Doctrinal Statement.

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God. Therefore, all Scripture is authoritative, infallible, and inerrant. The Scriptures are the only sufficient rule for faith and practice (Ps. 19:7; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).

There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience (Deut. 6:4; Ps. 145:3; John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 1 Tim. 1:17).

The Scriptures reveal that the one God eternally exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each person is distinct, but God is without division of nature, essence, or being (Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).

God, from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to be the author or approver of sin, nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures (Isa. 46:9-11; Prov. 16:33; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; Jas. 1:13-15).

God, from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to be the author or approver of sin, nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures (Isa. 46:9-11; Prov. 16:33; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; Jas. 1:13-15).

God originally created Man in His own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, Adam transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law. As a result they are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors (Gen. 1:26-27; 3:1-7; 6:5; Rom. 3:9-18; 5:12-19; 8:5-8; Eph. 2:1-3).

Since Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is fully God and fully man, He is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the law; suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever lives to make intercession for His people. He will return again visibly and bodily. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest, and King of the church, and Sovereign of the universe (Isa. 53:10-12; John 1:1, 14; Acts 1:9-11; Rom. 3:21-26; 8:34; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Gal. 3:13; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 1:1-3; 7:25).

We believe that God the Holy Spirit brings glory to the Father and the Son. He applies the work of Christ to believers and distributes spiritual gifts to every believer according to His sovereign good pleasure for the purpose of building up the body of Christ. He is the Comforter, the Spirit of Adoption, the Seal of our Salvation, and the Guarantor of our inheritance in Christ (John 14:16-17; 16:14; Acts 5:3; Rom. 8:14-17; Eph. 1:13-14).

Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who gives life to those dead in trespasses and sins, enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God's free and special grace alone (John 3:3-8; Eph. 2:1-6; Tit. 3:5; 1 John 5:1).

Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbles himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self- abhorrence, and turns from it with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things (Ps. 32:1-5; Isa. 6:5; 55:7; Luke 5:8; 18:9-14; Acts 2:37-38; 11:15-18; 2 Cor. 7:10-11; 2 Tim. 2:25).

Saving faith is the belief, on God's authority, of whatever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ; accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness (Rom. 3:27-28; 4:1-5; 4:17-25; 10:14, 17; Phil. 1:29; Eph. 2:8; Jas. 2:14-26).

Justification includes the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness. It is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer, by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God, that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God (Rom. 3:21-26; 4:4-9, 23-25; 5:1-2, 9, 17-21; 8:28-34; 10:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:7-9; Titus 3:5-7).

Those who have been regenerated are also sanctified by God's Word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to obtain, pressing after a heavenly life in cordial obedience to all Christ's commands (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:27; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:13-25; Eph. 3:14-21; Phil. 2:12-13; Col. 3:1-17; 2 Pet. 1:3-11).

All those whom God has regenerated will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall through neglect and temptation into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (John 6:37-40; 10:28-29; Rom. 8:28- 39; 1 Cor. 1:8-9; Phil. 1:6; 1 Thess. 5:23-24).

The Lord Jesus is the Head of the church, which is composed of all His true disciples, and in Him is invested supremely all power for its government. Christians are to associate themselves into particular societies or churches, and to each of these churches he has given needful authority for administering that order, discipline, and worship which He has appointed. The regular officers of a church are Elders (Pastors) and Deacons (Matt. 28:18-20; John 10:16; Acts 20:17, 28; Eph. 1:22; 5:23; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 5:17-18; Tit. 1:5-9; Heb. 10:25).

Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his union with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of his giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church membership. (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:13).

The Lord's Supper is a new covenant ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and the fruit of the vine, and to be observed by His churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate and proclaim His death (Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:23-34).

God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Although all legitimate human authority is ordained by God’s decree it is also limited by God’s ultimate authority. For example, civil magistrates, being ordained of God, subjection in all lawful things commanded by them ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but also for the sake of conscience. However when they call us to disobey God then we must, with a clear conscience, obey God rather than man. (Matt. 15:9; Rom. 13:1-7; 14:4; Acts 5:29; Col. 2:20-23).

The bodies of men, after death, return to dust. At death, believers go to be with the Lord and unbelievers enter torment. The bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised (Gen. 3:19; Luke 16:22-26; 23:43; John 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:12-28; 2 Cor. 5:1-10; Phil. 1:23).

God has appointed a day wherein He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when every one shall receive according to his deeds; the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into everlasting life (Matt. 25:46; John 5:22, 27-29; Acts 17:31; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Thess. 1:7-10).

