Emmanuel Baptist Church

Proclaiming the whole counsel of God
As Approved on 26/11/08
Ammended Jan 2009


1.0 NAME

The Church shall be known as the EMMANUEL BAPTIST CHURCH.

2.0 STATEMENT OF BELIEF

The Church holds to the 1689 (London) Baptist confession of Faith up-dated with comments by P Masters, as published by The Wakeman Trust in 1981, as a true interpretation of its religious convictions based upon Scripture, and as its official declaration of faith for conduct and teaching. The comments by P Masters do not have equal standing and value to the confession itself. It does not regard that confession as complete or infal-lible, nor does the church, by holding to the said confession, intend to add anything to the simple conditions of salvation revealed in the scriptures.
While recognising the 1689 Baptist Confession of faith as the official dec-laration of faith for conduct and teaching, the Church acknowledges that not all believers have the same convictions and accordingly requires that all candidates for membership should at least accept the following shorter statement of belief prior to admission as members.

THE SHORTER STATEMENT OF BELIEF

The Church believes:

2.1 In the plenary (that the whole of scripture is inspired by God), verbal, (that every word in the original autographs is inspired by God), infallible, (that every word in the original autographs is true and reliable), inerrant, (that there are no errors in the original autographs of the Bible), clear, (that the Bible was written so that ordinary people could understand it), and sufficient,(that we do not need anything in addition to the Bible to know what God would have us to know, do and be), inspiration of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments in their original autographs as fully inspired by God, both as to doctrine and content, and accepts them as the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
2.2 In one God, creator of all things, holy, sovereign, eternal, existing in three equal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

2.3 In the absolute and essential deity of Jesus Christ, in His eternal existence with the Father in pre-incarnate glory, in His virgin birth, true humanity, sinless life, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, triumphant ascension, mediatorial ministry and personal return.

2.4 That the Holy Spirit works in redemption.

2.4.1 The Holy Spirit is from eternity truly God, the third Person of the Divine Trinity. 93
93 Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor 13:14

2.4.2 The foundation on which the church is established is God’s revela-tion in Jesus Christ.94 This foundation was laid as the Holy Spirit made the truth regarding Jesus Christ known to the apostles, thus enabling them to bear witness to him.95 In this way the apostles and their intimate co-workers were inspired by the Spirit to put the New Testament message into writing and so to complete the Scriptures.96 Since the work of the apostles was unique and unrepeatable, the office of apostle ended when the last of the New Testament apostles passed from the scene.97 Ever since the completion of the canon the Spirit’s means of communicating God’s truth has been to illuminate the Scriptures which He inspired.” 98
94 John 1: 18; 1 Cor 3:11; 95 John 15:26-27; 16:13-15; Acts 1.21-25; Eph 2:20; 3:4-5. 961 Thess 2:13; 2 Pet 1:12-21; 3:15-16; 97 1 Cor 15:5-8;
98 2 Tim 3:16-17.

2.4.3 Although the Holy Spirit was active in the Old Testament period, He was, according to the promises of the prophets, poured out in matchless abundance on the church after the ascension of Christ.99 This happened on the day of Pentecost (the Old Testament harvest festival). The Holy Spirit is therefore, in a special way, the Spirit of the New Testament harvest, which consists of the elect from the entire human race. His work is largely concerned with their calling and preservation in this life, and is accom-plished by mediating Christ to his people.100 Thus the work of the Holy Spirit in believers is absolutely essential for their salvation.
99 Neh 9:20; Isa 63:11; Acts 2:1-39; 100 John 14:16-18; 16:8-11; Eph 1:13-14¬

2.4.4 The Holy Spirit is the central gift of the new covenant.101 Ever since Christ poured out the Spirit on the day of pentecost believers have received the gift of his indwelling presence immediately upon the exercise of saving faith.102 Thus, all true believers have been baptised in (or by) the Spirit 103 and possess the gift of the Spirit – a gift which is neither to be waited for nor purchased.
101 Ezek 36:27; Acts 2:16-21. 102 Acts 2:39; Rom 8:9; 103 1 Cor 12:13;

2.4.5 The initial work of the Spirit in illumination and regeneration leads to repentance and saving faith.104 By the gift of the Spirit God assures His children of their sonship and eternal life,105 gives to them a foretaste of what is yet to come,106 restores in them the image of God by conforming them to the likeness of Christ;107 instructs them in the words and ways of Christ;108 liberates them from the bondage of sin thus enabling them to obey God from the heart;109 assists them in their prayers;110 mediates Christ’s presence;111 unites them to one another.112
104 John 1: 12-13; 1 Cor 2:6-16; 1 John 5: 1; 105 Ro 8:14-17; 106 Ro 8:23; Eph 1:14; 107 2 Cor 3:18; Col 3:10; 108 John 14:26; 109 Gal 5: 16-26; 110 Rom 8:26; 111 John 14:16-18;
112 1 Cor 12:13.

2.4.6 The Holy Spirit resides irrevocably in the hearts of all true Chris-tians from the moment of their conversion, having been received once for all.13 Nevertheless, the same Spirit continues to be supplied to them throughout their lives. Thus it is the duty of those already indwelt by God’s Spirit both to request further supplies and larger measures of the Holy Spirit and to be filled continually with (i.e. controlled by) the Holy Spirit.114
113 Eph 1:13; 114 Luke 11: 13; Eph 5: 18

2.4.7 It is crucial to recognise the Holy Spirit’s work in the individual be-liever. Nevertheless, since believers are baptised by the Spirit into the body, the corporate nature of the Holy Spirit’s work should not be ignored.115 The Holy Spirit works within the individual in the context of the community of believers: both the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit assume the corporate nature of the Holy Spirit’s work.116
115 1 Cor 12:12-13; 116 1 Cor 12:4-11; Eph 5:18-2 1.

2.4.8 The gift of the Holy Spirit is never completely taken away from true Christians but He can be so grieved by their rebellions and backslidings, that, for a season, His presence is greatly withdrawn and His influence largely withheld.117 Therefore it is the duty of all believers neither to grieve nor to quench the Holy Spirit.118
117 Eph 4:30; 118 1 Thess 5:19.

