of 4th and L Street, N. W. where Pastor Boulden served until 1867.
The Rev. William B. Jefferson was chosen to lead the church in 1867. Under his leadership, the first payment was made on a new location at 5th and Q Streets NW. on August 24, 1885. He served until he went home to be with the Lord in 1885. Rev. Patrick H. Umbles served one year (1885 – 1886) as the first interim pastor.
On March 19, 1886, the Rev. James H. Lee, a resident of New Bedford, Mass., and a former member and church clerk of Third Baptist Church, was called to the pastorate. On May 9, 1886 Rev. Lee preached his introductory sermon, and on May 30, he was installed by the pastors of the city. Pastor Lee served until the time of his passing in 1917. Our second interim pastor, the Rev. Charles Cushingberry served two years.
The Rev. Dr. George Bullock was called to the pastorate in 1919. He was the father-in-law of former Mayor Walter E. Washington who served as a trustee. The Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. was ordained at Third Baptist under the leadership of Rev. Bullock. He served as pastor until he went on to be with the Lord in 1958.
The Rev. Dr. Henry Miles was elected to serve as acting pastor for one year on May 8, 1959. On April 29, 1960, Rev. Miles was overwhelmingly elected as the fifth pastor of the Third Baptist Church. He was installed on June 12, 1960. During his tenure the Rev. Henry Miles’ Educational Annex was completed. Rev. Miles served the church until the Lord called him home On November 13, 1994. The third interim pastor of Third Baptist Church was the Rev. Dr. Clark Houston. His outgoing personality was an asset in promoting the spiritual growth of the church.
On June 1, 1997, Rev. Stanley Byrd preached his introductory sermon. Pastor Byrd was installed on September 7, 1997 as the sixth pastor of the Third Baptist Church. It was under Rev. Byrd’s tutelage, that Third Baptist purchased their first church van and the church website went live. In December of 2006, Rev. Byrd was called to return to his native home in North Carolina.
In 2007, In the absence of a pastor, Deacon Curtis Smith, Jr. served as Executive Administrator. Third Baptist was spiritually led by the Rev. John Waymmann, Jr., an Associate Minister of the church. His faithfulness helped to maintain the church until September 2009 when the Rev. Dr. Michael Wayne Hopkins was called to serve as the seventh pastor. After the departure of Rev. Hopkins Rev. Waymmann once again served as spiritual leader.
In March of 2015 The Reverend Paige A. Harris was called as the 8th pastor of Third Baptist Church. On the 2nd Sunday in April 2015 he preached his initial sermon as pastor. On April 10th, 2016 he was formally installed. Pastor Harris has a vision called “20/20” which will take the church into its future.
OUR CORE VALUES
The following presents the core values of Third Baptist Church. We firmly desire that they define and drive this ministry in the context of a loving and nurturing Christian environment.
Value 1: We believe that the Word of God is the catalyst for transforming lives into mature disciples of Christ. This includes the concept of preaching and teaching for life change (Matt. 4:23; 1 Cor. 2:4; I Cor 3:18-21; 2 Cor 11:6; Rom. 12:7; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; James 1:23-25).
Value 2: We believe that lost people matter to God, and therefore, matter to us. We value the opportunity to share the gospel with the lost and un-churched. This includes the concepts of evangelism and discipleship (Luke 5:30-32; Luke 15; Matt. 18:14).
Value 3: We believe that the church should be culturally relevant while remaining doctrinally pure. This includes the concept of sensitivity relating the gospel to our culture through our facility, printed materials, and use of the arts and other forms of communication (1 Cor. 9:19-23).
Value 4: We believe that followers of Christ should manifest authenticity and yearn for continuous growth. This includes the concepts of personal authenticity, character, and wholeness (Eph. 4:25-26, 32; Heb. 12:1 Phil. 1:6).
Value 5: We believe that the church should operate as a unified community of servant with men and women stewarding their spiritual gifts. This includes the concepts of unity, servanthood, spiritual gifts and ministry callings (1 Cor. 12 and 14; Rom. 12; Eph. 4; Ps. 133:1).
Value 6: We believe that loving relationships should permeate every aspect of church life. This includes the concepts of love-driven ministry, ministry accomplished in teams, and relationship building (1 Cor.13; Neh. 3; Luke 10:1; John 13:34-35).
Value 7: We believe that true worship should be Spirit led, authentic, dynamic and inspiring. This includes the concepts of praise, music and use of the arts (John 4:23; Rom 12:1 I Cor. 14:26).
Value 8: We believe that excellence honors God and inspires people. This include the concepts of evaluation, critical review, intensity, and excellence (Col. 3:17; Mal.1:6-14; Prov. 27:17.
Value 9: We believe that churches should be led by individuals with leadership gifts. This includes the concepts of empowerment, servant leadership, strategic focus, and training (Neh. 1-2; Rom. 12:8; Acts 6:2-5).
Value 10: We believe that the pursuit of full devotion to Christ and His cause is normal for every believer. This includes the concepts of stewardship, servanthood, downward mobility, and the pursuit of Kingdom goals (1 Kings 11:4; Phil. 2:1-11; 2 Cor. 8:7).
WHAT WE BELIEVE
I. THE SCRIPTURES.
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.
II. THE TRUE GOD.
We believe the Scriptures teach that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is Jehovah, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
III. THE FALL OF MAN.
We believe the Scriptures teach that Man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgressions fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.
IV. THE WAY OF SALVATION.
We believe that the Scriptures teach that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God; who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins' that having risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven: and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is in every way qualified to be suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in him is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood; by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
VI. THE FREENESS OF SALVATION.
We believe that the Scriptures teach that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, but his own determined depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel; which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.
We believe that the Scriptures teach that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel: and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith, and newness of life.
VIII. REPENTANCE AND FAITH.
We believe the Scriptures teach that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger and helplessness and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our prophet, priest and king, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.
IX. GOD'S PURPOSE OF GRACE.
We believe the Scriptures teach that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.
We believe the Scriptures teach that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness;. that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means especially the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchful-ness, and prayer.
XI. PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS.
We believe the Scriptures teach that such only are real believers as endure to the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
XII. THE LAW AND GOSPEL.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government; that it is holy, just and I good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts, arise entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the Means of Grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.
XIII. A GOSPEL CHURCH.
We believe the Scriptures teach that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by his laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word; that its only scriptural officers are Bishops or Pastors, and Deacons whose Qualifications, claims and duties arc defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
XIV. BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER.
We believe the Scriptures teach that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect, in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation; and to the Lord's Supper, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination.
XV. THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day, or Christian Sabbath, and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes, by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations, by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public, and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God.
XVI. RIGHTEOUS AND WICKED.
We believe the Scriptures teach that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.
XVII. THE WORLD TO COME.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the end of the world is approaching; that at the last day, Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave for final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.