My name is Paul Ritchie. I am the pastor of LBC. Would you forgive me if I tell you that I am a Cork man? I have also spent a lot of time in Dublin and Northern Ireland. I am now happy to think of Limerick as home. I am married to Caroline, and we have three children: Anya, Ronan and Sian. I describe myself as being a Christian by the grace of God (rather than ‘Munster by the grace of God’). This means that I don’t believe that God has accepted me as a forgiven child because of anything that I have done but rather because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross.
You might be asking, ‘what is a Baptist Church’? Like a number of churches in the city we call ourselves an ‘evangelical’ church. Evangelicals are people who believe that the Bible is trustworthy, that becoming one of God’s people is not about taking any sacraments or working to earn God’s acceptance, and that a living relationship with God through Jesus changes people from the inside out.
The label Baptist refers to our understanding on baptism. We don’t believe that baptism makes people Christians. We believe that people become Christians as they hand their life over to Jesus and receive the forgiveness he won for us on the cross.
We believe baptism symbolises what happens when you become a Christian in that the Christian has been buried to our old life of sin and raised to new life in Christ. Baptism pictures that our guilt has been washed away. We believe that it makes most sense to perform the symbolic act of baptism after a person has handed their life over to Jesus.