2.4.9 Each true congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ is charismatic by nature in the sense that every believer receives a gift (or gifts) and is re-sponsible to exercise it (or them) in practising the priesthood of the
believer.119 This does not mean, however, that the equipping work of the Holy Spirit is limited to the gifts that are explicitly mentioned in the New Testament. Neither does it mean that all the gifts which are mentioned still appear to¬day. Clearly, the gifts associated with the work of the apostles in the time before the New Testament was completed – especially the revelatory gifts – disappeared with the finalisation of the canon since they were no longer needed.120
119 Rom 12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:4-11; 1 Pet 4: 10-11; 120 See sect. 2.5.2

2.5 That Satan exists as a real creature; that he is the originator of sin, the archenemy of God and man and, while he now always opposes God’s purposes, God has determined his final eternal punishment in a real and actual Hell.

2.6 That man was divinely created in the image of God; that in Adam man sinned, becoming guilty before God and, as a result, all mankind are totally depraved (radically corrupt), justly incurring the penalty of spiritual and physical death.

2.7 That none but those who exercise repentance unto God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved; salvation is by the sovereign grace of God; by the appointment of the Father, Christ voluntarily suffered a substitutionary, expiatory and propitiatory death; justification is by faith alone in the person of our Saviour Jesus Christ who made an all-sufficient sacrifice and who was raised from the dead; those who are effectually called shall, by the work of the Holy Spirit, be regenerated, preserved, persevere and finally be perfected into the image of the Lord.

2.8 That, at the glorious bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Judge, there will be a bodily resurrection both of the just and of the unjust, a separation of the redeemed to everlasting blessedness and the conscious eternal punishment of those who have not believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work for sinners.

2.9 That the one true Church consists of those who have been effectually called by the Father, redeemed through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, have repented of their sin and believed on the Lord as their Saviour.

2.10 That, as the whole company of those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and redeemed through the atoning work of Jesus Christ who, having repented of their sin and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, form the one true Church, the local church on earth should rep-resent both this doctrine and the outworking thereof in its character. Therefore the new birth and personal confession of faith in Christ are es-sentials of Church membership.

2.11 That the local Church is an autonomous voluntary association of those called by God into His service, who gather for worship and service under the Lordship of Christ, who are subject to the Word of God and who ob-serve the ordinances of the Lord’s supper and believer’s baptism. They also mutually edify one another, are recipients of divinely given gifts, precepts and privileges and propagate the Gospel.

2.12 That all believers are called to a life of holiness, service and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

2.13 That all of God’s people are a priesthood of believers.

2.14 That, due to the power and authority given to the local Church by its Lord, no hierarchical structures or voluntary association shall usurp its authority. Rather, the local Church shall appoint by common consent through voting its God-appointed leaders – elders and deacons – who are called to adminis-ter, teach, discipline, and exercise other necessary duties, according to the principles of the Word of God.

2.15 That all believers are called upon to honour and pray for all in authority but are obligated to obey God should there be conflict with His expressed commands. That the Church is under the authority of Christ and is therefore not to be subject to, nor influenced by civil authorities or government in cases where there is conflict with the teaching of Holy Scripture.

2.16 That God has sanctioned marriage between a man and woman, therefore we believe in heterosexual relationships between a natural man and a natural woman within the confines of lawful matrimony. The practice of same sex marriages is abhorrent to God. Adherence to this stated principle of sexual behaviour is an inherent requirement for membership with the Emmanuel Baptist Church.
Gen 18:20; Gen 19:5; Lev 18:22; Rom 1:27

2.17 That arguments may be advanced to separate those whom God has joined together in marriage. Yet nothing but adultery or wilful desertion that cannot be healed by the church or civil authority is sufficient cause for dissolving the bond of marriage. Such dissolution is to be conducted in public and an orderly course of proceedings is to be observed. The persons concerned should not be left to their own will and discretion. Under these two conditions (adultery & wilful desertion) it is lawful for the innocent party, after the divorce, to marry another. It is as if the offending party were dead.
Matt 19.8-9; Rom 7:2-3; 1 Cor 7:15; Matt 19:6; Deu 2:41-4; Matt 1:18-20; Matt 5:31-32

2.18 That the Lord Jesus Christ appointed two ordinances – baptism and the Lord’s supper – to be observed as acts of obedience and as a perpetual wit-ness to the cardinal facts of the Christian faith. By baptism is meant the total immersion of the believer in water as a confession of identification with Christ in His burial and resurrection. The Lord’s supper is the partaking of the bread and the cup as symbols of the Saviour’s body and blood in re-membrance of His sacrificial death till His return.

2.19 That the above shorter statement of belief (clauses 2.1 to 2.18 including all subclauses) shall be agreed to without any mental or other reservations and signed by all members of the Emmanuel Baptist Church.
If current members (on 26/11/2008) have difficulty with any of the
clauses 2.1 to 2.18 they may present the matter in writing to the elders
who will decide on the matter. New members will be required to accept
the constitution as it stands.

3.0 THE CORE VALUES OF THE CHURCH

These are given in Appendix B.

4.0 OBSERVANCE OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER

The Church shall observe Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as enjoined upon His fol-lowers by the Lord Jesus Christ.

4.1 BAPTISM:
Believers, responding in obedience to the command of our Saviour, shall be baptised by immersion having
a) evidenced a biblically sound confession of personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,
b) been duly instructed as to the meaning and biblical significance of
baptism.
4.2 COMMUNION:
Participation at the Lord’s Table shall be open to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ and who have accepted Him as the Son of God and their personal Saviour, who are walking in obedience to Jesus Christ their Lord and in fellowship with other believers.

5.0 OBJECTIVES OF THE CHURCH

5.1 To seek (through the preaching and teaching of the Word of God as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments) that God may bring to repentance, faith and true conversion, those who are unregenerate.

