Native Baptist Church of Cameroon
(Eglise baptiste camerounaise, ECB)
The British Baptist mission began working in today's Cameroon in 1845. After the territory came under German rule in 1884 the British missionaries had to leave and the Baptist community was expected to cooperate with the German missions. Difficulties arose on questions of doctrine and liturgy and the Baptist leaders realized that the missionaries wanted to dominate their churches. The tensions resulted in the creation of three churches in 1897: the Evangelical Church (Basel Mission), the Baptist Church (Berlin Mission) and the Native Baptist Church. After World War I the Paris Mission arrived in Cameroon and tried, in vain, to re-unite the three. In 1921 a charismatic leader and opponent of the colonial regime was elected president of the NBC. After many contentions with the Paris Mission the NBC was finally recognized as an autonomous denomination in 1949. It received official recognition from the government in 1972. The church understands itself as an African Instituted Church.
Like other Baptist churches the NBC is a confessing church, whose doctrine is based on salvation by grace, the authority of the holy scriptures as the word of God, the Holy Trinity of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the spiritual unity of God's children and baptism by immersion.
As part of the universal church, the NBC is involved in mission and witness, diakonia, the formation of the workers of the church, the improvement of their living conditions and the struggle against poverty. The church has a secretariat for education which runs four school groups comprised of primary and secondary schools. Four associations contribute to the life of the church: women, men, youth and the choir. The highest decision-making body of the NBC is the general conference. The church has departments for evangelism and Christian education, for social work and for development. In terms of territorial organization it is comprised of four large regional synods or conventions. Besides the 500 local churches there are another 50 places of worship. Pastors are trained at the Protestant Theological Institute of Ndoungué, the Baptist Institute of Biblical and Theological Studies at Ndikinimeki, and the Faculty of Protestant Theology at Yaoundé.