When new members join a Covenant church, they are asked two questions about belief: “Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior and promise to follow him as Lord?” and “Do you accept the Holy Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, as the word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct?” They are then asked if they intend to live as faithful followers of Christ and members of the church and denomination.
That’s all. That is enough.
But on another level, of course, the answer is a good deal more complex. While the Evangelical Covenant Church does not require adherence to any written creed, we take our theology very seriously, and our history as well. We are a Reformation church, a part of the Church universal, and an evangelical church. In that heritage, we share certain central beliefs, which draw us together in faith and fellowship and make possible a freedom among us on more widely ranging issues.
We describe those central beliefs as “affirmations.” We hope that as you read these affirmations you will find yourself identifying with them in your own faith experience. If they raise questions for you or you would like to read further, we would encourage you to explore the information below, or contact us for more information.
Covenant Grove offers membership classes two times per year. This is a chance to learn more about our church, how we are serving God and growing lives, and how we are working together to make a difference in Modesto and the world. In this class we also talk about having a plan for your growth with God (Authentic Devotion and the Mission of God). The membership application form is here. A copy of our constitution and bylaws is here.
What makes the Covenant unique from other denominations is the fact that while it strongly affirms the clear teaching of the Bible, it allows believers the personal freedom to have varying interpretations on theological issues that are not clearly presented in Scripture. The Covenant affirms as central to its life and thought six evangelical emphases:
• The centrality of the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16)
• The necessity of the new birth (John 3:3, 14:6)
• A commitment to the mission of the whole church (Matt 28:18-20)
• The Church is a fellowship of believers (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)
• A conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25)
• The reality of freedom in Christ (John 8:31-32; Galatians 5:1)
Exploring Covenant Affirmations: A 2.5 min overview (A longer version of this video is below.)
Affirmations like these are not to be taken as creedal statements. They are rather to be understood as true and valid descriptions of what Covenanters believe and cherish as they continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of God, awaiting that day when “the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
We are an apostolic church. We confess the historic faith of the apostles. We believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God, our Savior and Lord. We accept the Holy scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, as “the Word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct.”
We are a Christian church. We see ourselves to be part of the universal church of Jesus Christ from the days of the apostles until now.
We are a Reformation church. We stand in the mainstream of the sixteenth-century Protestant movement which insisted on justification by grace alone through faith alone.
We are an evangelical church. We were born out of the revival movement that touched all of Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and came to flower for us in nineteenth- and twentieth- century North America.