Evangelical Christian Church in Canada

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Logo of the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada

The Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) as an evangelical Protestant Canadian church body[1] in North America (2004) [2] can be traced to the formal organization of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1804,[3] in Bourbon County, Kentucky[4] under the leadership of Barton Warren Stone (1772–1844).[5] The Stone Movement later merged with the efforts of Thomas Campbell (1772–1854) and his son Alexander Campbell (1788–1866) [6] to become the Restoration Movement that gave birth to the Churches of Christ (Non-Instrumental), the Christian churches and churches of Christ, the Churches of Christ (non-institutional), and the Disciples of Christ. The Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) as a separate group within the Restoration tradition was reorganized in 2001.[7] The Evangelical Christian Church's national office in Canada is in Waterloo, Ontario.[8][9]

The Evangelical Christian Church, also known as "Christian Disciples" became the Stone-Campbell Movement, also called the Restoration Movement[10] which arose on the frontiers of early 19th-century America. Like minded Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians abandoned denominational labels in order to be "Christians only" from the Stone group, and "Disciples" from the Campbell group.[11] They called followers from both groups to join in Christian unity and restore the ideals of the primitive New Testament church, holding only the Bible as authoritative.[12]

The Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples), founded in 1804, joined with other Canadian branches in 1832, and the first work of the Christian Disciples of Evangelical Christian Church to form was in 1810 in Stratford, PEI,[13] in the Maritime provinces Canada.[14] The oldest Christian Disciples Church in Canada was founded in 1810 by John R. Stewart, an immigrant from Perthshire, Scotland. The first Meeting House (Cross Roads Christian Church) was a log cabin built in 1813. The church was designed by members of the congregation, which were then Christian Disciples whose faith was influenced by Baptist theology. From 1907 to 1947, the church was operated as a Baptist charge in conjunction with Scottish Baptists churches in Alexandra and Hazelbrook, when it apparently again became an Evangelical Christian Church.[15] The following year, the church was visited by the noted evangelist, Alexander Crawford, who was then also working in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Crawford would remain with the Cross Roads congregation for almost two years before moving to Tryon, Prince Edward Island.

During the early 20th century, many Restoration Movement churches not affiliated with the three larger Restoration bodies existed under such names as Canadian Evangelical Christian Churches,[16][17] Evangelical Christian Churches,[18] Independent Christian Churches, Christian Churches of North America, Christian Missionary Churches, Bible Evangelical Churches, Community Churches, Evangelical Congregational Churches, Congregational Christian Churches, and the Evangelical Protestant Churches which traces its roots to various Lutheran and Reformed churches from Germany in 1720. The Congregation Christian Church itself was the product of a merger in 1931, between the Congregational Church and a number of Christian Churches. The Congregational Church developed in England before migrating to the United States.[19] Some of these united in 1966 as the Evangelical Christian Churches, Farmland, Indiana. The majority of these congregations that have not been otherwise absorbed, continue as the Evangelical Christian Churches, Albany, Indiana.[20][21]

Restoration Movement history[edit]

The Second Great Awakening at Cane Ridge, Kentucky helped advance the liberation of black slaves and women's rights within American-Canadian society. Several African American Christians who were born into slavery went on to become prominent figures in society, marked as a "central and defining" moment in the development of Afro-Christianity. The Restoration Movement influenced many Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) clergy, and those who were followers of the Stone movement, to believe that all men, including blacks, are created equal under God according to the Holy Scriptures. This was later adopted in its constitution of beliefs in Canada [22] because of its political and religious anti-slavery views.[23] In Laura, Ohio, in 1854, many African American ministers were welcomed to preach in the pulpits of various Evangelical Christian Churches, while many of the white Evangelical Christian Church's clergy continued to minister to mixed congregations, which was unprecedented.[24][25]

In the midst of shifts in theology and church polity[26] the Evangelical Christian Church became the first institution where both women and blacks made an important contribution in leadership roles within many Evangelical Christian Churches in North America.[27] The Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) exercised its independence under God by becoming one of many Restoration Movement denominations to recognize the ordination of women. Women in many black Evangelical Christian Churches became, to an even greater degree than in white churches, the backbone of church life; many became preachers. Black women so reared, upon joining integrated churches, found it difficult to accept less crucial roles where men dominated.[28][29]

The Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) [30] on participated in the holiness movement that occurred spontaneously in various parts of the United States during the latter part of the 19th century.[31] The converts needed to be established in holiness of heart and life, and opportunities were opening for the expansion of the work into other communities to ending abolitionism in the United States with the involvement of James O'Kelly, an American Methodist clergyman.[32] The distinctive characteristic of early Methodism in the United States that most appealed to people and resulted in conversions and joining the Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) was not a theological concept, such as Arminianism, but rather was "enthusiasm," including dreams, dancing, visions, supernatural impressions, miraculous healings, speaking in tongues, praising God, laughter, swoons, and falling down in trances. It was also reported that those who came to the revival meetings scoff at these manifestations were not immune to these life changing experiences.[33]


