We are a people who believe in the authority and truth of the Bible; in the loving and just care of a personal God; in the saving grace and lordship of Jesus Christ; in the contemporary work of the Holy Spirit; in the importance of new life in Christ for all men and women, boys and girls; in Christian freedom; in the unity of all believers in Christ; in the privilege of ministering to others’ needs; in the joy of bringing this good news to others.
The Evangelical Covenant Church seeks to form and nurture communities that are deeply committed to Jesus Christ and passionately engaged in Christ’s mission in the world. The purpose of Covenant affirmations is to make clear the values and principles that have guided the Evangelical Covenant Church since its founding in 1885. Learn more by visiting the Evangelical Covenant Church’s website for more about our beliefs and who we are.
- We affirm the Centrality of the Word of God.
The Holy Scripture, the Old and New Testament, is the Word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct. (2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12) The word of God is not simply information, law, or rules. It has power to effect change in the life of the hearer through the Holy Spirit as the Bible is powerful to convict us of sin, lead us to God, and guide our lives. (Isaiah 55:11).
- We affirm the Necessity of the New Birth.
We believe that a spiritual new birth in Christ is necessary for a right relationship with God (John 3:3,16-18; 2 Corinthians 5:17). We are sinners who God loves, but who are separated from him by our sin (Romans 3:23, 6:23), until we trust in him for salvation by his grace through faith. (Romans 10:9-11; Ephesians 2:8-9).
- We affirm a Commitment to the Whole Mission of the Church.
The earliest name attributed to people in the Covenant church was “Mission Friends”. We understand the work of mission to be evangelism and Christian formation (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8), as well as benevolent ministries of compassion, justice and mercy in the face of suffering and oppression (Matthew 22:36-40, 25:31-40).
- We affirm the Church as a Fellowship of Believers.
The Church is not a building, a corporation, or a social club. It is a community of people made up of sinners who have been forgiven and who are seeking to walk with God in our daily lives. The Bible speaks of the church as the “household of God” (Ephesians 2:19), a “fellowship of the Spirit” (Philippians 2:1), and “the Body of Christ” (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31). We are a community composed of many members, each different in race, class, and gender, but all mutually interdependent (Galatians 3:26-27; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Hebrews 10:19-25).
- A Conscious Dependence on the Holy Spirit.
The Covenant Church, rooted in historic Christianity, affirms one God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God exists as one essence in three persons (the Trinity). We cannot know God or become a follower of Jesus apart from the Holy Spirit (John 14-16). God’s Spirit convicts us of sin (John 16:8-11), guides us in truth (John 16:13), leads us to new life (John 3:5-8), gives us assurance of God’s salvation (Romans 8:16), equips us for service (1 Corinthians 12:7), brings unity to Christians (Ephesians 4:3), is the director of mission (Acts 13:1-4), and transforms our life (Galatians 5:16-26).
- The Reality of Freedom in Christ.
Freedom in Christ operates within the context of the authority of Scripture (John 8:31-32). Within this parameter, the principle of freedom applies to doctrinal and personal issues that might tend to divide Christians depending on one’s human interpretation of the Bible. Covenanters have offered to one another theological and personal freedom where the biblical and historical record seems to allow for a variety of interpretations of the will and purposes of God (See Romans 14, Galatians 5:1-15 for some examples). Examples today would be disagreement between Christians over such matters as baptism, women in ministry, the second coming of Christ, and various matters of life and practice. The Biblical framework for freedom in Christ does not mean though that we have a license to sin. – Our freedom is experienced in the context of biblical authority and accountability. Nor does it mean we should have an apathetic or “wishy-washy” approach to theological truth. – Our freedom is experienced in the context of our firm faith.