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Is the Evangelical Covenant Church an apostate denomination?

Introduction

During our research on Craig Groeschel, the pastor of America’s largest church, the Evangelical Dark Web provided the best information uncovering how Groeschel is a woke pastor. It was shown that his denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church embraced Critical Race Theory formally over a decade ago. However, the denominational downgrade does not stop there. In recent years, the Evangelical Covenant Church has embraced the Revoice Movement, which started out as a Presbyterian Church in America movement. This article is intended to show the expansion of Revoice into other denominations and moreover prove that the Evangelical Covenant Church is what awaits those who are on the slippery slope towards apostacy.

Embrace of Egalitarianism

In the history of the church in the United States, egalitarianism has been the most common first step in any denominational downgrade. To embrace egalitarianism requires that one tear out pages of the Bible that they do not like, most applicably 1 Timothy 2 which forbids female elders in the church, prior to 1 Timothy 3:1-7 which establishes the qualifications for men who desire to become elders.

The Evangelical Covenant Church tore 1 Timothy 2 from the pages of their Bible, and this is highlighted to show the consequences of doing so.

Embrace of Critical Race Theory

The Evangelical Covenant Church is self-described as a reformation church. Indeed, they appear as an offshoot of Lutheranism among Swedish immigrants to the United States. While the denomination is firm on human sexuality, showing willingness to remove ministers that perform the homosexual sacraments, the Evangelical Covenant Church has bought into Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality.

In 2008, the Evangelical Covenant Church adopted a resolution titled “Racial Righteousness.” This resolution adopted Critical Race Theory as a worldview. Perhaps the most egregious line in the resolution is its lament on evangelicals truncating the gospel:

For a season of our history, we succumbed to a larger evangelical trend that truncated the gospel, limiting the good news to personal salvation at the expense of reaching out to our neighbor, allowing us to largely exempt ourselves from the struggle for racial justice and equality.

This is heretical, as it attacks the evangelical church for not adding social works to the gospel. In essence, it is saying that the gospel is insufficient.

In 2019, the same year where they were expelling homosexuality supporting members, they adopted a racist and Marxist resolution that invited “white members of the Covenant Ministerium to sign the public Relational Covenant below affirming one’s personal commitment to anti-racism and increased cultural competency.” The Relational Covenant is as follows contains bullet points such as:

  • Centering our public discourse on white experience
  • Failing to have skin in the game on the particular sins of racism and cultural supremacy that we as white clergy struggle with
  • Assuming we are prepared to deal with immigration, mass incarceration, racial reconciliation, and other expressions of injustice before dealing with our institutional racism
  • Taking up emotional space by centering our own pain
  • Protecting our own world view and failing to recognize its limits

This resolution is deeply rooted in Marxism and invites white ministers to become social justice warriors. It’s miraculous that a denomination that is this racist and Marxist has not bent on sexuality all that much.

Embrace of Homosexuality

The ECC is about halfway down the slippery slope when it comes to their embrace of homosexuality, much like many others who have taken a soft stance on the issue. They maintain that their position is sex is for heterosexual marriage and in singleness all should be celibate. This bare minimum position leaves a lot of other activities open to interpretation. This interpretation is provided through their Guidelines for Pastors and Congregations. For instance, clergy are not allowed to officiate any homosexual event, such as weddings (line 112). This is also extended to the use of ECC facilities (line 138). However, they are allowed to celebrate such events by attending them as guests (line 117).

In a position paper that argues against liberal interpretations of homosexuality in the Bible, it states that, “Leviticus 18 makes the theological argument that it is idolatrous to make sexuality your personal or cultural identity.”(p.9) This position paper maintains an orthodox view; however, in the application for pastors’ orthodoxy does not translate into orthopraxy. In direct contradiction to the interpretation of Leviticus 18, this paper goes on to recognize sexual orientation, even identifying repentant homosexuals with their former selves. “A person called to celibacy will never marry. The single person, though experiencing same-sex attraction, might still by God’s miraculous power and grace be enabled to participate in a traditional marriage between a man and a woman (this is called a “mixed orientation” marriage).” (p.36) It continues:

