CHAPTER 1: DECLARATION OF FAITH
Article I - The Triune God
¶101. The Holy Scriptures declare there is but one true and living God,1 an eternal being without a body, indivisible, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness. He is the Creator and Preserver of all things visible and invisible.2 He rules with gracious regard for the well-being and salvation of all men, to the glory of His name. In this Godhead there is a Trinity3 of one substance and power, and coeternal, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
1 Genesis 1:1; Exodus 3:14; Deuteronomy 6:4; John 8:58
2 1 Timothy 1:17
3 Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14
Article II - Jesus Christ, The Son of God
¶102. The Holy Scriptures declare that Jesus Christ is truly God1 and truly man,2 in Whom the divine and human natures are perfectly and inseparably united. He is the eternal Word made flesh,3 the only begotten Son of the Father Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.4 As ministering Servant, He lived, suffered and died on the cross. He was buried, rose from the dead5 and ascended bodily into heaven to be with the Father, from whence He shall return.6 He is eternal Savior and Mediator,7 Who intercedes for us, and by Him all men will be judged.8
1 Acts 17:3; Colossians 2:9
2 Hebrews 2:16-17; Acts 2:22; 4:10
3 John 1:14
4 Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23
5 Acts 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
6 Acts 1:9-11; Acts 2:22-24
7 Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 7:25; 1 Timothy 2-5
8 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15
Article III - The Holy Spirit
¶103. The Holy Scriptures declare that the Holy Spirit proceeds1 from and is one Being with the Father and the Son.2 He convicts the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment.3 He leads men, through faithful response to the Gospel, into the fellowship of the Church. He comforts, sustains, empowers and sanctifies the faithful, and guides them into all truth.4
1 John 15:26-27; John 14:16-17
2 Acts 5:3, 4
3 John 16:8-11
4 John 16:7, 12-13; John 14:26
Article IV - The Holy Scriptures
¶104. The Holy Scriptures in their entirety are the inspired, inerrant, written Word of God.1 They alone contain the will of God as far as it is necessary for us to know it for our salvation, so that whatsoever is not contained therein, nor can be proved thereby, is not to be enjoined on any as an article of faith, or as a doctrine essential to salvation.2 By the Holy Scriptures we understand those sixty six canonical books of the Old and New Testament.
In both the Old as well as the New Testament, everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, Who being both God and man, is the only Mediator3 between God and man. Even though Christians are not bound by the ceremonies and rites of the Old Testament4 they are nevertheless not exempt from the keeping of the moral laws.5
1 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21
2 Galatians 1:8-9; Revelation 22:18-19
3 1 Timothy 2:5
4 Galatians 3:11, 24-25; Galatians 4:9-10; Colossians 2:16
5 Matthew 22:37-40; James 2:8; 1 Timothy 1:5
Article V - Depravity and Prevenient Grace
¶105. The Holy Scriptures declare that through the transgression of Adam man is fallen from original righteousness1 and apart from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, is not only entirely destitute of holiness, but is inclined to evil, and that continually,2 and except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.3 Man in his own strength, without divine grace, cannot do good works pleasing and acceptable to God.
The Holy Scriptures further declare that man is a free moral agent and that he is responsible for his eternal destiny, and that, influenced and empowered by the Holy Spirit and due to the prevenient grace of God4 is enabled to exercise his will for good and to the glory of God.5
1 Ephesians 2:1; Romans 3:10-18, 23
2 Genesis 6:5; Psalm 51:5; Psalm 58:3
3 John 3:3-7
4 Romans 2:4
5 Acts 17:24-28; Romans 5:15-21; Philippians 2:13; Titus 2:11; Ephesians 2:8-9
Article VI - Provision for Salvation
¶106. The Holy Scriptures declare that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. The offering of Christ freely made on the cross through the shedding of His blood is the perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world, both original and actual, so that no other satisfaction is required.
