Evangelical Church (ECNA)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Evangelical Church in North America is a national Protestant denomination in the United States. It is closely identified within the holiness movement with roots in Methodism and the teachings of John Wesley. Its headquarters are located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis.

Its official emblem is composed of a red flame, symbolizing the fire of the Holy Spirit which descended at Pentecost, atop an open Bible. As of 2000, the Church had 12,475 members in 133 local churches.[1] The Church sponsors missionaries in seven countries.

It publishes an official magazine, The Evangelical Challenge, issued quarterly, and a newsletter, The Heartbeat, ten months per year.

History[edit]

At its annual session in 1967, the Pacific Northwest Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) Church voted by a two-thirds majority to secede from its parent body and continue to operate as a separate denomination. The action was taken in anticipation of the upcoming merger with the Methodist Church, which they had opposed primarily over issues of Biblical authority, social activism, and the doctrine of Entire Sanctification, on all of which points the dissenters viewed the Methodists as becoming too liberal. Thus, the ECNA became the conservative counterpart to the Methodist Church.

The EUB Book of Discipline, the controlling document of church governance, made no provision of the secession of local congregations or regional conferences, and failed to recognize the validity of the Pacific Northwest Conference's action, or similar votes taken at congregational meetings. The merger was effected in April 1968, forming the United Methodist Church, which took title to all assets and properties formerly belonging to the Pacific Northwest Conference and its local churches and organizations.

The Evangelical Church in North America (ECNA) was officially formed on June 4, 1968, by a group of the dissenting ministers and laymen representing some fifty congregations in Oregon and Washington. Before the end of June laity and ministers from North Dakota and Montana, representing more than twenty additional congregations had joined their ranks.

In 1969, the Evangelical Church entered into a financial settlement agreement with the Methodists whereby the new denomination gained title to some of the facilities of the former EUB Church, including most of the secessionist congregations. That same year, the Holiness Methodist Church, united with the Evangelical Church. In 1975, the Wesleyan Covenant Church, became part of the Evangelical Church, including its Navajo missions in central New Mexico.

Theology[edit]

The Evangelical Church is strongly Wesleyan-Arminian, emphasizing free will over determinism and salvation through a two separate and instantaneous acts of Grace, justification and sanctification, attained through Faith resulting in repentance. This, together with Biblical inerrancy and belief in a direct command of God to universally evangelize are common to the various bodies which comprise the Holiness movement. The Church has an official "Statement of Faith," which is based on that of the Methodists which it inherited from the EUB, but which has been revised to make these emphases of doctrine more specific.

Governance[edit]

Like other denominations in the Methodist tradition, the principle governing body of the Evangelical Church is a general conference, with delegates from each of six regional conferences. The regional conferences meet annually with delegates from each of the local congregations within their respective territories. The Church does not have bishops, but is led by Conference Superintendents and a General Superintendent, who are elected to fixed terms, and have both pastoral and administrative responsibilities.

Affiliations[edit]

The Evangelical Church is a member of the Christian Holiness Association and the National Association of Evangelicals. The Evangelical Church is a missionary oriented church averaging at least one adult missionary per local church. The three major organizations supported, beyond the Evangelical Church Missions department, are OMS International, World Gospel Mission and Wycliffe Bible Translators. In addition, Evangelical Church members serve through a score of other interdenominational missions organizations.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches". The National Council of Churches. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 

External links[edit]