This We Believe...

The Second Baptist Church stands for freedom of the individual in all matters of faith and practice of religion. Such a belief and such a spirit is a challenge to live with all one's powers and creativeness in fulfilling God's purpose. Tradition is worthless if it does not give strength and vision for the present and hope for the future. The tradition of freedom in this Church is truly a spirit which has been passed on to our generation. It is the very atmosphere of our Church, the refreshing air we breathe.

Belief in freedom means that we believe in one another; it means we place the highest value in people, and the individuality of people; it means that we believe that life's highest experience is the experience of a person with God through Jesus Christ, and that no person shall be limited or thwarted in this experience but encouraged and strengthened.

In this Church, therefore, it is not agreement that we seek, but truth, vision and friendship in order to build the bonds of unity for service to God. Freedom to believe does not mean that we are without belief or believe in less, but rather it is a challenge to believe more; and with fervor to search out the infinite possibilities for the enrichment of our faith.

With our heritage which has given us beautiful buildings and fine facilities, there has been the constant temptation to place our hope in things and numbers. We are too often dependent on attendance records and financial reports. But basically our hope is not in numbers or in things, but rather in a quality of life expressed through individuals and groups working with thoroughness in the achievement of the purposes of Christ.

The pioneering spirit has led us to reach out continually into new areas to anticipate and meet the needs of people. But variety and novelty are never our aim, and our goals must never be dimmed with a multitude of activities. Our goals are a deepening of our individual devotion to God; the development of a closer friendship between all our members; the extension of the ways of cooperation with other religious groups; and the building of a greater awareness of human need at home and throughout the world. All this with the fervent hope that God will use us for His purposes through Second Baptist Church.

We, the staff, leadership, and congregation of Second Baptist Church, reject racism in all its forms.


We recognize that racism, both systemic and personal, has plagued our country and our churches.  It is past time for racism to be named for the evil that it is, for systems to be transformed and for individuals to come face-to-face with their personal sin of racism.


It is time to look seriously at the racial inequality and the inequities that prevail in society and change the system so that all people are treated equally and equitably.


And in the church, it is time for us to repent, to seek forgiveness, and to seek reconciliation with our brothers and sisters who are often pre-judged, not based on their character, but on the color of their skin or the country from which they come or the language which they speak.  It is time for all of us to work for justice. 


We really do believe that we are all in this together and it is time for us to take care of each other,

Unanimously adopted by the Body of Christ as constituted here at Second Baptist Church.

Historical Background

Second Baptist Church has a history of addressing racism and other forms of discrimination “head-on.” In the 1820s, the church, known at that time as “the Baptist Church of St. Louis,” included freedmen as members, including John Berry Meachum, who became a well-known pastor, businessman, and educator. From his ties at the Baptist Church of St. Louis, Meachum started the “African Church of St. Louis,” the oldest Black church in Missouri.

Second Baptist has continued to maintain a diverse membership throughout its history, and its members are not afraid to engage on difficult topics. For instance, the church’s “open membership” practice of accepting members through letter rather than baptism resulted in Reverend Leon R. Robinson being “voted out” of the Baptist Pastor’s Conference of St. Louis in 1949. Reverend Robison is the author of Second Baptist Church’s “This We Believe” statement that describes our belief in freedom of the individual in all matters of faith and the practice of religion. Through Reverend Robison’s leadership, in the 1960’s, Second Baptist and Antioch Baptist Church held joint vacation Bible School to further the cause of integration.

Ministers at Second Baptist have been prominent leaders, taking strong positions politically, socially, and theologically. They have stressed “the right and duty of ministers and laymen to think” (The Rev. Dr. Bitting). Members, too, have never been reluctant to make their stands known! Rev. Jeter (1849-53) reflected that the church “had their peculiar views of preaching, music, the manner of conducting public worship, church discipline, etc. [But] this diversity leads to great liberality and forbearance among the brethren.”