5.2 To build up, instruct and encourage in their faith and love those who are His people.

5.3 To seek to ensure that Christians may be mutually strengthened and encouraged by the fellowship they enjoy with each other.

5.4 To provide suitable places and regular opportunities for corporate services of worship and praise which should be conducted in a spirit of true humility and reverence.

5.5 To provide opportunities for all members to fulfil a scriptural responsibility to engage in practical Christian service.

5.6 To identify with, and support, the work of missions throughout the world in fulfilment of the commission of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Church to preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations.

6.0 MEMBERSHIP

6.1 ADMISSION
Every application shall be made in the first instance to the elders who shall then make careful enquiry regarding the candidate’s qualification and shall submit their report to a business meeting. The applicants will attend this part of the meeting and will give a personal testimony as to their conversion and walk with the Lord. Any such application shall be accepted, rejected or referred back, by the open vote of the meeting after the Elders’ report has been considered.

6.2 QUALIFICATIONS
The membership shall consist of

6.2.1 Those whose names are on the Church Register,

6.2.2 Those who, desiring membership, have given evidence of their personal salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have confessed that faith in baptism by immersion and have been accepted by the Church in terms of Clause 6.1. However, any person who is a member of a secret society or any other association or organisation whose principles and/or objectives are in conflict with the Christian Gospel will not be entitled to membership of the church.

6.3 PRIVILEGES AND OBLIGATIONS

6.3.1 It is the special privilege and duty of the members to witness for Christ and to seek to win others for the Lord and to introduce strangers to the Church. All members are to pray for each other and to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ.

6.3.2 Every member is expected to attend all business meetings.

6.3.3 Members are expected to support the ministry and maintain fellowship of the Church especially by prayer, attendance at the Lord’s day and midweek services and prayer meetings whenever possible.

6.3.4 Members are to be actively engaged in some definite work in connection with the Church as well as in conscientious giving as God’s provision en-ables.

6.3.5 Members of the Church have the privilege of working within the Church and its outreaches. This privilege may be allowed to non-members for short periods at the discretion of the elders.

6.4 DISCIPLINE

6.4.1 If any member is absent from the services of the Church and/or fails to comply with any obligations of membership for a six-month period without good reason known to the elders, the elders shall enquire into the matter. In the event of such enquiry producing no satisfactory result, the name of the member concerned shall be reported to a business meeting for such action as the members present may decide after due consideration.

6.4.2 In the event of an allegation of unworthy conduct or expressed belief con-trary to the Shorter Statement of Belief (clause 2) being brought against a member, the elders shall make enquiry into the matter. The elders shall deal with the matter and, if they consider it necessary, they shall present a report with recommendation to a General Business Meeting. The Church membership shall make the final decision in the matter following the pro-cedure as set out in 8.4.3.2 to 8.4.3.6. The suspension or expulsion of members of the Church shall be undertaken only if there is no repentance and all efforts to bring about restoration have failed.

6.4.3 In purely personal matters members shall be expected to act in accordance with the Lord’s injunction recorded in Matthew 18:15-17.

6.5 TRANSFER
Letters of introduction for members of good standing (as assessed by the elders & deacons) to join another Protestant Church may be forwarded by the elders who shall report such action as information at the next Church business meeting.

7.0 CHURCH GOVERNMENT

7.1 The Church acknowledges Jesus Christ as the supreme head of the Church and undertakes to manage all its affairs according to New Testament teach-ing and recognises the sole authority of the Holy Scriptures in all matters of faith and conduct. Under this divine headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, the final authority and responsibility in all matters touching the life and service of the Church rests with the membership as a whole.

7.2 THE MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH

We acknowledge the ministry to be that of our entire Church membership. We further acknowledge that to some have been given the particular gifts of preaching and teaching the Word, of pastoral care and of leadership in the Church.

7.2.1 The leadership of the Church shall consist of the elders and dea-cons elected in accordance with this constitution, being those also who subscribe to the principles of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.

7.2.2 The Church shall function through the medium of its elders
and deacons. The business of the Church shall be directed and managed by the elders with the assistance of the deacons. Both elders and deacons shall be guided by the Word of God, and shall be accountable to the Church for the proper carrying out of their responsibilities.

7.2.3 If possible, the elders and deacons shall meet at least once
a month.

7.2.4 All appointments made by organisations or departments
connected with the Church shall be submitted to the elders
for confirmation.

7.2.5 At any meeting of the elders & deacons 50% of those elected, including the chairman, shall constitute a quorum.

7.2.6 Elders shall consider as their chief function the spiritual oversight of, and pastoral concern for, the Church working in close contact and in harmony with each other and all members of the Church.

7.2.7 Elders shall meet at their discretion to consider matters affecting the spiritual life of the Church.

7.2.8 Elders shall be ex-officio members of all committees appointed in the Church and as such may attend any meetings.

7.3 THE APPOINTMENT OF ELDERS
In the appointment of an elder the following procedure shall be adopted:

7.3.1 The choice and appointment of an elder is vested in the member-ship of the Church who will do so only after extended prayer.

7.3.2 Elders must be qualified for the office according to the teaching of 1 Timothy 3: 1-7, Titus 1: 6 – 9 and in the spirit of 1 Peter 5: 1 – 4. The appointment of an elder will continue to be valid unless terminated in terms of clause 7.3.5 as it is a recognition of God’s calling to such position.

7.3.3 Having considered the guidelines set out in appendix A, the elders shall make the necessary enquiries and shall make a recom-mendation to the Church without unreasonable delay. They shall consult the outgoing pastor (where applicable) in respect of the proposed appointment of a new pastor and he shall be entitled to give guidance and suggestions as to the suitability or otherwise of his nominated successor. Members, after consultation with the elders, may submit names in writing. The elders and the Church shall, however, not be bound by the above recommendations. The elders shall put before the Church only one name at a time. Their recommendation shall be considered at a Church business meeting called for that purpose. Voting will be by a show of hands. No invitation shall be made unless at least 75% of the members present and eligible to vote, vote in favour.