John 19:30; Hebrews 7:26- 27; 9:26; 10:12
Article VII - Justification, Regeneration, Adoption
¶107. The Holy Scriptures declare that we are never accounted righteous before God through our works or merit,1 but that those who fully repent of their sins are justified or accounted righteous before God only by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.2 Regeneration3 is the renewal of man in righteousness through Jesus Christ after the image of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, whereby we are made partakers of the divine nature and experience newness of life. This is initial sanctification. By this new birth the believer becomes a child of God, receives the spirit of adoption,4 and is made an heir of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Holy Spirit bears witness to this gracious work5 and immediately assures the regenerate believer that he has passed from death unto life, that his sins are all forgiven and that he is a child of God.
1 Isaiah 64:6; Galatians 2:16
2 Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 5:1- 2; Romans 4:3-5; Galatians 5:5-6
3 Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 1:12
4 1 John 3:1; 2 Corinthians 6:18
5 Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:4-7
Article VIII - Sanctification
¶108. The Holy Scriptures declare that sanctification begins in the new birth and is the work of God’s grace through the Word and the Holy Spirit, by which those who have been born again and delivered from the willful practice of sin are enabled to live in accordance with God’s will,1 and to seek earnestly for holiness without which no one will see God.2
There is a clear distinction that must be made between consecration and entire sanctification. Consecration is that more or less gradual process of devoting oneself wholly to God, consummating in the crucifixion of the old self or death to the Adamic nature, by the help of the Holy Spirit which comes to a completion at a point in time.
Total consecration of necessity precedes and prepares the way for that definite act of faith which brings God’s instantaneous sanctifying work to the soul.
Entire sanctification is that second definite, instantaneous work of God, wrought in the heart of the believer, subsequent to regeneration, by which God cleanses the heart from all inherited sin and fills the soul and spirit with the person of the Holy Spirit, thus enabling us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.3 This gracious work is conditioned upon total consecration of the whole self to God, total death to all inherited sin, and faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary.4
Entire sanctification does not deliver us from the infirmities, ignorance and mistakes common to man, nor from the possibility of further sin. A person is freed so that he may experience a continued growth in divine knowledge, spiritual strength and good works to the glory of God.5 The Christian must continue to guard against the temptation to spiritual pride and seek to gain victory over this and every temptation to sin.6 There also follows a life of Christian perfection which consists in a purity such as that of Jesus,7 resulting in the same mind which was also in Him, and enabling us to walk even as He walked.8
1 Acts 15:8-9; Romans 8:1-4; 6:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
2 Hebrews 12:14
3 Matthew 22:37; Galatians 5:22- 23; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 1:9
4 Romans 6:1, 2, 11-14; 12:1-2
5 Hebrews 12:10-15; Philippians 2:1-5
6 Colossians 1:9-14
7 1 John 3:3
8 Philippians 2:2
Article IX - Security of the Believer
¶109. The Holy Scriptures declare that the believer is secure in Christ as long as he walks in obedience and faith.1 The Scriptures also declare that it is possible after the experience of regeneration and/or the experience of entire sanctification to depart from grace and fall into sin, and if one remains in this state to be eternally lost.2 However, by the grace of God, a man may through repentance and faith rise again from a backslidden state and be restored to righteousness and true holiness.3
1 Philippians 1:6; 2:12
2 Hebrews 6:1-6; 10:26-31; Matthew 18:15-35; Galatians 5:4
3 Galatians 6:1
Article X - Good Works
¶110. The Holy Scriptures declare that good works are the necessary fruits of faith and follow regeneration,1 but they do not have the virtue to remove our sins or to avert divine judgment.2 We believe good works, pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, spring from a true and living faith for through and by them faith is made evident even as a tree is discerned by its fruit.3
1 Ephesians 2:10
2 Galatians 2:16
3 James 3:10-13; 2:17-18; Philippians 1:10-11; John 15:1-8
Article XI - The Church
¶111. The Holy Scriptures declare that the church is the community of (born again) believers under the Lordship of Christ. It is the fellowship of the redeemed in which the Word of God is preached by men divinely called, and the sacraments are duly administered according to Christ’s own appointment. Under the discipline of the Holy Spirit the Church exists for the maintenance of worship, the edification of believers and the redemption of the world.