The Canadian Evangelical Christian Churches, as a religious group within the Restoration Movement tradition, reorganized and restructured in 2001, as the Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) in Canada. The leaders believed in the essential unity of the body of Christ, they could not accept the sectarianism that was all around them. Several church bodies identifying with the Stone-Campbell movement today are very creedal and range from ultra-conservative to ultra-liberal as can be seen in the United Church of Christ which is an attempt to unite all Christian denominations into one national Church body as well as the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches which merged English Christians with American-Canadian Christians in 1931.[34]

It was after the Second World War that a collaboration between an All-Canadian and North-American (Evangelical Christian Churches) Movement began as a way to coordinate and unite the various churches and ministries within Canada.[3] As this movement developed, in Canada, following up to the early 1940s, .... the Great Western Revival caused a tidal wave of religious interest and excitement in the Canadian Evangelical Christian Church to sweep across North America, revolutionizing a spiritual hunger for God, and unifying Christians on the basis of New Testament basic principles, while liberating the spiritual landscape in Canada. The leaders of this movement sought to reform the church along non-sectarian, non-creedal lines [35] with the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Organization and structure[edit]

The Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) in Canada is non-denominational[36] and its member churches are self-governing in the tradition of congregational polity. Ministers who are the Elders of the church are held accountable only to the scriptures, and guaranteed freedom of thought and conscience to practice their faith without doctrinal restrictions. The ECC maintains a high commitment to religious freedom, Christian unity, and the priesthood of all believers who make up the body of Christ.[37] The ECC permits only those practices that it believes are found in the guidelines of New Testament living and worship as taught by the early church. The ECC divides the country into 10 districts assigned to district superintendents for liaison with the congregations and ministers in the appointed province. A hierarchical leadership is in place nationally, including the provincial superintendents, the general minister, the board of directors or general council, and regional field representatives. The general superintendent or constitute the executive staff. Ordinations are approved by the Credentials Standing Committee and ministerial credentials come from Central Office.Ordained or licensed ministers, both male and female, provide leadership for the church and preside over the ordinances.[38][39] [40]


The early participants in the Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) consisted of those who came away from a variety of fundamental, evangelical denominations, not in an attempt to reform any particular denomination, but rather in an effort to "restore" the "original" church according to the New Testament pattern,[41][42] while basing its Biblical mission on the Great Commission found in the gospel of Matthew. They believed that history was moving toward a spiritual climax where God's power will be poured out on the church without the use of self-made religious doctrines. Promoters of restoration believed that this supernatural move could be the Lord's final move where the church will be endued with power to Christianize the world with the gospel of the Kingdom of God. In order for this Kingdom dominion pursuit to be realized, the Five-fold ministry expounded in Eph.4:11 (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) needed to be commissioned by the Church at large and given room to exercise their spiritual gifts[43] with authority in the church of Jesus Christ.[44][45]

Membership trends[edit]

Within the North America Evangelical Christian Church, the Region of Canada, which had 30 churches and some 3500 members in the mid-1990s is unique in that it functions as a national church and has full denominational status at national and international levels.[46] All Christian faiths were free to establish places of worship, train clergy, and proselytize to their faith.[47]


The Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) teaches that Jesus Christ instituted two ordinances as instruments of his grace, found in:[48]

  • Baptism, which is limited to those old enough to make a profession of faith and is commonly administered by immersion.
  • The Lord's Supper is performed weekly, at which time all members partake of the emblems.


The Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) in Canada has eleven Articles of Faith that are considered to be their definitive doctrinal statement:[49][50][51]

Colleges and universities[edit]

  • Dayspring Christian University
  • Canada Chinese Reform Evangelical Seminary
  • Waterloo Bible College[52]
  • Philadelphia Christian University
  • Beyond the Walls Life Coach Institute
  • Caribbean Divinity University & Seminary
  • Collegio de Formacian Theologica Ministerial, Inc.
  • Crossroads Theological Seminary
  • Escuela Apostolica de Desarrolla Ministerial
  • Forerunners Theological Institute
  • H.O.P.E. Bible Institute
  • Praise Bible College
  • Saint James The Elder Theological Seminary
  • Saint Jude's Seminary
  • The Institute of Theology & Christian Therapy
  • The Palm Tree Institute
  • Zoe Life Theological College

Board of directors[edit]

  • David Lavigne (President)
  • Douglas Anderson (vice-President)
  • Gord Horsley (General Secretary)
  • Roger Denchfield (Director)
  • Louisa Providence (Director)
  • Karen Dixson (Director)
  • Tom Huntley (Director)
  • Cynthia Lavigne (Assistant Director)


The Evangelical Christian Church in Canada is an affiliated denominational member of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. The ECCC serves to work and network with other affiliated denominations on critical ministry issues, as well as public issues facing all evangelical Christians. The ECCC and other affiliated denominations participate in the consultations, forums and roundtables that are hosted by the EFC in order to promote collaboration and ministry partnerships.[53]