7.3.4 Any invitation shall be contingent upon the prospective elder (in-cluding a pastor) accepting in writing both the principles of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith and the provisions of the church trust deed and constitution, copies of which shall be supplied for his perusal at the time of his call. The Church recognises the scriptural prohibition of the appointment of women in a position of authority over men in any local Church and the elder(s) of the Church shall at all times be baptised male believer(s).

7.3.5 Any appointment of an elder by the Church shall be terminable by three months’ written notice from either party. The notice period may be shortened or lengthened by mutual agreement. Notice of dismissal by the Church shall be decided at a special business meeting where at least 75 % of the members present and eligible to vote so decide.

7.3.6 A full time paid elder shall become a member of the Church at his ordination to the ministry of the Emmanuel Baptist Church.

7.3.7 One full time paid elder will be appointed by a church business meeting to fill the role of pastor . He will have, amongst other things, the responsibility for the ministry of the word, the conduct of services and the chairmanship of the elders meetings.

7.3.8 The elders shall determine from time to time the number of
elders required for the spiritual work of the Church.

7.4 THE APPOINTMENT OF DEACONS
In the appointment of deacons the following procedure shall be adopted

7.4.1 The Church shall elect from its membership sufficient suitable men who are twenty-one years of age or over as deacons .

7.4.2 Deacons must be qualified for the office according to the teaching of 1 Timothy 3: 8-13 and Acts 6: 3-7. Deacons shall consider as their primary function the administration and practical oversight of the Church in close contact and harmony with the elders.

7.4.3 Deacons shall be elected at the annual general business meeting or at any business meeting called for that purpose and shall hold office until the annual general business meeting of the third cal-endar year after their election after which they shall be eligible for re-election.

7.4.4 Each member is entitled to as many nominations as there are va-cancies. Every such nomination shall be discussed with the elders and then lodged with the church administrator in writing at least three Sundays days before the date of the business meeting at which the election is to take place, and must be signed by the proposer, a seconder, an elder and the nominee. All such nomi-nations shall be displayed on the church notice board for two Sundays preceding the business meeting. The church shall handle the nomination of the prospective deacons in a charitable manner and shall endeavour to avoid a spirit of competition between the nominees.

7.4.5 The names of retiring deacons shall be displayed on the Church notice board for a month before the annual general business meeting.

7.4.6 Deacons shall be elected by a show of hands and must gain at least 60% of the votes of the members present and eligible to vote at the business meeting.

7.4.7 A deacon may resign during his term of office or he may be dismissed from office should at least 75% of the members present and eligible to vote at a special business meeting called for the purpose so decide.

7.5 THE CHAIRMAN

7.5.1 An elder shall preside as chairman at all the general and special business meetings of the Church. Should the above-said chair-man elect to vacate the chair, or in the event of his absence, a substitute shall be appointed by the business meeting to act as chairman at that particular meeting. This procedure will also be followed should a situation arise in which the elders and the Church members agree that a moderator should act as chairman.

7.5.2 At least one elder shall be present at the joint meeting of the elders and deacons. The church administrator will normally chair the meeting.

7.5.3 The chairman at any meeting shall have a deliberative vote as well as a casting vote.

7.6 CHURCH OFFICE BEARERS

7.6.1 The elders and deacons shall elect from among their own numbers the church administrator.

7.6.2 The elders and deacons shall elect the treasurer of the Church.

8.0 CHURCH ADMINISTRATION

8.1 “A CHURCH” : DEFINITION AS REQUIRED FOR ADMINISTRA-TIVE PURPOSES
The Emmanuel Baptist Church is:

8.1.1 A voluntary association unincorporated.

8.1.2 A body corporate having an existence and perpetuity in-dependent of its members and able to institute or defend any legal proceedings in its own name.

8.2 POWERS
In pursuit of the objectives of the Church as set out in clause 4 of this trust deed and constitution the Emmanuel Baptist Church may:

8.2.1 Do all such acts, matters and things as may be conducive to the attainment of the objectives as outlined in this constitution.

8.2.2 Do all such acts, matters and things as decided at a properly con-stituted Church business meeting without being restricted solely to the powers enumerated and set out in this trust deed and Con-stitution.

8.2.3 Amend from time to time any part of the constitution and make and amend from time to time further rules binding the members in the government, discipline and administration of the Church.

8.2.4 Employ persons and provide them with pension and / or insur-ance.

8.1.5 Receive and administer funds.

8.2.6 Accept bequests and donations and control such trusts as may be entrusted to it according to the terms and conditions stipulated therein.

8.2.7 Secure credit and open and operate bank and savings accounts.

8.2.8 Insure with any company or person against losses, damage, risks and liabilities of any kind which may affect the Church or its members.

8.2.9 Publish, distribute and edit any newspapers, journals, reports or books.

8.2.10 Subscribe to, become a member of, federate with, affiliate to, unite with, incorporate or co-operate with any other organisation with similar and acceptable views.

8.3 MEMBERSHIP OF ASSOCIATIONS
The Church shall be entitled, but shall not be obliged, to obtain and thereafter maintain membership of an association of evangelical and reformed churches. In the event that the said association deviates materially from any of the basic principles of the statement of faith as set out in clause 2 of the constitution, the Church shall be entitled to terminate its membership.

8.4 CHURCH BUSINESS MEETINGS
8.4.1 THE CALLING OF BUSINESS MEETINGS

8.4.1.1 The Church year shall end on the 31 December. An annual gen-eral business meeting shall be convened as soon as practicable thereafter but not later than three months after that date. Non-audited financial statements will be acceptable at this business meeting.

8.4.1.2 General business meetings of the church may be called by the leadership of the Church as often as the business of the church requires but at least once every quarter.

8.4.1.3 A special business meeting shall be called by the church admin-istrator if, and when, such a meeting is requested in writing and the request is signed by not less than ten members, provided that the subject matter to be discussed is also submitted in writing so that it may be considered by the elders prior to the meeting. Such special business meetings shall be convened within one month of the receipt of such request from the church administrator

8.4.2 NOTICE OF BUSINESS MEETINGS

8.4.2.1 All business meetings as listed in 8.4.1 above shall be preceded by verbal notice being given on at least two Sundays immediately prior to the proposed date of such meeting. Such notice shall include an agenda of matters to be discussed at the meeting.