Acts 2:47; 2:41-47; 1 John 1:7; Romans 1:18, 21
Article XII - The Sacraments
¶112. The Holy Scriptures declare that the sacraments, ordained by Christ, are not only pledges and symbols of the Christian’s profession, but they are also signs of God’s love and grace toward us, by which He works invisibly in us, quickening, strengthening and confirming our faith in Him. Two sacraments are ordained by
Christ our Lord, namely Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Baptism1 signifies entrance into the household of faith, and is a symbol of repentance and inner cleansing from sin, a representation of the new birth in Christ Jesus and a mark of Christian discipleship, and is to be administered to those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Children are under the atonement of Christ, and as heirs of the Kingdom of God, are acceptable subjects for Christian baptism. The promise of God is “unto you and unto your children” (Acts 2:39). Children of believing parents through baptism become a special responsibility of the Church. They must, however, be nurtured and led to a personal acceptance of Christ, and by profession of faith confirm their baptism.
Every adult person being baptized and the parents of every child to be baptized should have the privilege of choosing the mode of baptism, namely sprinkling, pouring or immersion.
2. The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper2 is a representation of our redemption, a memorial of the sufferings and death of Christ, and a token of love and union which Christians have with Christ and with one another. Those who rightly, worthily and in faith eat the broken bread and drink the blessed cup partake of the body and blood of Christ in a spiritual manner until He comes.
1 Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38-41; 8:36-39; 16:30-33
2 Luke 22:19-22; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29
Article XIII - Healing
¶113. The Holy Scriptures declare that God is able to heal and that we ought to pray for the sick. Although healing cannot be demanded of God, it may be sought in accordance with the instructions in James. God heals in three ways: (1) through the natural processes of the human body which may be aided by medical help, (2) through the instantaneous intervention of God bringing healing to the body, and (3) through the death and resurrection of the body to a glorified state.
Article XIV - The Lord’s Day
¶114. The Holy Scriptures declare that the Lord’s Day is divinely ordained for private and public worship, for rest from unnecessary work, and should be devoted to spiritual improvement, Christian fellowship and service. It is commemorative of our Lord’s resurrection and is an emblem of our eternal rest. It is essential to the permanence and growth of the Christian Church, and important to the welfare of the civil community.
Matthew 28:1; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Hebrews 10:25; Revelation 1:10
Article XV - Public Worship
¶115. The Holy Scriptures declare that divine worship is the duty and privilege of man, who in the presence of God, bows in adoration, humility and dedication.1 It is essential to the life of the Church, and the assembling of the people of God for such worship is necessary to Christian fellowship and spiritual growth.2
The Scriptures further reveal that the order of public worship need not be the same in all places but may be modified by the Church according to circumstances and the needs of men. It should be in a language and form understood by the people, consistent with the Holy Scriptures to the edification of all, and in accordance with the order and The Discipline of The Evangelical Church.
Whosoever willingly and purposely breaks the ordinances, ceremonies and rites of the Church to which he belongs ought to be rebuked openly, as one that offends against the order of the Church and wounds the consciences of the weaker brethren, in order that others may be deterred from similar neglect.3
1 Psalm 95:1, 2, 6; Ephesians 5:19
2 Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11
3 Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-7
Article XVI - The Second Coming of Christ
¶116. The Holy Scriptures declare the coming of Christ to be a bodily return to the earth and that He will cause the fulfillment of all prophecies made concerning His final and complete triumph over all evil. Faith in the imminence of Christ’s return is a rational and inspiring hope to the people of God.
Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18; Titus 2:11-13
Article XVII - Resurrection, Judgment and Future State
¶117. The Holy Scriptures declare that there is a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.1 All men stand under the righteous judgment of God, both now and in that day. The Scriptures further teach an eternal state of rewards in which the righteous dwell in endless life in heaven2 and the wicked in endless punishment in hell.3
1 Ecclesiastes 12:14; John 5:22; Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10
2 Isaiah 35:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Revelation 21:22
3 Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8
Article XVIII - Christian Property
¶118. The Holy Scriptures declare that God is the owner of all things and that the individual holding property is lawful and is a sacred trust under God. Private property is to be used for the manifestation of Christian love and liberality, and to support the Church’s mission in the world. All forms of property, whether private, corporate or public, are to be held in solemn trust and used responsibly for human good under the sovereignty of God.
