These doctrinal distinctives state the doctrinal position, and thereby determine the practice of Emmanuel Church in respect of certain issues. It is recognised that true evangelical Christian believers may, in conscience, take a different personal view in respect of these matters. Such persons may become members of Emmanuel Church, provided that they are prepared to respect the beliefs and practices of the church and that they will not seek to undermine them. A person may only become a Pastor, Elder or Deacon or engage in any regular teaching ministry of Emmanuel Church, if they wholeheartedly subscribe to these beliefs and is willing to uphold them.
The Sufficiency of the Scriptures
Emmanuel Church believes that God speaks to men and women today through the Scriptures. When the Scriptures are read or preached, whether publicly or privately, God speaks by his Spirit. The Scriptures contain everything necessary for God, whether explicitly or through deduction by good and necessary consequence, to enable men and women to come to salvation through Christ, and to grow to maturity in Christ, such that they might know how to live to please Him. The Scriptures are the primary means of grace that God gives to His people (the means of grace are any activities within the Church that God uses to give more grace to Christians), and thus, their teaching by officially recognised preachers/ teachers (generally pastors and elders) is an intrinsic part of corporate worship services. Furthermore, Bible studies, Sunday School Classes, the reading of books on Scripture and personal Bible study are also legitimate means of teaching Scripture. Since the Scriptures are entirely sufficient in this regard, no additional word or authoritative revelation from God is required to enable a person to know God, or to know His will.
Deut 32:47; Ps 19:7; 119:105; Isa 55:10-11; Matt 4:4; Acts 20:32; Rom 1:16, 15:14; 1 Cor 1:24; Eph 6:17; 2 Tim 3:15-16; Heb 4:12; James 1:18; 1 Pet 1:23; 2 Pet 1:19
Emmanuel Church believes that Baptism into the name of God the Father, Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit, is an outward sign which marks a person's regeneration and baptism by the Holy Spirit into membership of the Church of Jesus Christ. Emmanuel Church subscribes to believer’s baptism, as such it should only properly be administered to a person who has repented and publicly professes faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism should be administered by full immersion in water, symbolising that the person baptised has been united with Christ in his death and resurrection, and is the possessor of the benefits thereof. Although baptism is not the means of receiving saving grace, where there is genuine faith on the part of the person being baptised it is a means of grace for them and the Church performing the baptism.
Matt 3:13-17, 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:37-41, 8:36-39, 9:18, 10:47-48, 16:14-15, 31-33, 19:3-5; Rom 6:2-5; Col 2:12
The Lord’s Supper
Emmanuel Church believes that the Lord's Supper is a remembrance meal at which Christian believers share of the bread and cup together to remind themselves of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, of the new covenant of salvation which He inaugurated, and to proclaim that He will return. We do not believe that the bread and the wine actually become the body and blood of Christ during communion but that they serve as a symbol or reminder of His sacrifice. Neither do we believe that it has any regenerative benefits, but that sharing in the supper is the benefit of those who have already been made regenerate (been born-again). Nevertheless, it is not simply an ordinary meal among human beings, but is fellowship with Christ, in His presence, and at His table. Thus, as we participate in the Lord’s Supper in faith and obedience to the directions laid down in Scripture, it is a means of grace which the Holy Spirit uses to convey blessings to His people. The Lord’s supper will be offered to all professing believers who have been baptised.
Matt 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:17-20; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Cor 11:23-32.
The Sovereignty of God
Emmanuel Church believes that God is sovereign. That is, there is no higher authority or power than God. He has an eternal will/ plan, He does not change His mind, He is never taken by surprise and His will cannot be thwarted but always prevails. Thus, we believe God’s eternal purposes are being served in the world today, just as they have been since its creation. God stands behind good and evil, but not in the same sense, He stands behind them asymmetrically. That is, God stands behind evil in such a way that not even evil takes place outside the bounds of His sovereignty, yet the evil is not morally chargeable to Him - it is always chargeable to secondary agents, to secondary causes (humans for example). On the other hand, God stands behind good in such a way that it not only takes place within the bounds of His sovereignty, but it is always chargeable to Him, and only derivatively to secondary agents. Thus, if I sin, I cannot possibly do so outside of the bounds of God’s sovereignty, but I alone (or any others who may be involved) am responsible for that sin. If, however I do good, then it is God working in me both to will and to act according to His good pleasure. God gets the praise.
Gen 41:32, 50:20; 1 Sam 2:6-7, 9; 2 Sam 10:12; 1 Kings 12:15, 16:12, 18-19, 17:3-4, 6, 22:23; 2 Chr 11:4, 15:6, 25:20, 36:22-23; Job 14:5, 36:32; Psa 135:6-7, 139:16; Isa 44:8, 45:7, 46:9 -11, 55:11; Dan 4:35; Amos 3:6; Mal 3:6; Luke 22:22; Acts 4:24-28; Rom 8:28.