Baptism.

The first-ever Christian sermon ended with this application, “And Peter said to them, ‘repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Peter had just told a huge crowd that Jesus had died and rose again, and their response was to repent and be baptized. Peter’s sermon application has a lot to teach us. 

A lot of people these days are Christians for years before getting baptized. That’s unfortunate because, in the New Testament, baptism comes at the start of your Christian life. Peter told a group of non-Christians that their first step in following Jesus was to get baptized. Jesus made the same point in Matthew 28:19–20: Baptism comes at the start of a life of obeying his commandments. It is initiatory. If you’re a new Christian, you should be baptized. If you’ve been a Christian a long time but have never been baptized, it’s time to do what Jesus commanded you to do at the beginning of your Christian life. It’s never too late to do what is right! 

Notice who is called to be baptized—it is the same people who are being called to repent. Repenting means turning from your sin. Only people old enough to consciously turn from their sins should be baptized. You don’t get baptized because you are related to someone who has repented—you get baptized when you have repented.

We know that there are many fine Christians who do not agree about who should be baptized and how they should be baptized. Yet, we believe the word "baptism" literally means “to dip.” Biblical baptism involves sinners being immersed completely in water. Why? Because it is symbolic (see below).

If you have read the Bible before, you might be surprised that Peter said, “Repent and be baptized.” After all, didn’t Jesus say, “Repent and believe” (Mark 1:15)? Are we supposed to repent and be baptized or repent and believe? Well, the answer is both, and the reason the words "baptism" and "believe" can almost be used interchangeably is that baptism is an act to symbolize our faith. In 1 Peter 3:21, the Bible says that baptism is, “an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Baptism symbolizes the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Just like we are dipped into the water, he was immersed in the grave. Just like he came up in the resurrection, we come up out of the water to symbolize or new life in him. The waters of baptism don’t do anything to save you, but in baptism, you are expressing your faith. You are saying to God, “Lord, I want the death and resurrection of Jesus applied to me. I am appealing to you to cleanse me of my sin through what Jesus did in dying and rising again.” Baptism is the perfect symbol of our faith.  

When Peter told the crowd to be baptized, 3000 of them did. These same three thousand people immediately “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). In other words, they devoted themselves to committed church life. If you are baptized at Immanuel, we trust you will enter yourself into committed church membership as well.  

After reading these words, you may be saying, “That’s me! I have repented of my sins. I believe in Jesus! I want to be immersed in water as a symbol that proclaims my trust in Jesus to cleanse my conscience through his death and resurrection.” If that is you, we encourage you to talk to a pastor, or maybe even fill out a membership form today. As you move towards membership, we would be happy to talk to you more about baptism. 

On the other hand, some of you may be confused after reading these words. You may be asking common questions like, “I was baptized by sprinkling, does that count?” Or, “I was baptized before I repented and believed, does that count?” Or, maybe you’re asking, “Can my child be baptized?” All of these questions are common, and we would be delighted to talk through them with you. We encourage you to talk to one of our pastors to help you think through these issues.

Lord's Supper.

At Immanuel, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper almost every week. We share bread and fruit of the vine to remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ for us. The bread symbolizes his body given for us. The fruit of the vine celebrates his blood shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins. We do this because Jesus commanded us to: “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24). When we take the Lord’s Supper, we are remembering the central treasure of our faith. If you are visiting Immanuel, we want to help you decide if you should take the meal with us!

The Apostle Paul says this meal is to be taken when Christians come “together as a church” (1 Cor. 11:18). Who is the "church"? Christ’s church is made up of all those who have turned away from their sins and trusted Jesus to be their Savior and Lord. True Christians are not people who merely come from a Christian background—they are people who have turned away from loving themselves to loving God. If you know that you are a sinner who deserves God’s wrath but you have trusted Jesus' death on the cross to take that wrath for you, then this meal is for you! It is not a meal that will save you, but rather, a meal that reminds you of the salvation that Christians have received in Jesus Christ. 

Historically, almost all Christian groups have insisted that believers are to be baptized before taking the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:38-42). Baptists have sometimes offended their Christian brothers and sister because many of us do not believe that infant baptism or baptism by sprinkling is indeed New Testament baptism. It is not our desire to be offensive to our fellow believers, but it is our desire to practice what we are convinced the New Testament teaches.  

For this reason, we only invite those who have been baptized by immersion to the Lord’s table. If you are a brother or a sister in Christ, we hope that you will not see our practice as a way to offend you but as our attempt to be faithful to God. We know many churches with different practices than ours, and while we might disagree with them, we celebrate their desire to obey God above all else. 

