WHAT WE BELIEVE

  1. THE BIBLE

The Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God, wholly without error as originally given by God.  It alone is sufficient as our only infallible, authoritative rule of faith and practice.  We deny that other books are inspired by God in the same way as the Bible.

 

  1. GOD

There is only one true and living God, Who is the creator, sustainer and ruler of all things.  He is infinite, perfect, eternal, and unchangeable.  To Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience.

God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.

  1. God the Father: The Father is the head of the Godhead, and into His hands the kingdom shall be delivered.
  2. God the Son: The Son is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ, who was born of the virgin Mary, hence the God-Man. He died on the cross to redeem man, rose again from the dead to justify the believer, ascended to the right hand of God where He intercedes for us, and in the Father’s own time will return in visible, personal form to overthrow sin and judge the world.
  3. God the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is the one sent from God to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and of judgment; and to regenerate and cleanse from sin. He is the resident guide, teacher, and strengthener of the believer.

 

  1. PROVIDENCE

From eternity God decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and He perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any way to be the author or approver of sin, nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.

 

  1. THE FALL OF MAN

God originally created man in His own image and free from sin, but through the temptation of Satan he transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness.  As a result, his descendants inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law, and are under condemnation, having been imputed with the guilt of Adam’s sin. As soon as they are capable of moral action, they become actual transgressors.

 

  1. SATAN AND SIN

Satan is a personal devil who with his angels carries on the work of iniquity in this world.  Sin is basically rebellion against God, and the punishment for sin is eternal separation from God.

 

  1. THE MEDIATOR

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man.  Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the law; and He suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners.  He was buried and rose again the third day.  He ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever lives to make intercession for His people.  He is the only mediator, the prophet, priest and king of the church, and the sovereign of the universe.

 

  1. SALVATION

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, Who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer.  In its broadest sense salvation includes election, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

Election: Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life – not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His sheer mercy in Christ – in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified.

Regeneration: Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby those spiritually dead in their sins become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Justification: Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of sinners who believe on Christ from the judicial consequences of all sin, and is made possible only through the satisfaction Christ made by His righteous life and atoning death. This justification is not conferred on the basis of anything wrought in them or done by them; but on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ. This righteousness is imputed to the believer by grace at the moment of conversion – repentance and initial saving faith, which are themselves inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is an act of the will, compelled by the affections of a heart newly awakened to God, in which the sinner is made aware of the evil of his sin, humbles himself in godly sorrow for it, and genuinely turns from sin, purposing to walk before God so as to please Him in all things.

Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of whatever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ: accepting and relying on Him and His righteousness alone for justification and eternal life.  It involves an act of the will, compelled by the affections of a heart newly awakened to God.

Sanctification: Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.

Glorification: Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of believers in Christ.

 

  1. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

Those who savingly believe on Christ and are converted will never totally or finally fall away from the state of grace, but will certainly persevere to the end.  Though they may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, grieving the Holy Spirit, impairing their spiritual graces and comforts, bringing reproach on the name of Christ and bringing divine chastening upon themselves; they shall yet be renewed again unto repentance, and will be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

 

  1. THE CHURCH

A New Testament church is a voluntary association of baptized believers in Christ who have covenanted together to follow the teachings of the New Testament in doctrine, worship, and practice.  The two-fold purpose for which Christ founded the church is outlined in the Great Commission: to win the lost to saving faith in Christ, and to enable and encourage Christians to grow in their faith.  The church, therefore, has a responsibility to evangelize its com­munity and the world.

The only two church ordinances are baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Baptism is a command of the Lord Jesus, and it is the first obligatory act of obedience for a new believer.  Only those who are committed to Jesus Christ as Lord are scriptural subjects for baptism, and immersion in water is the only proper mode of baptism.  Baptism is an outward symbol of the new believer’s identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, as well as of his own death to sin and new life in Christ.  It is a prerequisite to church membership.

The Lord’s Supper is a memorial to the Lord’s death.  The bread symbolizes His body which was given for us.  The wine symbolizes His blood which was shed for us.  It is not in any sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate His death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with Him and of their church fellowship.

A church is a self-governing organization, under the Lordship of Christ, served by two types of officers: pastors[2] and deacons.

 

  1. EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS

It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every congregation to endeavor to make disciples of all nations.

The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit inevitably results in the birth of love for others and a desire that they also might experience life in Christ. Likewise, a zeal for taking Christ’s gospel to the unreached peoples of the world rests upon the biblical premise that those without faith in Christ will spend eternity separated from God in hell.  Finally, the mandate to take the gospel to all the world is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. Thus, it is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

 

  1. COOPERATION

Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objectives of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.

 

  1. THE FAMILY

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people.  A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family.  A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

 

  1. CIVIL GOVERNMENT

Civil government is ordained by God for the ordering of society.  Christians are to respect and obey those in civil authority over them unless they are commanded to disobey God’s commandments.  The New Testament envisions a separation between church and state, yet with the understanding that the church should serve as the conscience and moral voice of the nation and community, complementing the civil government as it seeks to govern its subjects righteously, protecting the doer of good and punishing the doer of evil.

 

  1. LAST THINGS

After death, the bodies of those who die return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God – the righteous to rest with Him, the wicked to be reserved under darkness to the judgment.

In God’s own time and in His own way, God will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth.  The dead will be raised, and Christ will judge all men in righteousness.  The unrighteous will be consigned to the lake of fire, a place of everlasting punishment.  The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.[3]

 

[1] This statement of faith draws from the following confessions: The Second London Confession of 1689, The Abstract of Principles (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s doctrinal statement), and The Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

[2] Pastors are also referred to in the New Testament as “elders” and “overseers.”

[3] For more information and detail regarding the beliefs of Emmanuel Baptist Church, you may consult The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfm2000.asp), The Abstract of Principles (http://founders.org/fj01/the-abstract-of-principles/), and The Second London Confession of Faith (http://founders.org/library/bcf/confession).