Emmanuel Church believes that salvation is of the Lord. We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We therefore believe that God is sovereign in the salvation of men and women. Those who exercise genuine repentance and true faith in Jesus Christ do so because they have been chosen by God in eternity. Man, in his sinful state is totally depraved, he is not utterly depraved, that is as sinful as can be, but totally depravity means that sin permeates every area of man’s being, it has affected, his mind, heart, will and body. Therefore, in order to be saved sinners need to be regenerated i.e. born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the heart; that is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel: and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith, and newness of life. Knowledge of this truth of election and regeneration promotes amongst believers humility and assurance of salvation. However, it does not follow from the truth of election that believers need not participate in mission and evangelism. The Church is commanded by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel to all men everywhere, and the proclamation of the gospel is the means by which the elect are brought to salvation. All true believers will preserve to the end, they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. Thus, those who are regenerated, justified, indwelt by the presence of the Holy Spirit and subject to the transforming work of God, shall be empowered to persevere in their state of faith to the end (although there may be temporary lapses for some along life’s journey). Thus, having persevered to the end, they will inherit God’s heaven and eternally enjoy His presence there. Those who relapse and continue in that state to the end of their lives, demonstrate that they never really belonged to Christ’s Church.
Acts 13:48, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 9:11-13, Ephesians 1:4-6, 1 Thes 1:4-5, 2 Thes 2:13, 1 Peter 1:1, 1 Peter 2:9, Rev 13:7-8, Ephesians 2:1-9, John 3:3-8, 1 Peter 1:3, 1 Peter 1:23,25, John 3:5, John 6:44,65, John 1:12-13, Acts 16:4, Col 2:13, Matt 7:16, 21-23, 10:22; John 5:24, 6:38-39, 8:31-32, 10:27-30, 14:15, 21, 15:10; Rom 8:1, 38-39; 2Cor 5:17, 13:5; Gal 5:22-23; Eph 1:13-14; Phil 1:6; Col 1:22-23; Heb 3:14, 6:4-8, 7:25, 10:26-27, 12:2; 2 Pet 1:5-9; 1 John 2:4-6, 19-20.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Emmanuel Church believes that every genuine believer was baptised by the Holy Spirit at the moment at which they were regenerated and brought to true faith in Jesus Christ. The experiences of the disciples at Pentecost and of the Samaritan believer in Acts 8 were unique and unrepeatable moments of salvation history, and they do not provide a pattern for present day spiritual experience. Whilst every genuine believer is therefore always indwelt by the Holy Spirit, it does not follow that every believer is necessarily filled with the Spirit at all times. All believers are urged by Scripture to ensure that they are increasingly yielded to the power, influence and control of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, who glorifies Christ and produces the fruit of the Spirit and makes every believer reflect Christ’s character.
Marriage and sexuality
Emmanuel Church believes that God created men and women as sexual creatures. As such it is entirely right and pleasing to God that they should enjoy the pleasure of sexual intimacy. However, God has ordained that the only proper relationship within which such sexual intimacy may be enjoyed is marriage. The teaching of the Bible is that marriage is heterosexual, between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6, Ephesians 5:31-33) regardless of whether or not homosexual marriage is permitted by the laws of England and Wales. Sexual intimacy between a man and a woman who are unmarried, or between persons of the same gender, is sinful and displeasing to God. Those who engage in sexual intimacy outside of the context of a marriage relationship, and who do not repent of their sin, face the certain prospect of judgement. However, God longs that all persons who have fallen short of his standards of sexual behaviour, should come to repentance and faith, so that they might receive complete forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and that they might resist temptation, and live in a manner which is pleasing to God.
Genesis 2:24, Gen 19:5-8, Lev 18:22-23, Lev 20:13, Matthew 19:4-6, Ephesians 5:31-33, Romans 1:24-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Tim 1:9-10, Jude 7
Emmanuel Church believes that a nominal Christian is a person who is unregenerate (not born again) and therefore has not responded to the gospel in true repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They are Christian only in name, and may be very religious, give intellectual assent to the Christian faith/doctrine, may faithfully attend church services and claim to be Christians, but despite all of this, the Bible states that they are not saved from eternal punishment (Matthew 7:21-23, James 2:19). A nominal Christian therefore is not part of the universal church of Christ (church of all true believers) and hence cannot be a member of the local church. However, we long that they come to a true saving knowledge of Christ, through the new birth, which is demonstrated in true repentance and faith. True faith is then expressed in a changed life (Luke 3:8) and the fruit of the Holy Spirit being evident (Galatians 5:22-23).
Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 7:15-20, Luke 3:8, John 3:3, Romans 10-9-10, Galatians, 5:22-23, James 2:19, 1 John 2:3, 3:9.
Emmanuel Church believes that the Amillennial understanding of eschatology (the last days) is the most Biblically supportive interpretation. We do not believe that there is a future thousand-year, physical reign of Jesus Christ on the earth, as espoused in the premillennial and some postmillennial views of Revelation 20. We believe that the thousand years of Revelation 20 is a symbolic number (not a literal description), that the millennium has already begun and is identified with the Church age, and that while Christ’s reign (along with His Church) in heaven is spiritual in nature during the millennium, at the end of the Church age, Christ will return in final judgement and establish permanent physical reign on a rejuvenated earth - the final home of His blood bought people. Thus, we believe that the binding of Satan described in Revelation 20 has already occurred; he has been prevented from ‘deceiving the nations’ by preventing the spread of the gospel.
Isa 65:17-25; Matt 12:28-29, 24:14, 29-31, 28:18; Luke 17:20-21; Romans 14:17; Eph 2:6; Col. 2:15; 1 Thess 4:13-5:3; Heb. 2:14; Rev 1:7, 9, 20:1-21:8, 22-27, 22:1-7