Article XIX - Civil Government
¶119. The Holy Scriptures declare the importance of recognizing the sovereign governments under whose protection we reside. The sovereignty of these governments should be respected.1 Generally speaking, war and bloodshed are not in keeping with the Gospel and Spirit of Christ, nevertheless, at times in order to preserve orderly governments in the world, war is the unpleasant alternative. As Christian citizens it is our duty to give moral strength and purpose to our respective nations through sober, righteous and godly living.2 (See¶213)
1 Matthew 22:17-21; Romans 13:10
2 Titus 2:11-12
CHAPTER 2: SPIRITUAL AND MORAL VALUES
A value is a passionate core belief that drives the thinking and life of those that hold to it. In The Evangelical Church living like Christ, pursuing holiness of heart and life, is our supreme value. It is from this desire to be like Jesus, to pursue holiness, that we derive our Spiritual and Moral Values. It is our desire to live our lives according to the values and life of Jesus Christ as taught in His Word. Knowing that we cannot list every potential situation of how one is to live out that life in Christ, it is the responsibility of every generation to understand what it means to live a holy life in their culture and context. Through prayer, the study of God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit’s help we can discern how the Lord would have us live.
The following Spiritual and Moral Values reflect this one desire to be like Christ. What follows is what The Evangelical Church today believes are essential values to live and reflect the holiness of Jesus Christ in our world.
A. SPIRITUAL VALUES
1. We value FAITH
¶201. The Word of God declares that “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Through faith a believer becomes aware of God and of the reality of His presence. Through faith he becomes confident of God’s mercy, a partaker of saving grace, and conscious of His favor and fellowship. Faith is a means to development. Progress in the Christian life is made through the diligent exercise of faith and the performance of those duties which belong to the life of the believer.
2. We value PRAYER
¶202. Christ prayed often and said that “men should always pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1, NKJV). We value the life of prayer because Jesus taught His disciples to pray (Luke 11:2-4; Matthew 6:9-13), and gave them that brief but comprehensive pattern of
prayer which embodies all the elements of true petition. Prayer is not simply a Christian duty, but also the privilege of every sincere and trusting heart and an absolute necessity for sustaining the life of the soul.
3. We value THE WORD OF GOD
¶203. We believe that the Bible is crucial in establishing, developing, and sustaining spiritual life. Christ and the apostles and the saints of the ages by precept and example have testified to this great truth. The Bereans were of “more noble character…for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day” (Acts 17:11). “I have hidden your word in my heart,” said the Psalmist, “that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). The Bible should be studied daily, prayerfully, diligently, and systematically so that the believer may “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), that he may become effective in Christian service, and “that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).
4. We value WITNESSING
¶204. We value the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ because by its very nature it is intended for all people and designed for all nations. We value people who are not believers in Christ, so we endeavor to love them as Jesus does (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9). As believers we are called to be witnesses (Acts 1:8). Therefore, we strive to be obedient to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Furthermore, we will graciously pray for, care for, and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with anyone and everyone who does not yet believe in Christ. We will also use whatever means are pleasing to the Lord to enhance the advancement of the Gospel. Therefore, we encourage Christians to refrain from any questionable activity or practice that would injure their witness in any way.
5. We value WORSHIP
¶205. God is worthy of our worship; therefore, we value authentic individual and corporate worship of God. It is the privilege for all followers of Christ to participate in and to promote the worship of God corporately (Hebrews 10:24) and as a lifestyle (Romans 12:1).
6. We value FELLOWSHIP
¶206. We value sharing our life in Christ with other followers of Jesus Christ. The walk with Jesus in this life on earth is to be lived in community with one another. Through that sharing of the common life in Christ we gain and give strength, wisdom, Biblical perspective, comfort, encouragement, discipline, prayer support, accountability, love, and many other positive helps towards a growing walk in Christ (Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 2:4-27).
