Thursday, February 08, 2007

ECOT--A Faithful & Welcoming Churches Definition

My friend Duffy Roberts, pastor of Austintown Community UCC in Youngstown, Ohio, has an outstanding article posted at Faithful & Welcoming Churches that defines the evangelical, conservative, orthodox, and traditional (ECOT) believers within the United Church of Christ:
We use the term "evangelical" with regard to the centrality of the need for personal, eternal salvation, and holiness found only in Jesus Christ in contrast to the current UCC disregard for issues of personal sin, salvation and eternity. We believe that being evangelical in this sense is essential. The power of the gospel for human transformation is in the fact that "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." (Romans 4:25 (NIV))

We use the term "conservative" with regard to interpreting the Scriptures in contrast to the current UCC trend toward cutting edge and innovative interpretations. We believe it is essential to conserve the message of the Scriptures so that we can "continue in what [we] have learned and have become convinced of" and in order not to dilute Scripture's power to "make [us] wise for salvation". Such conservatism, we believe, actually results in liberating and empowering human souls to serve God all the more.

We use the term "orthodox" with regard to the classic theology that emphasizes the Divine as the God of redemptive atonement in contrast to the current UCC bent toward "progressive" or "personalized" or "contextualized" theologies which emphasize the Divine as the God of liberation with no reference to "judgment" or as the God of radical inclusion with no demands for "holiness". For us, orthodoxy is essential if we are to honor the radical teachings of Jesus himself and his "unorthodox" work on the cross of making sinful people acceptable to God, delivering us from judgment (justification) and making us holy (sanctification).

We use the term "traditional" with regard to the broad consensus of 2000 years of Christian history including the global, multi-cultural and ecumenical Church of today in contrast to the current UCC attempt to create for itself a distinct identity apart from the rest of Christianity, thereby avoiding true ecumenicity.
It's an insightful essay of what an ECOT is and is not. Check it out.

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