Paul’s strongest words of warning come to those believers who take the Lord’s Supper while they are being unchristlike to their fellow Christians. Thus, he warns Christians like this, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” (1 Cor. 11:27–32)  

Before we take the Lord’s Supper, we are to judge ourselves. We are to ask, “Is there any way I have offended, or am offending, a brother or a sister in Christ through my sin?”  If the answer is “yes,” then we should do all we can to be reconciled with that brother or sister before we take the Lord’s Supper. If we refuse to do this, the Lord may bring severe—even deadly—discipline upon us. 

Every week, Immanuel is privileged to have guests from other Christian traditions. We are also privileged to have guests from other religions and guests with no religious commitment. We are delighted that God has brought you to worship with us. Whether you are curious, skeptical, or hostile, we are glad you are here. In fact, we are honored you are here. We would love it if you would introduce yourself so that we can get to know you.

While the Lord’s Supper is our family table, we are delighted whenever our family gets to show hospitality to those who do not share all of our beliefs. So please stick around, start a conversation, visit a Gospel Community Group, attend a Bible study, etc.  We would love to have you around, even if you’re not ready to join our faith family!

Church Membership.

If you are a Christian, you probably know you should go to church. After all, the first Christians were devoted to getting together (Acts 2:42), and the book of Hebrews actually tells us plainly that we are not to be “neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:25). We are supposed to go to church. But join one... where is that in the Bible?

Well, the honest answer is that church membership is nowhere commanded, but everywhere implied. In fact, there are several New Testament commands that can’t be obeyed unless you join a church.

 

The New Testament letter to the Hebrews says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Heb 13:17). If you don’t join a church, how do you know who your leaders are? Are they the leaders of the churches nearest to your house? Are they the leaders of the last church you attended? Apparently, Jesus thinks you should obey a group of leaders and you are supposed to know who they are. Do you?

Not only that, but apparently a group of leaders is supposed to be watching over your soul. A particular group of leaders is supposed to be getting great joy from your life? Which leaders are those? You might watch a TV preacher but he cannot faithfully “watch over” you. The Bible wants you to be in a relationship with one local church where you know the leaders and the leaders can know you. That can’t happen unless you commit to a local church. 

Now you might be thinking, "Who wants to be held accountable by a congregation?" Well you should, because that is what Jesus desires for you. In Matthew 18, Jesus gives us a look at what church life should look like, and one of the things he shows us is that it is characterized by loving accountability. He tells us that when someone sins against us, we should confront them in love. When they keep sinning, we should keep pursuing. And when they refuse to listen, he says, “tell it to the church” (Matt. 18:17). 

In our individualistic age, that may initially sound terrible. However, when you have come to see how prone you are to wander from Jesus, it is a wonderful gift to have a church that would lovingly come after you. If you ever wandered from the Lord, which church would care for your soul? If you ever had to pursue another Christian, which church would you eventually tell? If you can’t answer these questions, you need to join a church. 

The Christian life is not a life of mere acquaintances—it is a life of living like a family in the context of a local church. The Christian life is a life of joyful love. It is a life of learning to walk like Jesus in, “all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:2–3). Who have you agreed to bear with, even when they are struggling with sin? Who has agreed to bear with you in all of your struggles? If you can’t answer that, you need to join a church. 

Anyone can! After all, he is building a community from all cultures where Christ is King. Following him, we invite all people to join this church who shares a common life, a common doctrine, and a common commitment. What does that mean? It means that all the members of Immanuel have experienced new life in Christ. We have seen that without him, we are sinners, and with him, we are forgiven sinners who have been given new hearts to love him.

It also means that all of our members have a common doctrine. We can’t all express it perfectly, but we share a common faith based on the Bible. You can learn more about what we believe by reviewing our Doctrinal Statement. Finally, we all have a common commitment. We are committed to obeying Jesus through the life of this local church as his obedient disciples. Does that describe you? If so, we would love to have you join us! 

To become a member at Immanuel, you need to do four things. First, fill out a membership application. Secondly, have a meeting with one of our pastors. This will allow them to get to know you, your story, your beliefs, and your commitment. It will also allow you to start getting to know them. Thirdly, every member candidate must complete our Introducing Immanuel class. Lastly, you will make vows before the congregation as they make vows to you. Find out more about each of these steps, including the vows, on our Church Membership page. We would be delighted if God would lead you to join this local church so that we can display the Lord Jesus Christ together. 

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