8.4.2.2 All business meetings at which proposals concerning an elder (including the pastor), the purchase, sale or mortgaging of immovable property, or an alteration to the trust deed and constitution are to be sub-mitted, the names recommended or the relevant matter to be decided shall be notified (verbally and as a notice on the Church notice board) to the membership on at least two Sundays prior to the date of the business meeting.

8.4.3 CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

8.4.3.1 At the annual general business meeting, departmental reports and unaudited financial statements shall be submitted by the church administrator and treasurer. The election of deacons shall take place. Audited financial statements shall be submitted by the Church treasurer at the next quarterly business meeting.

8.4.3.2 For all the Church business meetings, the quorum required shall be 40 % of those on the current membership role, and eligible to vote.

8.4.3.3 In the event of there being insufficient members present to constitute a quorum, the chairman may defer the meeting and then give two Sundays verbal notice of a second meeting when, irrespective of the number present, the meeting shall be declared properly constituted.

8.4.3.4 Any and every matter of Church business (unless otherwise stipulated in this constitution) shall be decided by a consensus (as defined in clause 8.4.3.6 below) of members present and eligible to vote at a properly constituted business meeting, unless otherwise stipulated in the constitution. Where, after two business meetings, a consensus cannot be obtained the matter may be postponed for further prayer and consideration or settled by a majority (65%) vote at the discretion of the chairman.

8.4.3.5 Voting at all church business meetings shall be by a show of hands.

8.4.3.6 When considering a proposal, a consensus is achieved when at least 90% of the members present who are eligible to vote indicate by show of hands that they are in favour of the pro-posal.

8.4.3.7 Any matter brought forward without prior notice shall be postponed for consideration at a future meeting if one third of the members present and eligible to vote so request.

8.4.3.8 The chairman shall be competent to adjourn any meeting if he considers it insufficiently representative to deal with the business to be discussed
8.5 FINANCE

8.5.1 The Church shall be supported by voluntary contributions of members of the Church and congregation by means of tithes, offerings, donations and other contributions to the Church funds and by any method decided upon by the members of the church, provided this is not in conflict with the spirit and teaching of the New Testament.

8.5.2 The elders and deacons shall administer the finances in accordance with the budget and shall be responsible to the church for the proper carrying out of their responsibilities. Items in excess of 5 % of the annual budget and which are not covered in the budget, must be authorised by the members.

8.5.3 The treasurer shall submit to the church a financial report of income and expenditure at annual and quarterly general meetings.

8.5.4 The Church is not an organisation which has been constituted primarily to dispense funds. Members and adherents should have no presumption, if they are in need, that the church is obliged either legally or morally to provide for that need. An annual benevolence budget will be approved and, should the church desire to dispense benevolence, it must be agreed to, and distributed by, the finance committee together with the church administrator. Should the budget be exceeded, approval for additional benevolence must be obtained from a duly constituted Church meeting before donations are made.

8.6 CHURCH PROPERTY
8.6.1 IMMOVABLE AND MOVABLE PROPERTY

8.6.1.1 The Church shall be entitled to acquire movable and immovable property of whatever kind and shall have full powers to deal therewith in any manner, mortgage, pledge, or alienation by sale, donation or otherwise, and shall be empowered to borrow money with or without security.

8.6.1.2 It is hereby declared that the trustees of the church shall be two or more elders and /or deacons of the Church, elected as trus-tees by the leadership. The trustees shall hold the property in trust for the church and all immovable property shall be registered in the name of the Emmanuel Baptist Church. The trustees shall therefore be designated in the title deed of any Church property as follows:
“The trustees of Emmanuel Baptist Church shall be two or more se-lected members of the leadership of the said Church,”

8.6.1.3 It shall not be competent for the trustees to purchase or lease immovable property, to mortgage, hypothecate or otherwise alienate in any manner whatever any immovable property unless authorised and empowered to do so by at least 75% of those members present and eligible to vote at a church meeting specially convened for the purpose.

8.6.2 APPLICATION OF PROCEEDS OF SALE OF PROPERTY

8.6.2.1 The proceeds derived from the sale or other disposal of any property of the Church shall be applied and devoted in such a manner as the Church may deem best fitted to secure the furtherance of the objectives of the church and propagation of its principles.

8.6.2.2 In the event of the Church voting to dissolve in terms of clause 7.8 of the constitution, the trustees shall, in accordance with the rights given them, sell all the property of the Church and the sum realised, together with other funds invested or deposited, shall be paid in trust to an attorney appointed by the Church as stipulated in 8.6.2.3 below.

8.6.2.3 The attorney shall have, at the discretion of the trustees, irrevocable authority to distribute the funds in trust to a Bible-believing Church, cause, association, or like organisation which has subscribed for a period of at least five years to principles that do not conflict with those in the statement of faith as set out in clause 2 of this constitution, or, in the event of no nomination being forthcoming, the property shall revert to the Sola 5: An Association of God-centred Evangelicals in Southern Africa.

8.6.2.4 No trustee shall have the right, either directly or indirectly, to acquire any property or funds belonging to the Church.

8.7 INDEMNITY CLAUSE
The trustees of the Church, as referred to in Clause 8.6.1.2, the pastor(s), the elders, secretary, treasurer, deacons and all members of the Church shall be fully indemnified against all actions, costs, charges, losses, damages and ex-penses which they, or any of them individually, shall or may incur in the execution of their duty, except:

8.7.1 Such as they shall incur by their own wilful neglect or wrongful act.

8.7.2 As they bind themselves as surety and then only to the extent of the suretyship.

8.8 DISSOLUTION

8.8.1 The Church may at any time be dissolved by resolution of 90% of the members on the church role at a general meeting constituted for that purpose. In the event of such a resolution being passed, the trustees shall take the necessary steps to wind up the affairs of the Church.

