There is only one true and living God (Deuteronomy 6:4). God is Spirit (John 4:24). God is also the father of all Creation (Isaiah 40:28-31). He is the Preserver, Ruler and Redeemer of the universe (Romans 8:19-22).
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God has always been, is and always will be omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. He is also loving, merciful, faithful, just and holy. He is eternal and has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity in three distinct beings: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is the first person of the Trinity.
Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), the exact representation of His being (Hebrews 1:1-3). In the incarnation, Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life and was therefore the perfect sacrifice for fallen humankind.
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Christ was both fully God and fully human (John 10:30; 2 Peter 1:2-4). He died on the cross for the redemption of sinful humanity and was crucified and buried. Three days later He rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples. He later ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is interceding for us (Hebrews 7:21). In him alone we can be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). One day Christ will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who was sent by the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and empower all who believe in Jesus Christ. He indwells every believer in Christ as an abiding helper, teacher and guide (John 14:26).
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He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13) and bestows spiritual gifts by which they may serve God and the family of God (Romans 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:11-13). He is the active presence of God in the Church as we seek to conform to the spotless bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27).
The Bible, though written by human beings, is divinely inspired and revealed to humanity by God. As such, the Bible is the authoritative standard for faith and practice—in thought, in word, and in deed (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It reveals God’s nature to us as well as his will for our lives. It is therefore true and totally trustworthy (2 Peter 1:19-21).
The State and Fall of Man
Human beings were created in the image and likeness of God. Humanity was created without sin and given the gift of free will (Genesis 1:26-27). By exercising this gift (for selfish reasons), Adam and Eve sinned against God and so brought sin into the human race. Thus sin became a part of the human experience by nature, choice and practice. Only the death of Christ atones for human sin (Romans 5:18-19).
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Consequently, human beings receive salvation only through the grace of God and by faith in the work of Christ (Ephesians 2:6-8). The hope of humanity is that Christ will return to call those who have believed and accepted him as Lord and Savior to be with him forever.
Salvation involves the redemptive work of Christ for all of humanity. It is a free gift offered to any and all who would believe and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord (Acts 4:12).
Regenerated Church Member
Regeneration is a new birth experience arising from union with Christ. It marks the beginning of a new relationship with God (Romans 5:1-2). This work continues as we are being transformed more and more into the image of Christ.
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This continuous work of God is called sanctification (I Thessalonians 4:3; 5:23). The Holy Spirit accomplishes this work in the life of the believer through convicting them of sin, bringing them to repentance and faith in the work of Christ, and leading them into all truth. This work of grace combines with the exercise of our faith to keep us growing (II Peter 3:18).
The New Testament speaks of the Church as the Body of Christ and includes every believer throughout the world and throughout all ages (Ephesians 1:22-23). The image of the Church as the human body is the principal image in the Scriptures (Romans 12:4-8).
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There are also other images of the Church primarily in Ephesians. These include the Church as the Temple (Eph. 2:21-22); a Family (Eph. 3:14); a School (Eph. 4:11-13); the Bride of Christ (Eph. 5:25-30); and the Army of Christ (Eph. 6:10-18). The image of the Church as an Army is significant because it highlights the Spiritual warfare raging between God and the Devil (I Peter 5:8-11) and underscores the reality that believers are in a major battle (II Corinthians 10:3-6).
Two Ordinances: Baptism and The Lord’s Supper
- Believer’s Baptism. Generally, we emphasize Believer’s Baptism (Acts 2:38) done by Immersion (Romans 6:3-6) and according to Jesus’ “Great Commission” as outlined in Matthew 28:19-20. Paul’s description compares our baptism to Christ’s death and resurrection and is therefore symbolic of our death to the old nature and our rebirth in Christ. However, provision is made in cases where we may not be able to baptize an individual by immersion, particularly regarding issues of health. While Baptism does not save the individual, it is a pledge of allegiance to God and a rite of passage into most Churches (I Corinthians 12:13; I Peter 3:21).
- The Lord’s Supper. This is the celebration feast started by our Lord Himself with the Last Supper. The bread represents the Body of Christ and the cup; His shed blood. According to Paul, the Lord’s Supper is much more than a memorial feast. It also involves looking forward to His return (I Corinthians 11:23-26).
There are two elements to Religious Liberty. The first is Soul Competence. This expresses the ability of human beings to approach God directly without any human intermediary (John 1:10-12). The second element is Soul Liberty or Soul Freedom. Here, Baptists believe that all humans are free moral agents, created in the image of God, and as such are morally responsible to God for their own choices and actions.
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Further, all humans should be free to believe or not to believe in God, to obey or to disobey him, to worship or not to worship him, according to the dictates of their own conscience (Romans 14:1-10; II Corinthians 3:17-18).
Separation between Church and State
We believe that God established both the church and the civil government (Romans 13:1-7; I Peter 2:13-17). Generally, we agree that the Church and State have separate and different functions to perform (Matthew 22:21). While there are proper areas of cooperation, the State should not interfere in religious matters, and the Church should not seek to dominate in the affairs of the State.
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When the demands or purposes of the state are contrary to the plain teachings of the Word of God, a Christian’s primary loyalty must be to God and not to the State (Acts 4:19-20). Moreover, we believe that the Church has a responsibility to speak prophetically to the issues of their time, especially issues of justice and equality. This sometimes requires the Church speaking against the evils of the State.
Ultimately God will bring the world to its appropriate end (Ephesians 2:10). According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the Earth; the dead will be raised (I Corinthians 15). Christ will judge all people. The unrighteous will be sentenced to eternal punishment while the righteous will be blessed with eternity in the presence of God (Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1-6). It is only through Jesus Christ that we gain access into eternal life in Heaven with the Lord (John 14:1-6).
The Priesthood of All Believers
All believers share as equals in the church, and, in turn, have a priestly role toward each other.
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As an example, our vision at Emmanuel Baptist Church is to Create A Place to M.E.E.T.: Ministering to the Whole Person; Evangelizing the Lost; Equipping Members to be Ministers; and Teaching the Body of Christ. Therefore, we believe that “Every Member is a Minister” and as such have the privilege of direct access to God (Hebrews 10:19-25; I Peter 2:9-10).