In spite of its name, we are only too aware that our church falls far short of paradise. But we are delighted that you have discovered us and are interested in identifying with us. This page is designed to help you understand the kind of church we are, and where we fit into the denominational scene.
First and foremost we are a Christian church. We believe that Jesus Christ is the final revelation of God to us human beings and that salvation is uniquely found through faith in him. We see it as our primary task to proclaim him to the world and follow him in our lives.
Eden is also an evangelical church. By this we mean that we stand unashamedly on the supreme authority of the Bible. We seek to order all our public teaching and our church practise by its careful study, believing it to be the inspired Word of God. This evangelicalism is by far the most important distinctive in our identity. We eagerly encourage fellowship with all other churches that share our commitment to the Bible.
We are also a church in the reformed tradition. Historically our roots lie in a congregation of non-conformist believers who met in Green Street, here in Cambridge in the 17th century. Subsequently they moved to a Chapel in Fitzroy Street, which was rebuilt in the mid-19th century and finally incorporated into the Grafton Centre shopping mall in the early 1980's. Since then we have been based at our present chapel building on the corner of Fitzroy Street and Fair Street. Throughout its long history our congregation has reflected the confessional stance of the Calvinistic independent wing of the Protestant reformation. (For more info, see our history page).
Finally, we are a baptistic church. We believe that baptism, as the sign of regeneration and the new covenant, is properly applied only to Christian believers. Believers‘ baptism is a condition of church membership (although, since June 2022, an application for membership will be considered from someone who has been a regular attendee at Eden for at least one year and who was christened as an infant and who, to the reasonable satisfaction of the Elders, sincerely believes this to have fulfilled the command of Christ to be baptised such that he or she cannot in good conscience submit to believers’ baptism). We recognise that this issue has been divisive among Christians so we seek to discharge our conscience in this matter with discretion and sensitivity. In particular we open our communion table to guests who are communicant members of other evangelical churches, irrespective of whether they have been baptised as an adult or not.
In outlining these distinctives we want to stress that Eden is a warm-hearted and tolerant-minded church. We do not submit visitors to any inquisition! Nor are we a cult that manipulates or stereotypes people. Our philosophy is that of the apostle Paul:
“...by open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”
2 Corinthians 4:2
Furthermore, in all other matters we as a church aim to give the maximum liberty to our members, consistent with the maintenance of church order and unity. Thus we have not formed any defined position as a church on questions like the charismatic movement, creationism, the millennium, etc. You will find a considerable spectrum of opinions on such issues among regular Eden attenders. On the issues of divorce and women’s ordination it has been necessary to formulate a policy. There are memoranda available recording the church’s decision on both these matters if you wish to know more. But please be assured that our goal in all matters of controversy is to demonstrate mutual love and maintain the unity of the Spirit.
We hope you will feel that Eden is a church that witnesses faithfully and biblically to Jesus Christ, and that within its fellowship you will be able to grow in your knowledge of him.