8.8.2 In the event of the Church ceasing to exist through lack of members, the trustees, or in the event of the trustees no longer being actively present, the Sola 5, An Association of God-centred Evangelicals in Southern Africa, shall be empowered to wind up the affairs of the church and the assets realised shall be held in trust and/or used for the promotion of the Baptist witness at the discretion of the Sola 5, An Association of God-centred Evangelicals in Southern Africa.

8.9 REVISION OF TRUST DEED AND CONSTITUTION

8.9.1 This trust deed and constitution may be amended at a business meet-ing of the church duly convened for that purpose. Such amendment requires that three months’ notice of motion, giving details of the proposed amendments, shall be given at a previous church meeting. No amendment to the constitution shall be adopted unless 75% of the members present and eligible to vote, vote in favour of the alteration, either in its original form or with such amendments as the meeting itself may then make.

8.9.2 In order to protect the historic and Baptistic position of the Church, an amendment to its statement of belief outlined under section 2 shall only be adopted when a vote of 80% of the members present and eligible to vote, vote in favour of such amendment.

APPENDIX (A)
SUGGESTED PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED WHEN CALLING AN ELDER (INCLUDING A PASTOR)

1. When a candidate is being considered for the office of elder (including a pastor), the congregation should be called upon to give itself to intense periods of prayer. This could include a day for prayer and fasting, special prayer meetings set aside ex clusively for the purpose of praying for God’s guidance to be given to the Church and appeals to the members to give themselves to much private intercession about the crucial decision to be taken by the Church.

2. Once the elders have begun to meet on this issue, they will invite members of the church to submit the names of potential candidates for the office of pastor or elder.

3. When considering candidates who may qualify for the office, a letter and questionnaire may be sent to those under consideration.

4. When considering the nomination of a candidate for the pastoral office, the elders shall be guided primarily by the biblical qualifications for the pastoral office as set out in 1 Timothy 3: 1-7 and Titus 1: 6-9. The absence of formal theological training will not necessarily be a disqualification to a potential pastor. (It should be borne in mind that some of our best pastors have been called from the pew to the pulpit of the same Church.) Consideration should be given to any man in the church who meets the biblical standards for the gospel ministry.

5. If necessary, meetings with a prospective pastoral candidate could be arranged in order that the elders, and later the Church, may have opportunity for informal interaction to discuss matters relevant to the issuing of a call with the candidate. Travel expenses will be paid for the candidate and his wife and accommodation will be provided.

6. Once it has been decided to recommend a name to the Church, the recommended name shall be announced to the membership at the Sunday services at least 14 days prior to the date of a meeting called for the members to formally vote on the proposal. During this period the congregation will be summoned both to earnest ongoing prayer as well as to a specific prayer meeting exclusively set apart for intercession about the proposal.

APPENDIX B

THE CORE VALUES OF EMMANUEL BAPTIST CHURCH

1. GOD-CENTREDNESS

God commands us to glorify him in all we do. Furthermore, he requires us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.1 ? Therefore we affirm that our lives in their entirety must be lived before God, under his authority, and for his glory alone. In the light of this we will endeavour to be focused on honouring and pleasing God in our personal lives, our worship and all our co-operative activities.2 ? We believe that there is no place for man-centredness or for the promotion of one’ own popularity, carnal success or self-image.3 1 Cor 10:31; Mark 12:30. 2 Eccl 12:13. 3 Jer 45:5; Rorn 2:29.

2. LOGIC AND REASON

God has created human beings as rational creatures in his own image.4 ? Therefore we affirm the necessity of logic and reason as tools for the correct under-standing of truth which cannot be contradictory. ? We deny that faith is illogical or irrational.6 Logic and reason are insufficient in them-selves, apart from the Holy Spirit’s illumination, for knowing truth.7
4 Gen 1:27; Ps 32:9. 5 Isa 5:20. 6 Isa 1: 18. 7 Cor 2:6-16.

3. AUTHORITY

God is-the only being with intrinsic authority – consequently all human authority is delegated by him.8 ? Therefore we affirm that God has established three spheres of human government, and that he alone defines their various responsibilities:
1. Family government is for the upbringing and education of children as well as for the nurturing of orderly human relationships in honour, discipline and love. The family is the basic unit of society.9
2. Church government is for the spiritual well-being and ministry of God’s people.10
3. Civil government is for the well-ordering and protection of society; this includes the appropriate punishment of criminals.11
? All spheres of government are accountable to God, and that any government may assume the responsibilities God has assigned to another sphere of authority. This means that, while there must be a separation of church and state, there is no separation of the state from God.12
8 Rom 13: 1; Matt 28:18. 9 Eph 5:22-6:4; Deut 64-9. 10 1 Cor 12:12-27; 1 Thess 5:12-15; Heb 13:1,17. 11 Rom 1:11-7. 12 Ps 2; Rev 11:15.

4. SANCTITY OF LIFE

Human life belongs to God alone and is defined by Him. He has the sole right to give and take human life.13

Abortion:
? We affirm that life begins at the moment of conception and that abortion is the taking of a human life.14 ? We deny that abortion is merely an issue of a woman’s right of choice over her own body.15

The death penalty:
? We further affirm the responsibility of civil government to execute the death penalty for premeditated murder in order to demonstrate the sanctity of life and to deter such crime.16 ? We deny that the just execution of a murderer by the God-ordained authorities is itself murder and that such criminals have a right to life.17 13 Neh 9:6; Isa 42:5. 14 Ps 51:5. 15 Ps 139:13-16. 16 Gen 9:6; Rom 114; Eccl 8:11. 17 Num 35:30-34.

5. MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY

God created mankind male and female and ordained marriage as a lifelong union between a natural man and a natural woman.18 18 Gen 2:18-25.

