Sometimes it’s easy to get complacent in the church—especially about the basics of our faith. Those foundational pieces can get lost in the shuffle of every day life until we nearly forget why they even matter. Our denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), uses six affirmations to guide our faith. Recently eight women from diverse backgrounds, vocations, and stages in life began a dialogue around what those affirmations really mean. Why do they matter? How do we engage them in our daily lives? In answer, we’ve decided to take up an affirmation each month and see where that takes us!
This blog is dedicated to a virtual, dialogical interpretation of those basic questions of the Christian faith. Specifically, we come together as members of the Evangelical Covenant Church seeking to reflect on truths we hold in common—even while we may differ in how these truths function in our own contexts.
The ECC emerges from the believers’ church tradition and while we are not confessional (specific doctrinal positions are not required for membership), we have six guiding affirmations:
(1) The centrality of Scripture
(2) The necessity of new birth
(3) The commitment to the whole mission of the church
(4) The church as a fellowship (communion) of believers
(5) A conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit
(6) The reality of freedom in Christ.
These affirmations function not only to convey truth in the abstract. They infiltrate faithful practices and as such, they are a living tradition shaped by congregations (and people) in a variety of contexts. Because the ECC affirms the dynamism of doctrine and practices, in this blog we address questions of how these affirmations function in various contexts. Do we understand them differently depending on gender, ethnicity, geography, vocation or stage in life? Do the affirmations guide us beyond simply saying things such as:
The Bible is central. (Yes, we believe in it!)
New birth means I’m saved. (Ok, now what?)
We believe in freedom and diverse theological expression! (Wonderful – but what practices need to be in place so that we might hold a range of views on tough question of the day?)
Of course these questions intersect beyond our denomination to engage most evangelical, Protestant traditions. We hope our reflections invite and inspire faithful dialogue from diverse perspectives!
For further descriptions of the Covenant Affirmations: http://www.covchurch.org/who-we-are/beliefs/affirmations/