There have been many testimonies of same-sex attracted persons who do not experience a change in their sexual orientation and remain attracted to people of the same biological sex. Nevertheless, they have also received from God the gift of the grace to love and marry someone of the opposite biological sex. This does not mean that the same-sex attracted individual is now heterosexual. Rather, this type of marriage is called a “mixed orientation marriage” because the orientation of the person has not changed. The same-sex attracted person is still attracted to the same biological sex, yet they enter into a traditional heterosexual marriage. Their spouse is heterosexual while the person remains same-sex attracted

They go on to affirmatively reference the following names: Christopher Yuan, Rosaria Butterfield, Jackie Hill Perry, Sam Allberry, and Wesley Hill. The ECC routinely identifies people in accordance with the Freudian concept of sexual orientation, accepting a premise which is unbiblical. It shows in how they can affirm that identifying as a sin is wrong yet then blatantly identify people affirmatively in what they previously referred to in an idolatrous way. This position paper represents a more conservative resource provided by the ECC. Yet the ECC reaffirms in the end that homosexual acts are sinful with no mention of the desire.

On the issue of human sexuality, particularly homosexuality, the Bible’s prohibitions against same-sex intercourse have fallen under strong criticism not just from non-believers but even from thoughtful believers who, in the name of trying to minister to the LGBTQ+/SSA community, have tried to revise the church’s consistent, two-thousand-year interpretation that same-sex acts are sinful. To assert that the Bible teaches believers not to participate in same-sex acts, and that the church has been correct in interpreting the biblical texts as prohibitive, is not to abandon in any way the call of every Christ follower to lovingly bear witness and minister to same-sex attracted individuals.

Again, this paper that they produced is among the more benign of resources they promote on the issue of homosexuality. For the most part the Evangelical Covenant Church outsources their resources to papers and books produce or written by personnel of Preston Sprinkle’s Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender, a pro “gay-Christianity” organization that similarly does not condemn homosexual desire. Among their own resources, they promote Andrew Martin’s Us Versus Us: The Untold Story of Religion and the LGBT Community, a book with the premise that if we only were nicer to homosexuals and transvestites they would come to church. “A key finding is that most LGBTQ+ people leave faith communities due to relational, instead of theological, reasons. The problem isn’t usually a church’s traditional stance on marriage, but rather, the church’s posture toward LGBTQ+ people. This book challenges traditional faith communities to learn how to better love and embrace LGBTQ+ people.”

All of the recent resources of point to a belief that being a homosexual is not sinful, that sodomy itself is. In 2018, the ECC promoted the Revoice Conference, specifically the resources of Gregory Coles, a Revoice speaker.

The Evangelical Covenant Church’s position on homosexuality is deeply in line with what the Revoice Conference is teaching, as their chief resource producer the Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender is a Revoice Conference partner. As the Revoice Movement adopts more liberalism, the Evangelical
Covenant Church will as well.

Prominent Members

The most prominent teacher within the ECC is none other than Craig Groeschel, pastor of the largest church in the United States. He is a false teacher, as Evangelical Dark Web has pointed out in the past. Brian T. Carroll was a third-party candidate for POTUS in 2020 running under the American Solidarity Party, a political party based upon Catholic Social Teachings. Soong-Chan Rah, a frequent on Woke Preacher Clips is also ECC.

North Park University (and Seminary)

The college of the denomination, has sanctioned homosexual student groups. This was recognized as one of the eight prominent Christian colleges that allows such groups. The university seminary offers a “Transformative Justice Certification” that is designed to:

Develop skills and knowledge to actively and effectively address social injustices in order to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ

Become pastorally and socially aware of the complexity of systems of dominance and of one’s own place within social systems

In addition to this frivolous program, their urban ministries program is helmed by Soong-Chan Rah. Soong-Chan Rah has effectively been able to expand his influence outside the denomination.

Conclusion

The Evangelical Covenant Church is an age-old tale where the theological downgrade began with adopting egalitarian ecclesiology and then spiraled out of control from there. The Evangelical Covenant Church offers a window into what the slippery slope looks like and how a church compromised on Critical Race Theory will also become compromised on homosexuality and transgenderism on its pathway towards accepting the Social Justice Gospel. Institutionally, the Evangelical Covenant Church is apostate. This does not mean every churchgoer in this denomination is lost, but it can reasonably be assumed that their local church is compromised on several key issues.

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