Beliefs

MasterPiece Church is a part of the Evangelical Covenant Church; so we see ourselves as a part of the story which is described in the preamble to the denomination's constitution and by-laws.

Preamble
The Evangelical Covenant Church is a communion of congregations gathered by God, united in Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to obey the great commandment and the great commission. It affirms its companionship in faith with other church bodies and all those who fear God and keep God’s commandments.

The Evangelical Covenant Church adheres to the affirmations of the Protestant Reformation regarding the Bible. It confesses that the Holy Scripture, the Old and the New Testament, is the Word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct. It affirms the historic confessions of the Christian Church, particularly the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, while emphasizing the sovereignty of the Word of God over all creedal interpretations.

In continuity with the renewal movements of historic Pietism, the Evangelical Covenant Church especially cherishes the dual emphasis on new birth and new life in Christ, believing that personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is the foundation for our mission of evangelism and Christian nurture. Our common experience of God’s grace and love in Jesus Christ continues to sustain the Evangelical Covenant Church as an interdependent body of believers that recognizes but transcends our theological differences.

The Evangelical Covenant Church celebrates two divinely ordained sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Recognizing the reality of freedom in Christ, and in conscious dependence on the work of the Holy Spirit, we practice both the baptism of infants and believer baptism. The Evangelical Covenant Church embraces this freedom in Christ as a gift that preserves personal conviction, yet guards against an individualism that disregards the centrality of the Word of God and the mutual responsibilities and disciplines of the spiritual community.

The Evangelical Covenant Church has its roots in historical Christianity, the Protestant Reformation, the biblical instruction of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, and the great spiritual awakenings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These influences, together with more recent North American renewal movements, continue to shape its development and distinctive spirit. The Evangelical Covenant Church is committed to reaching across boundaries of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, age, and status in the cultivation of communities of life and service.

We also embrace some emphases that are summarized in the "Covenant Affirmations." The following is taken directly from a document by that name.

Our place in the worldwide
Christian Church...
We are an apostolic church. We confess Jesus Christ and the
faith of the apostles as recorded in the Holy Scriptures. We believe
the authority of the Bible is supreme in all matters of faith, doctrine,
and conduct, and it is to be trusted. “Where is it written?” was and
is the Covenant’s touchstone of discussion with regard to faith and
practice.

We are a catholic church. The word catholic literally means universal. This means we understand ourselves to be a part of the community of believers that began with Jesus’ first followers, is alive today, and will continue until Christ comes again.

We are a Reformation church. We stand in the mainstream
of a church renewal movement of the sixteenth century called the
Protestant Reformation. Especially important is the belief that we
are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, not by anything
that we can do. The Covenant Church is also shaped by Pietism, a
renewal movement that originated in seventeenth-century Europe
and emphasized the need for a life that is personally connected to
Jesus Christ, a reliance on the Holy Spirit, and a call to service in
the world.

We are an evangelical church. A series of religious awakenings
flowered in Europe and America during the nineteenth century
and provided rich soil for the early growth of the Covenant
Church with our passion for mission. Evangelicals historically have
been characterized by a strong insistence on biblical authority, the
absolute necessity of new birth, Christ’s mandate to evangelize the
world, the continuing need for education and formation in a Christian
context, and a responsibility for benevolence and the advancement
of social justice.

Our identity and call to serve
Christ in the world...

For Covenant people, our essential beliefs are summed up in
what we call Covenant Affirmations:

We affirm the centrality of the word of God. We believe the
Bible is the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct. The
dynamic, transforming power of the word of God directs the church
and the life of each Christian. This reliance on the Bible leads us
to affirm both men and women as ordained ministers and at every
level of leadership. It is the reason we pursue ethnic diversity in our
church and is the inspiration for every act of compassion, mercy,
and justice.

We affirm the necessity of the new birth. The Apostle Paul wrote, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17, TNIV). New birth in Christ means committing ourselves to him and receiving forgiveness, acceptance, and eternal life. It means being alive in Christ, and this life has the qualities of love and righteousness, joy and peace. New birth is only the beginning. Growing to maturity in Christ is a lifelong process for both individuals and communities of believers. God forms and transforms us—and it is through people transformed by Christ that God transforms the world.

We affirm a commitment to the whole mission of the Church. The early Covenanters were known as “Mission Friends”—people of shared faith who came together to carry out God’s mission both far and near. Mission for them and for us includes evangelism, Christian formation, and ministries of compassion, mercy, and justice. We follow Christ’s two central calls. The Great Commission sends us out into all the world to make disciples. The Great Commandment calls us to love the Lord our God and our neighbors as ourselves.

We affirm the Church as a fellowship of believers. Membership in the Covenant Church is by confession of personal faith in Jesus Christ and is open to all believers. We observe baptism and
Holy Communion as sacraments commanded by Jesus. We practice both infant and believer baptism. We believe in the priesthood of all believers—that is, we all share in the ministry of the church. We
also affirm that God calls some men and women into professional, full-time ministry. The church is not an institution, organization, or building. It is a grace-filled fellowship of believers who participate in the life and mission of Jesus Christ. It is a family of equals: as the
New Testament teaches that within Christian community there is to be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, but all are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

We affirm a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit. The Covenant Church affirms the Trinitarian understanding of one God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The New Testament tells us that the Holy Spirit works both within individuals and among them. We believe it is the Holy Spirit who instills in our hearts a desire to turn to Christ, and who assures us that Christ dwells within us. It is the Holy Spirit who enables our obedience to Christ and conforms us to his image, and it is the Spirit in us that enables us to continue Christ’s mission in the world. The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to us as individuals and binds us together as Christ’s body.

We affirm the reality of freedom in Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1, TNIV). This freedom is a gift of God in Christ, and it manifests itself in a right relationship with God and others. It is not a private gift to be used selfishly, but is given to serve the community and the world. For Paul, this freedom means that we are set free from the power of those things that on their own tend to divide. United in Christ, we offer freedom to one another to differ on issues of belief or practice where the biblical and historical record seems to allow for a variety of interpretations of the will and purposes of
God. We in the Covenant Church seek to focus on what unites us as followers of Christ, rather than on what divides us.

Conclusion...
The Evangelical Covenant Church is a pilgrim church. Until Christ comes, we worship, serve, and witness so that the whole earth may hear God’s voice, learn of God’s love, and experience God’s joy.

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an Evangelical Covenant Church. Webmaster