About Us


We are a Reformed Baptist Church. What does that mean?

In the broadest sense, we are Reformed because we embrace the core values of the 16 th century Protestant Reformation. These values, which are embedded in Scripture, were rediscovered and revived by the Reformers in the context of a great battle between church-tradition-gone-wrong and Biblical Christianity.

The Reformers believed that the Roman Catholic Church – which at the time dominated public Christianity – had radically gone astray. The reason they knew this was because they had a deep reverence for the Bible as the inspired and inerrant Word of God. The more they studied the Bible and the more they studied Roman Catholicism, the more they realised that Catholicism was full of ungodly and anti-Biblical teachings, structures and rituals. The most tragic thing of all, according to the Reformers, was that Catholicism had lost the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Based on their conviction that Scripture alone is the highest authority, the Reformers courageously preached Biblical truth and called the Roman Catholic Church to repentance. Some of them were even executed for their bold stand for the truth. They laid down their lives in the hope that the church would rediscover the original Gospel message and return to the Biblical model of church life. The core Biblical truths which fueled their passion have been summarised as the Five Solas.

By God’s grace the Reformation developed in England through the influence of the Puritans. In the early 1600’s a group emerged from among them, nicknamed the ‘Baptists’. Although the Baptists had most things in common with the theology of the Reformers and Puritans, they took the reformation even further than their peers. They ‘stood out’ for insisting on Biblical truths such as the baptism of believers only, the
separation of church and state government, and congregationalism.

The early Baptists sadly had differences among themselves. There were ‘Particular’ and ‘General’ Baptists. The General Baptists sided with the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius in his debate with John Calvin over the doctrine of salvation. The Particular Baptists on the other hand agreed with Calvin’s views and the conclusions of the Synod of Dort.

The core ideas of Calvin’s doctrine of salvation have been summarised
in the acronym TULIP:

So where does Emmanuel Baptist Church fit in? We are most closely associated with the Particular Baptists. We admire their deep commitment to submit to the Bible alone (sola Scriptura) in doctrine and church life, and we praise God for the example they have set. This does not mean we believe their example is perfect or that there is perfect agreement among all Particular Baptists. We simply believe that of all the Reformed traditions, they have been most faithful to the Lord and His Word.

In the late 1600s, the representatives of many Particular Baptist churches in England and Wales forged and published a confession of faith to briefly state and defend their key doctrines (The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith). EBC holds to this document as our primary confession of faith.

Charles Spurgeon, who is one of the most famous reformed Baptist pastors in history, said this about the 1689 Baptist Confession: “This ancient document is the most excellent epitome of the things most surely believed among us. By the preserving hand of the Triune Jehovah we have been kept faithful to the great points of our glorious gospel, and we feel more resolved perpetually to abide by them. This little volume is not issued as an authoritative rule, or code of faith, whereby ye are to be fettered, but as an assistance to you in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and the means of edification and righteousness. Here the younger members of our church will have a body of divinity in small compass, and by means of the scriptural proofs, will be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in them. Be not ashamed of your faith; remember it is the ancient Gospel of martyrs, confessors, reformers, and saints. Above all, it is the truth of God against which the Gates of hell cannot prevail. Let your lives adorn your faith, let your example recommend your creed. Above all, live in Christ Jesus, and walk in him, giving credence to no teaching but that which is manifestly approved of Him, and owned by the Holy Spirit. Cleave fast to the Word of God, which is here mapped out to you. (Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s preface to the 1855 reprinting of the Baptist Confession)”

Although the 1689 Baptist Confession is our primary statement of doctrine (which our elders are required to believe, teach and defend), we do not require every member to hold to everything stated in it. We have a shorter statement of faith for membership which can be downloaded here. Nevertheless we encourage our members to appreciate the Reformed heritage which is ours by God’s grace, to respectfully submit to the teaching of Scripture and to the sound doctrine of our confessions, as well as to strive for unity in the bonds of peace (Ephesians 4:3-14).