What We Believe

At a planning retreat some years ago, the following statement was adopted:

Emmanuel is a diverse and growing tapestry of faith, woven together in our common commitment to follow Christ. We are God’s many-hued children, gathering to celebrate, to struggle, to serve, and to tell the good news of God’s love in the Capital District and around the world.

We do not recite a creed, but our life together as a community, both in Sunday worship and outside of it speaks of the commonalities of our faith. At Emmanuel when we speak of being a “tapestry of faith”, it is because we are aware that there is a relatively wide range of theological points of view or orientations present in the congregation. We come from widely varying religious backgrounds. We have members who are conservative and we have members who are liberal. If we asked for a vote on any particular theological issue we would certainly end up with a divided result. But our divisions do not split our congregation. We have accepted those differences. We learn from one another and are able to accept our theological disagreements.

It could be said of our congregation that in many ways we mirror the entire ABC/USA convention. But, instead of having a strongly evangelical church here and another strongly socially minded church there; or, a black church here and a white church there and an Asian church over there, we have the theological diversity as well as the racial diversity all in one congregation. It is exciting.

We are a Christian community with a firm attachment to the importance of Scripture. We take Jesus Christ to be the foundation of the Church. We recognize and engage the workings of the Holy Spirit among us through various ministries to which our membership continues to be called. We seek as a faith community to know God better and to make God manifest in our church and in the world at large.

As a community we affirm several Baptist principles. Among these is the principle of Soul Liberty—the right and responsibility of each individual to read and interpret Scripture. Although many among us would not know what the term “Soul Liberty” means, the acknowledgment and acceptance of our diversity indicates that we live this principle on a daily basis as a community. We also practice the baptism of believers. Our strong lay leadership speaks to the fact that many, if not all, of us adhere to the idea of a priesthood of all believers. Recent surveys and discussions among church members affirm that we wish to remain a Baptist church.

In summary:

  • We believe in the importance of Scripture
  • We believe that Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Church
  • We believe that the Holy Spirit calls individuals to ministry
  • We believe in the Baptist principles of Soul Liberty and the Baptism of Believers