Key figures[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/pub/rc/rel/eccc-ecec-eng.asp[permanent dead link] Religions in Canada (2009) Retrieved on 17/10/09
  2. ^ Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (2004)
  3. ^ a b roots in the Christian churches and churches of Christ (2009) Retrieved 23-04-09
  4. ^ Restoration Movement denominations Retrieved on 01-14-10
  5. ^ 2010 Retrieved on 01-22-10
  6. ^ http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-3274100078/christian-church.html History Retrieved on 5/28/16
  7. ^ "Genealogy of Evangelical Christian Church (2008)Retrieved on 2008-14-10". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
  8. ^ "Canadian Denominations from the 2005 Edition". ElectronicChurch.org. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
  9. ^ "Canadian Company Capabilities - Canadian Evangelical Christian Churches". Industry Canada. 2007. Archived from the original on 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
  10. ^ http://libguides.hiu.edu/content.php?pid=40046&sid=294246 (2011) Restoration Movement
  11. ^ Christian & Disciples Retrieved on 11-01-2009
  12. ^ http://www.discipleshistory.org/history/people/alexander-campbell History in Canada Retrieved on 5/28/2016
  13. ^ http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMR364_OLDEST_Christian_Disciples_Church_in_Canada_Stratford_PEI History in PEI _Retrieved on 5/28/2016
  14. ^ "The Canadian Encyclopedia (2009) Retrieved on 11-05-09". Archived from the original on 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  15. ^ https://littlebritaincommunitybaptist.com/who-we-are-and-have-been/[dead link]
  16. ^ World Council of Churches Retrieved on 01-07-10[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "(2009) CECC History Retrieved in 05-24--11". Archived from the original on 2011-09-12. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
  18. ^ Retrieved on 07-05-10
  19. ^ 2010 Retrieved on 15-014-10
  20. ^ "Denominations in Canada (2008)Retrieved on 2008-14-08". Archived from the original on 2008-09-27. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
  21. ^ History of Restoration movement religions in U.S., and Canada (2008) Retrieved on 07-05-10
  22. ^ (2009) Retrieved on 10-07-10 Canadian religious and political history
  23. ^ (2010) Retrieved on 10-07-10 Restoration Movement on the anti-slavery
  24. ^ Ecumenical movement (2008) Retrieved on 12-04-10
  25. ^ "Institute for the study of American Evangelicals (2009) Retrieved on 17-10-09". Archived from the original on 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2009-09-18.
  26. ^ "(2009) World Christian Database Retrieved on 2009-09-10". Archived from the original on 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
  27. ^ http://www.civilization.ca/research-and-collections/research/online-resources-for-canadian-heritage/history-1/history---canada-9#relig History of Evangelical Christian Church (2008) Retrieved on 2008-14-09
  28. ^ History in Ontario Retrieved on 2008-07-05
  29. ^ "Archives Retrieved on 12-07-09". Archived from the original on 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
  30. ^ http://www.religioustolerance.org/christ7.htm (2012) Retrieved on 05/04/12 Restoration families
  31. ^ "(2009) Holiness movements in the nineteenth century Retrieved on 08-04-10". Archived from the original on 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
  32. ^ (2010) Evangelical Christian Church Wesleyan movement Retrieved on 11-31-10
  33. ^ Restoration movement history (2009) Retrieved on 07-05-10
  34. ^ History of ECC Retrieved on 20-12-10
  35. ^ "(2011) Canadian history Retrieved on 01-16-2011". Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  36. ^ (2010) Canadian denominations Retrieved on 07-23-10
  37. ^ http://www.worldconvention.org/resources/links/ World Convention of the Christian Church (2012) Retrieved on 05/19/2012
  38. ^ Ontario Religious Tolerance (2007) Retrieved on 2009-24-04
  39. ^ "Canadian Church Search (2004) Retrieved on 24-04-2009". Archived from the original on 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-04-25.
  40. ^ Ontario Religious Tolerance (2007) Retrieved 2009
  41. ^ "(2010) evangelical denominations Retrieved on 08-04-10". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
  42. ^ (2011) Non-Catholic denominations Retrieved on 10-01-2011
  43. ^ http://twu.ca/sites/cprn/links.html Archived 2011-08-28 at the Wayback Machine Charismatic Movement 2009 Retrieved on 21-10-09
  44. ^ http://www.cyndislist.com/canada/religion/ History in Canada (2011) Retrieved on 112/04/11
  45. ^ Hartford Institute for Religion Research Retrieved on 01-10-10
  46. ^ (2010) Evangelical restoration movement Retrieved on 11-26-10
  47. ^ Canadian Census (2005) Retrieved on 08-14-10
  48. ^ "(2010) Charity organization Retrieved on 07-06-10". Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
  49. ^ (2008) Retrieved on 10-17-08
  50. ^ Beliefs Retrieved on 11-01-2009
  51. ^ "Marriage declaration (2004) Retrieved on 08-14-10" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  52. ^ denominational colleges Retrieved on 01-09-10
  53. ^ http://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/NetCommunity/page.aspx?pid=848 Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Retrieved on 2004-01-01

External links[edit]