7. We value OBEDIENCE
¶207. We value obedience to Christ and His Word (John 14:21; Matthew 28:19-20). We are commanded to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). We are enabled to obey through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Out of obedience, we are willing to pursue active restoration, through loving church discipline of those who are disobedient and caught up in sin (Matthew 18; Galatians 6:2).
8. We value THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE
¶208. The Holy Scriptures declare that a Spirit-filled believer lives by love out of a pure heart (1Timothy 1:5). Therefore, we will be marked not only by our testimony, but also by a growing life of personal and corporate holiness as we live under the constant influence of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:15-18; Leviticus 11:45; 1 Peter 1:16).
9. We value SERVING OTHERS
¶209. Like our Lord Jesus, we live not to “be” served, but “to” serve any and all people (Mark 10:42-45; Galatians 6:10). The “way” we serve will be determined by God’s Word (Matthew 25:31-46; John 13:14-15) and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.
10. We value THE BODY OF CHRIST
¶210. Each believer becomes part of Christ’s body and receives gifts and graces for the building up of His Church to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:3-13; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11). We understand that Jesus placed great importance on unity within the body. We believe it is our responsibility to demonstrate this unity to the world through our actions as members of the body of Christ (John 17:17-23). We will therefore always “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). We will cooperate with other ministries in the body of Christ to see all people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
11. We value STEWARDSHIP
¶211. We believe that everything is owned by God (Psalm 24:1). Therefore, everything that we have has been entrusted to us by Him. He is our Master and we are His stewards (Matthew 25:14-30). We value giving to God as an act of worship, obedience, and investing in His Kingdom with our time, talent, and treasure. We believe Jesus taught clearly that tithing is our minimum financial responsibility to the Kingdom work of God (Matthew 23:23). We further believe that gambling for financial gain stands opposed to our faith in and dependence upon God to meet our needs. Therefore, our time, our talents, our treasures, the earth we inhabit, and everything else should be invested for Him in a way that brings Him honor (Genesis 1:28-29; Colossians 3:17).
12. We value the LORD’S DAY
¶212. The Lord’s Day has been ordained by God for rest from unnecessary labor and for the worship of God, spiritual growth, and ministry (Deuteronomy 5:12-13; Hebrews 10:25). We therefore believe that at least one day a week should be set aside for these practices. The Lord also made clear that if “emergencies” arise on that day, we are free to take care of those (Matt. 12:11-12; Mark 2:27-28).
B. MORAL VALUES
1. We value THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
¶213. We believe God is the Creator of human life; therefore, the human life is of inestimable worth and significance in all its dimensions, including the unborn, the aged, the widowed, the mentally impaired, the unattractive, the physically challenged, and every other condition in which humanness is expressed from conception to the grave. We believe that all human life should be both preserved and protected. Consequently, we are opposed to such things as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and any other act terminating life for convenience sake. (Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 139:13-16).
2. We value HUMANITY
¶214. We understand that God has created all people in His image; therefore, the church respects human personality, which is inherent in every race, nation, and creed. We believe the Bible teaches there is no basis whatsoever for the belief in the superiority or inferiority of any people (Acts 17:26; Galatians 3:27-28). The church, following the example of Jesus Christ, upholds the rights and privileges of every individual as clearly defined in the Bible. The church calls on its members to commit their attitudes, their actions, and their influences in faithful witness to this fact. The church must continually examine her teaching and practices so to be certain that no violations of human rights are being committed within her fellowship or towards the world. The church must motivate, inspire, and encourage the establishing of fair practices, legislation, and law enforcement which are in harmony with the Gospel as revealed in Jesus Christ. Consequently we are opposed to such things as prejudice or segregation based upon differences of race or national origin, as well as slavery, prostitution and the trafficking of human lives which demean the value of the human life, body and soul.
3. We value MARRIAGE
¶215. We believe that the institution of marriage was intended by God to be a permanent, life-long, growing relationship between a man and a woman regardless of trials, sickness, financial difficulties or emotional stresses that may ensue.