Marriage and divorce:
? Therefore we affirm that husband and wife are no longer two but one and that God intends marriage to last as long as both partners are alive.19 We affirm that there are certain circumstances in which Scripture permits divorce;20 nevertheless, divorce always grieves the Lord and hurts those involved.21 ? We deny that marriage is merely a negotiated contract which may be terminated at will. Divorce is permissible only for a cause permitted in Scripture. 19 Matt 19:4-6. 20 Matt 19:9; 1 Cor 7:10-16. 21 Mal 2:16.

Marriage and sexual purity:
? We further affirm that marriage is by nature heterosexual22 and that any expression of sexual intimacy is holy only in the covenant of marriage.23 ? We deny the legitimacy and permissibility of homosexuality, lesbianism,fornication, adultery, pornography, paedophilia, bestiality, prostitution, incest and other forms of sexual perversion.24 22 Gen 2:24. 23 Exod 20:14; Heb 13:4. 24 Rom 1:24-27.

6. DISCIPLINE

God is a God of order and justice who disciplines those he loves for their good.25 ? Therefore we affirm the duty of churches to discipline their unrepentant members, ex-communication being the final means of grace for their reconciliation.26 We further affirmthe responsibility of parents to discipline their children in the spirit of loving correction. This discipline may include corporal punishment.27 ? We deny that all such discipline in the church and the home is un-loving or harmful to
its recipients when done according to the principles of Scripture and in the spirit of Christ.28 25 1 Cor 14:33; Heb 12:5-11. 26 Matt 18:15-17. 27 Prov 22:15. 28 Lev 19:17; Prov 13:24.

7 .GENDER ROLES

God, our Creator, has established a differ¬ence in the creation and roles of men and women which we are not at liberty to change.29 ? Therefore we affirm the male headship and responsibility in the home and in the church
to be exercised in the spirit of Christlike, sacrificial servanthood.30 ? We deny that women are inferior to men in value 31 but they may not serve in leader-ship roles as pastors or elders.32 29 Gen 1:27; 1 Cor 11:7-9. 30 1 Cor 113; Eph 5:22-33; 1 Tim 3:1-5. 31 Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 11:11-12. 32 1 Tim 2:11-14.

8. VOCATION

God calls each of his people to serve him in various ways in this world.33 ? Therefore we affirm the sanctity of labour and the validity of all vocations which are not contrary to the righteous requirements of Scripture.34 ? We deny that work and business are outside the realm of Christian living and we deny that they may be performed as something other than service to Christ?35 33 1 Cor 7:20-24; Col 3:22-25. 34 1 Thess 4:11-12; 2 Thess 3:6-10. 35 Eph 6:5-9.

9 .RACIAL HARMONY

God has created all mankind in his own image; all people are of one blood having descend from Adam.36 Furthermore, God in Christ has broken down every wall that sin has made to separate us creating one new humanity in Christ.37 ? Therefore we affirm the dignity and human brotherhood of all mankind in addition to the unity of all believers in Christ regardless of race, colour or ethnicity.38 We will therefore take steps personally and corporately to encourage racial and cultural harmony expressing this visibly in our communities and church. ? We deny that there is any basis in reason or in the Bible for racial discrimination by any person against other people.39 36 Gen 5: 1-3; Acts 17:26-28. 37 Eph 2:13-18. 38 Col 3:11. 39 Rev 7:9.

10. CREATION

God is the sovereign Creator of the heavens and the earth.40 ? Therefore we affirm that the account of creation in Genesis is a record of historical events, that God created everything out of nothing, after its own kind and that man was specially created in the image of God. ? We deny the philosophy of evolu¬tionism in all its various expressions. 40 Gen 1:1-2:3; Heb 11:3.

11.  ANIMALS AND THE EN VIRONMENT

God has given mankind dominion over that part of his creation which is not made in his image and needs to be subdued, especially since the Fall and God’s subsequent curse.41 ? Therefore we affirm the stewardship of human beings to use animals and the environment for the glory of God and the benefit of humanity within the guidelines of biblical principles of ecology. We also affirm God’s ownership of all land and mankind’s responsibility to use it for his glory considering the needs of fellow human beings and of future generations.42 ? We deny that animals have rights or value equal to that of human beings; we also deny that the environment is without corruption, is self-determining, or shares in the nature of God in any way.43 41 Gen 1:26-28; 3:17-19. 42 Gen 9:1-17; Ps 24:1. 43 Rom 8:20.

12.PLURALISM

The only true and living God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who has revealed himself in Holy Scripture.44
? Therefore we affirm that he alone is to be worshipped and obeyed in all of life and that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour for Sinners.41 ? We deny that any other religion or creed is valid and should be considered a respectable equal to biblical Christianity.46 44 Isa 43: 10-11; Matt 28:19; 1 John 5:20. 45 Exod 20:3; 1 Thm 2:5. 46 1 Kgs 18:21; Acts 5:29.

13 .FREEDOM OF RELIGION

God has ordained civil government for the ordering of society in order to ensure the peaceful co-existence of all citizens irrespective of race or creed.47 ? Therefore we affirm the responsibility of government to ensure that citizens are free
to practise and propagate religion according to their consciences. ? We deny that civil government has the right to prescribe or forbid any religion be that religion Christianity, pluralism, secularism, or any other. 47 Rom 13:1-7; 1 Tim 2:1-4.

14.EVANGELISM

God has ordained evangelism – the proclamation and teaching of the biblical message about Christ and him crucified – as the primary human activity through which he will call his elect people to salvation.48 ? Therefore we affirm that in this regard one of our core activities is to unite our efforts in God-centred evangelism and missions, through which Bible believing churches will be established throughout Southern Africa and beyond.49 ? We deny that evangelism is an activity aimed at entertaining the lost and meeting their felt social needs.50 48 1Cor 1:17-25. 49 Matt 28:18-20 50 1 Cor 2:1-5.

15. SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

God has revealed all that is necessary for life and godliness in his Word.51 ? Therefore we affirm the complete sufficiency of the Scripture for faith and obedience in all areas of life.52 We also affirm the completion of God’s revelation in the sixty-six books of the Bible.53 ? We deny that any further revelation is being given today through so called prophets and apostles 54 or through any revelatory gifts.55 We further deny that human traditions or conventions should be followed without continual evaluation in the light of Scripture since such things have no intrinsic authority.56 51 2 Tirn 3:16-17. 52 2 Pet 13; Matt 4:4. 53 Jude 3. 54 Eph 2:20. 55 1 Cor 13:8-13; Heb 23-4. 56 Matt 15:1-9; Col 2:20-23.

16. EXPOSITORY PREACHING

God has ordained preaching as the primary means by which his people are brought to faith and sanctified.57 ? Therefore we affirm the centrality of expository preaching since this best reflects the mind of God and most edifies his people. We place a high premium on a Christ-centered exposition of the Scriptures promoting it in our churches and theological schools.58
? We deny that things such as films, drama and musical programmes, while having a place in life in general, should take the place of the preaching of the Word in corporate worship.59 57 Rom 10:17; Ezek 37.4-6; John 17:17; Jas 1:18-25. 58 Ps 1; Luke 24:27, 44. 59 2 Tim 4:1-4.

17 .GENUINE CHRISTIANITY

A true Christian is a person whose nature has been transformed by the Holy Spirit from a God-resisting orientation to a God-seeking orientation.60 ? Therefore we affirm that all true Christians display certain marks of regeneration, namely: continued spiritual growth, ongoing and continual dependence on Christ alone;61 habitual obedience to His commands and habitual rejection of evil;62 sacrificial love for God and fellow believers;63 the ability to overcome the ungodly pressures of a society antagonistic to its Maker (i.e. the ‘World’),64 perseverance in faith and obedience to the end of life.65
? We deny that a person who makes a mere outward profession of Christianity without displaying the above marks is a genuine Christian. 60 1 John 5:18-20. 61 1 John 5:10-12. 62 1 John 23; 17-10. 63 1 John 3:10, 17; 4:7-2 1. 64 1 John 5:4.
65 1 John 2:19; Matt 24:13; Heb 3:14.

18. PERSONAL DEVOTION TO GOD

God is a living God who dwells among his people in covenant relationship.66 ? Therefore we affirm the individual believer’s personal walk with God in all of life enjoying communion with him in a vital relationship – including commitment to a local church.67 ? We deny that mere intellectual adherence to an orthodox creed or confession, apart from a regenerated heart issuing in good works, is truly Christian.68 66 Eph 2:22; Heb 8:8-12. 67 Mic 6: 8; 1 John 1:3; Phil 2: 1. 68 2 Tim 3:5; Matt 23:25-28.

19.  GOOD WORKS AND SOCIAL CONCERN

God has created his people in Christ for good works, which are to be done in obedience to God’s commandments as the fruit and evidence of a true and lively faith, for the glory of God.69 ? Therefore we affirm the importance of engaging in good works such as helping orphans, looking after widows, caring for the poor and speaking for the dumb (unborn children).70 ? We deny that good works are the ground or basis (rather than the evidence) of our salvation.71 69 Eph 2:8-10. 70 Jas 1:27; 1 Tim 5:3-16; Isa 58:6-7; Prov 31:8-9. 71 Rom 11:5; Gal 3:10-14.

20. AUTONOMY AND INTER DEPENDENCY

God has instituted the local church as a self-governing body through which his people will be evangelised, edified and engaged in good works for his glory. He has also revealed in his Word that a local church may co-operate with other local churches.72 ? Therefore we affirm the principle of local church autonomy as well as that of the inter dependency of local churches. We also affirm that local churches may co-operate with each other in order to unite their efforts and resources around common projects. ? We deny the need to form an institution with officers bearing instruments of power that would undermine or even replace the autonomy of any local church. We also deny that any local church should ignore its relationship with other local churches; in particular no church should receive members from another local church without regard for disciplinary measures taken by that church. 72 Matt 18:15-20; 2 Cor 8:16-21

21.  THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH

God’s Word teaches the essential unity of God’s people based upon union with Christ, truth and righteousness.73 ? Therefore we affirm a biblically and doctrinally based co-operation among true churches of Jesus Christ for the purpose of reaching the whole world with the gospel of Christ74 ? We deny that there is any biblical basis for an ecumenism that calls for an organisational unification of the Protestant churches of the world (and ultimately of all professing Christians) that disregards the essential and fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith such as the virgin birth, the atoning work of Christ, regeneration, conversion, justification by faith alone and Sanctification.75 73 Eph 4:3-6; 1 Cor 12:12-27. 74 John 17:20-23. 75 Amos 3:3.

22. LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE

God in Christ has purchased the liberty of believers freeing them from the guilt of sin, God’s wrath, unbiblical traditions, the regulations of men, Satan, and the fear of death.76 ? Therefore we affirm that believers are bound in their consciences only to God and his Word, not to the impositions of men and of Satan.77 ? We further affirm that Christian liberty is nothing but freedom to serve God within the boundaries that God himself has set.78 We do not believe that Christian liberty gives licence to sin of any kind.79 We further believe that no church, or its leaders, has a right to expect obedience from members when their teachings are contrary to, or additional to, God’s word.80 76 Gal 5: 1; Col 2:8~23; Heb 2:14-15. 77 Rom 11:5. 78 Rom 6:8-22. 79 Rom 6:1-7. 80 Matt 15:1-9; Col 2:20-23.

23. HYPER-ORTHODOXY

Our Lord has warned his church against straining out gnats while swallowing camels.81 ? Therefore we affirm that in essentials there must be unity, in non-essentials liberty and in all things charity.82 ? We also affirm that our understanding of infallible truth can in itself be fallible. ? All matters are not equally important. ? Any difference of opinion regarding non-essentials* should not necessarily lead to contention and division among members who disagree.83 For the purpose of fellowship at Emmanuel Baptist Church, we consider non-essentials to be those matters which are outside of our Confession of Faith and Core Values. 81 Matt 23:24. 82 Titus 1:9-11; 1 Cor 8:1-13; Col 3:12-15. 83 Matt 23:23.