Since its inception, the Church has laid out its beliefs in definitive statements such as hymns, creeds, and confessions. These statements serve to impart truth, show unity in Christ, equip believers, avoid confusion, and protect the church from doctrinal error (false teaching). They are a response to God’s revelation and should correspond to the teaching and boundaries that God has given us in His Word. Visit our Creeds and Confessions page for more information on various statements which have informed our church’s confession.
As those who know and seek to glorify God at ECC, we believe it is necessary to set forth the cornerstone truths of our church, as guided by Scripture, in a concise manner in order to help clarify what we believe the Bible says. This is our Statement of Faith as outlined in our church Constitution. For a more detailed statement regarding particular theological distinctives and confessions that inform the preaching, teaching, and other ministries of the pastors of this local congregation (though are not required for membership), see our Distinctives and Church Statements pages.
1. The Scriptures
We believe that the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are verbally inspired by God and accept them as the written Word of God, the revelation of absolute Truth. They are inerrant and infallible in the original writings, totally sufficient, and the authoritative and normative rule and guide of all Christian life, practice, and doctrine (Ps. 19:7-11, 119; John 17:17; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:19-21).
2. The Triune God
We believe in the one, true, and living God. He is eternal, self-sufficient, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent; perfect in holiness, truth, and love; having all life, goodness, and blessedness in and of Himself. In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance and nature, equal in power and glory—each having the whole divine essence without this essence being divided—yet distinct in ministry. This is the very foundation of our faith, life, and fellowship with God (Exo. 34:5-7; Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; Luke 3:22; John 5:26; 14:16-17; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6).
3. Creation and Providence
We believe that the triune God is the Creator and Sustainer of everyone and everything. He upholds, directs, and governs all things, according to His holy will, to the end for which they were created—namely, the praise of His glory. The sovereignty of God extends over all things such that there is no aspect of reality outside of His ultimate control. God is sovereign in such a way that He is not the author of, nor guilty of committing, sin, but that His just and eternal decree is compatible with the moral accountability of all persons created in His image (Job 38:11; Ps. 33:8-11; 93:1-2; 115:3; 135:6; Prov. 16:33; 19:21; Isa. 46:9-11; Dan. 4:34-35; Rom. 11:33-36; Eph. 1:11; Rev. 4:11).
4. The Fall of Man
We believe that God created man in His own image to know, love, enjoy, and glorify Him. However, man, being tempted by Satan, sinned against God resulting in not only physical but spiritual death, subject to divine wrath. Consequently, mankind is sinful by nature; depraved in mind, will, and affections; and at enmity with God, completely unable to please Him or be reconciled to Him through any merit of their own (Gen. 1:26-27, 2:17, 3:1-7,19; Rom. 1:18, 3:10-19,23, 5:12-14, 8:7-8; Eph. 2:1-3, 5:5-6).
5. Jesus Christ
We believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten, eternal, and preeminent Son of God, who is the Word made flesh—fully God and fully man. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life and perfect obedience, miracles, substitutionary work of atonement on the cross, bodily resurrection from the dead, ascension, and exaltation to the right hand of God (Isa. 52:13-53:12; John 1:1-18; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Php. 2:6-11; Col. 1:15-22; Heb. 1:1-4).
6. The Gospel
We believe that God, according to His goodness, wisdom, and grace, and in faithfulness to His covenant promises, sent His Son into the world for the redemption of mankind and the restoration of all things. God revealed His righteousness and demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ fulfilled the demands of the law, shed his blood and died on the cross as a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice, and rose from the dead for the salvation of all who believe. This gospel is the announcement that God reigns as King through the sacrifice and exaltation of Jesus, who is the only mediator between God and man (John 10:9-11, 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 5:1-21; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 4:4-6; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; 1 Pet. 2:21-24).
7. The Salvation of Man
We believe that eternal life, the free gift of God, is provided by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Anyone believing upon the Lord Jesus Christ and repenting of sin is justified before God—forgiven and declared righteous by faith—reconciled to Him, adopted as sons, and redeemed from the law of sin and death. These are the blessings of our union with Christ, the believer’s only hope in life and death (John 1:12-13; Rom. 3:21-28, 5:1-2, 8:1-4, 10:9; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 1:7-12, 2:4-9; Titus 3:3-7).
8. The Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who is a divine person, coeternal with and proceeding from the Father and Son. He is the primary Agent in the new birth, given irrevocably to all who truly believe by regenerating, sealing, and dwelling in their hearts. He comforts, convicts, teaches, sanctifies, illuminates Scripture, and guides the Church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word, producing His fruit in their lives (Eze. 36:26-27; John 3:3-8, 14:16-18, 15:26; 16:7-15; Rom. 5:5; 8:9-17; Gal. 5:22-25; Eph. 1:13-14).
9. The Sanctification of Believers
We believe that sanctification is a continual process, beginning at salvation, of separation from evil and dedication unto God in the life of a true believer, whereby he daily presents his body as a living sacrifice, identifying with Christ’s death and resurrection, being led by the Spirit, and transformed by the renewing of his mind (Rom. 6:1-8:17, 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 2:19-20; Eph. 2:10; Col. 3:1-17; 1 Pet. 1:14-16).
10. The Empowering of the Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit desires to continually fill every believer with boldness and power to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and imparts His gifts for the edification of the body and the work of ministry in the world. Believers should likewise earnestly seek to be filled, controlled, and yielded to the Spirit continually. We believe the gifts are available today and are to be eagerly desired and practiced in submission to the Spirit speaking through the Scriptures (John 7:37-39; Acts 1:8, 2:37-47, 4:29-31; Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12-14; Eph. 4:7-16; 5:18).
11. The Church and its Mission
We believe that God graciously chooses and preserves for Himself a community united by faith who love, follow, learn from, and worship God together. A visible church of Christ is a local congregation of baptized believers associated by covenant in the fellowship of the gospel, that observes the ordinances of Christ, and whose only scriptural officers are Elders and Deacons. This body of believers proclaims the gospel, makes disciples of all men from all nations, and prefigures Christ’s kingdom by the quality of their life together and their love for one another (Matt. 16:15-19; John 17:20-25; Eph. 2:19-22, 4:11-16; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9-10).
12. The Ordinances of the Church
We believe that the ordinances of water baptism and communion (the Lord’s Supper), instituted and commanded to be observed by Jesus Christ, are visible signs for His body that we are bound together as a covenant community of faith. By our participation in them, the Holy Spirit more fully declares and seals the promises of the gospel to us. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 28:19; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:38-41; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Col. 2:11-12).
13. The Sanctity of Human Life
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life (Gen. 1:26-27, 9:6; Job 31:15; Ps. 139:13-16; Jer. 1:5; Luke 12:6-7).
14. Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person. We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. At the same time, we believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Gen. 1:26-27, 2:18-25; Matt. 19:4-6; Mark 12:28-31; Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-11, 18, 7:2-5; Eph. 5:22-33; Heb. 13:4).
15. The Consummation
We believe in the glorious return of the Lord Jesus—our blessed hope, the resurrection of the dead, the translation of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the righteous to eternal life and the wicked to eternal punishment, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth to the praise of His glory (Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20-22).
This statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our sincerely held religious beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, the Elders are the final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application for Emmanuel Community Church.