Therefore, as pastors and churches we will:
a. Cherish only worthy and ennobling thoughts on the subject of courtship and marriage.
b. Practice deliberation and wisdom in every step leading up to a marriage.
c. Counsel earnestly with each couple in preparation for marriage in the Christian home.
Since marriage is a divine covenant and the union of one man and one woman entered into mutually, it is sacred and morally binding so long as both shall live and ought not to be dissolved at will. When human failure results in placing the marriage in jeopardy, the
church strongly urges the persons involved to seek counsel with their minister in order to effect reconciliation so that the marriage may be preserved. Whenever divorced persons seek marriage through the Church, ministers may solemnize such marriages only after having ascertained the circumstances through counsel with the persons involved, presenting the claims of the Gospel and the Biblical teaching on the Christian home. Ministers may, if it seems desirable, consult with fellow ministers and/or local church officials.
Consequently, we stand opposed to such things that would devalue the sanctity of marriage including homosexual unions or marriages, polygamy and divorce, except on the grounds of adultery or abandonment (Mark 10:4-12; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:10-16). We stand opposed to the practice of abuse of any form in a marriage.
4. We value the FAMILY
¶216. God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of a person related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in a covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union of Christ and His Church, and to provide a framework for intimate companionship, a channel for sexual expression, and the means for procreation of the human race. Husband and wife are of equal worth before God because both are created in His image (Genesis 1:27) and God has no partiality among persons (Ephesians 6:9).
The general attitude of relationships within the family is one of submission (Ephesians 5:21). Wives are to submit themselves to their husband as to the Lord, and husbands are to give themselves to their wives in the same way that Christ gave Himself up in love for the church (Ephesians 5:22-25). This spirit of mutual submission should permeate the home so that none of its members insist on his or her rights but rather subject themselves to one another in love. The husband has a God-given responsibility to provide for, protect, and lead His family. The wife has a God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the home and nurturing the children. If a marriage is lived according to these truths, the love between husband and wife will show itself in listening to each other’s viewpoints, valuing each other’s gifts, wisdom, and desires, honoring one another in public and in private, and always seeking to bring benefit, not harm, to one another. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. They are to teach their children spiritual and moral values, lead them, through consistent Christ-like example with loving discipline, to faith in Jesus and to make choices based on Biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents (Ephesians 5:21-6:4).
5. We value BIBLICAL HUMAN SEXUALITY
¶217. The Scriptures clearly teach that the human race possesses a God-created sexuality characterized by heterosexual expression in a monogamous Biblical marriage. Any deviation from this is sin and goes outside of God’s best and blessed expression and experience of human sexuality. However, the grace of God has made provision for the forgiveness of sin, perfect healing and deliverance, and restoration of a life of personal dignity and human sexuality as set forth in the Holy Scriptures (1 Corinthians 6:11).
6. We value CITIZENSHIP
¶218. We understand the God-given authority of the government under which we live. We take seriously our privileges and responsibilities under such a God-ordained human government. Therefore we obediently do the following:
a. Pray for those in governmental leadership (1 Timothy 1:1-2).
b. Obey the laws of the land unless they conflict with God’s higher laws (Acts 4:18-19).
c. Encourage all people to use any privilege the government allows them that will make a difference in society. This includes consistent, informed voting.
d. Encourage people who are called by God to serve in government.
7. We value THE HUMAN BODY
¶219. The Scriptures clearly teach that through God’s forgiving grace the believer’s body has become the temple and dwelling place of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Therefore, we believe in the proper
care of the human body so that we might in good health and strength serve our God to the fullest potential. Therefore, we would urge the people of God to maintain healthy habits as well as abstain from all practices and substances that would take this “strength to serve” from the body, such as gluttony or the abuse of medically prescribed drugs.
Due to the negative influence on the human body and the devastating effects in personal lives, personal relationships and society at large, we urge followers of Christ to abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages and non-medically prescribed drugs.
8. We value THE HUMAN MIND
¶220. The Scriptures teach us that our minds are to think on the positive and godly things of life (Philippians 4:8), that we are to let the mind of Christ be in us (Philippians 2:5), and that we are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
Therefore, we encourage daily reading of God’s Word, engaging our minds with materials that would match the mind of Christ, and staying away from materials that would in any way undermine this transforming process (Romans 12:2).
CHAPTER 3: HISTORICAL STATEMENT
¶301. The origin of The Evangelical Church can be traced back to the Wesleyan movement in England under John Wesley, the founder of The Methodist Church. It is distinctly a North American Church, having had its beginnings in the great spiritual awakening which visited the early colonists in the new world after the middle of the eighteenth century. Like the early Methodists they preached the pure Word of God, and declared that men can be saved from sin, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and that this experience must be followed by a life of dedication and holiness.
1. The United Brethren in Christ Church
¶302. In the eighteenth century it pleased God to raise up men like William Otterbein and Martin Boehm who preached the Gospel of the crucified Christ in its purity. Armed with the spirit and grace of God these men worked among the Germans in America and called sinners unto repentance. Their labors were blessed of God and they organized many places of worship and led many precious souls to Christ. The Lord called others who were willing to devote themselves to His service. The work grew rapidly and in 1789 the first Conference was held in York County, Pennsylvania. At the Conference held in Frederick County, Maryland, on September 25, 1800, they officially united themselves into a Society which bore the name, The United Brethren in Christ, and elected William Otterbein and Martin Boehm as Superintendents or Bishops. The need for a Book of Discipline was deeply felt and in 1815, at the General Conference held in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, a Book of Discipline containing the doctrine and rules of the Church was presented. These brethren believed that God is a God of order, and that where there is no order and no church discipline, the spirit of love and charity will be lost.
2. The Evangelical Association and The Evangelical Church
¶303. Upon the instruction and advice of that godly minister of the Gospel, Jacob Albright, a number of persons in the State of Pennsylvania, who had become deeply convinced of their sinful state through his ministrations, and who earnestly groaned to be delivered from sin, united in the year 1800, and agreed to pray with and for each other, that they might be saved from sin and flee from the wrath to come. In order to accomplish this work properly they agreed mutually to spend each Sunday in prayer and in the exercise of godliness; also to meet each Wednesday evening for prayer; diligently endeavoring to avoid everything evil and sinful, and to do all manner of good as God should give them strength and ability. The number of those disposed to attend these meetings soon increased and grew daily.
The first steps of organization were taken in 1800 when Jacob Albright organized three classes, appointing a class leader for each class. The first Council was held on November 3, 1803. The first Conference was held in 1807 in Kleinfeltersville, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. In 1809 a Book of Discipline was adopted and printed. In 1816, at the first General Conference, the name, The Evangelical Association was adopted. In this new church “conversion” was the central theme, a word which signified a gracious, regenerating experience with God, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. During the nineteenth century the operations of this church enlarged in evangelism, education and publications. In the latter part of the century, differences arose in The Evangelical Association which culminated in a division in 1891. A considerable number of Ministers and laymen withdrew and took the name The United Evangelical Church, which held its first Conference in 1894. Both churches endeavored to carry on the work of the Lord, and grew in numbers and missionary enterprise. By 1910 the growing conviction that the two churches should be re-united found articulate expression, and in 1922 The Evangelical Association and the United Evangelical Church were united under the name The Evangelical Church.
3. The Evangelical United Brethren Church
¶304. Negotiations, beginning in 1933, were consummated in 1946, at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, when The United Brethren in Christ and The Evangelical Church united and became The Evangelical United Brethren Church. This church sought to serve its Lord in the proclamation that salvation is available to any upon the free, personal acceptance of God’s offer, through Jesus Christ. Conversion, while personal, is not a private matter and finds its consummation in holy living and in serving as an instrument of God for the redemption of the whole world.
4. The United Methodist Church
¶305. Over the years there were many contacts between The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church and its antecedents, revealing their common heritage. These contacts led to the merger of these two denominations in 1968, forming The United Methodist Church. However, due to a growing difference in theological emphasis and social philosophy, there were those from the former Evangelical United Brethren Church for whom it was deemed best to decline from entering into the newly formed United Methodist Church. The differences between Canadian and United States law, plus the fact that since 1925 The Methodist Church had not existed in Canada led to the formation of two separate churches: The Evangelical Church in Canada and The Evangelical Church of North America.
5. The Evangelical Church in Canada
¶306. The Evangelical Church in Canada dates its origin to a visit by John Dreisback to Ontario in 1816. The first missions were established in 1839. In 1863 the Canada Conference was organized which centered in the province of Ontario.
In 1899 the Canada Conference sent its first missionary to Western Canada. From this small beginning the Northwest Canada Conference emerged as a missionary Conference in 1927. In 1928 the Dominion government granted a separate charter to this organization.
In 1946 the Conference came to be a part of the newly formed Evangelical United Brethren Church. At the time of the merger of The Evangelical United Brethren Church with The Methodist Church a request was made for the status of autonomy. This request was favorably received and the status of autonomy was officially consummated in June, 1970.
In 1982 the Northwest Canada Conference of The Evangelical Church and The Evangelical Church of North America merged into one denomination. At the time of this merger the concept of an “all-Canada” church was retained. In 1992 Hillcrest Christian College of the Northwest Canada Conference of The Evangelical Church and Mountainview Bible College of The Missionary Church of Canada merged to become Rocky Mountain College. This was a prelude to the merger of the Northwest Canada Conference of The Evangelical Church and The Missionary Church of Canada. In June, 1993 this merger was effected, forming The Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada.
6. The Evangelical Church of North America
¶307. The Evangelical Church of North America was born June 4, 1968, in Portland, Oregon, when forty-six congregations and about eighty Ministers met in an organizing session. Within two weeks a group of about twenty churches and thirty Ministers from Montana and North Dakota became a part of the new church. These congregations and Ministers had been a part of The Evangelical United Brethren Church but had declined to enter the newly formed United Methodist Church.
The former Holiness Methodist Church became a part of The Evangelical Church of North America in 1969, bringing its local churches, ministry and membership, along with a flourishing mission field in Bolivia, South America. The Wesleyan Covenant Church joined in 1977, along with its missionary work in Mexico and Brownsville, Texas, and its work among the Navajo Indians in New Mexico.
Involved cooperation with recognized evangelical organizations has been a hallmark of the new denomination. These organizations include Global Wesleyan Alliance, Wesleyan Holiness Consortium, National Association of Evangelicals, World Gospel Mission, and One Mission Society.
B. Denominational Distinctive
¶308. Against the background of the rich heritage of The Evangelical Church with its roots deep in historic Methodism our distinctive is best summarized by the following:
John Wesley wrote: “In 1729 my brother Charles and I, reading the Bible, saw we could not be saved without holiness, followed after it, and incited others to do so. In 1737 we saw that holiness comes by faith. In 1738 we saw that men are justified before they are sanctified; but still holiness was our object - inward and outward holiness. God then thrust us out to raise up a holy people.”
After he had preached the doctrine for half a century, and had seen thousands brought into the experience, two years before his death he wrote, “This doctrine is the grand depositum which God has lodged with the people called Methodists, and for the sake of propagating this chiefly He appears to have raised us up.” The distinctive mission of Methodism was recognized by the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1824, and in the address to the General Conference they said, “If Methodists give up the doctrine of entire sanctification or suffer it to become a dead letter, we are a fallen people. Holiness is the main cord that binds us together; relax this, and you loosen the whole system.” This will appear more evident if we call to mind the original design of Methodism. It was to raise up and preserve a holy people. This was the principle object that Mr. Wesley had in view. To this end all the doctrines believed and preached by Methodists tend (Sermon on Psalm 93:5, The Double Cure, 1887, pp.3-4).*
*Jessop, H.C., Foundations of Doctrine, pp. 48-49, Chicago Evangelistic Institute, Chicago, IL 1938.
¶309. The purpose of The Evangelical Church is to glorify God by proclaiming to all people the gospel of salvation from all sin in this life through faith in Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 1:74-75).