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What we believe

 

NOTE: The following statements are excerpts from The Essential Tenets of ECO.  To download the entire document, click below.

 

I. God’s Word: The Authority for Our Confession 

The clearest declaration of God’s glory is found in His Word, both incarnate and written. The Son eternally proceeds from the Father as His Word, the full expression of the Father’s nature, and since in the incarnation the Word became flesh all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are offered to His disciples. The written Word grants us those treasures, proclaims the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, and graciously teaches all that is necessary for faith and life. We glorify God by recognizing and receiving His authoritative self- revelation, both in the infallible Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and also in the incarnation of God the Son. We affirm that the same Holy Spirit who overshadowed the virgin Mary also inspired the writing and preservation of the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit testifies to the authority of God’s Word and illumines our hearts and minds so that we might receive both the Scriptures and Christ Himself aright… 

 

II. Trinity and Incarnation: The Two Central Christian Mysteries 

A. Trinity 

The triune nature of God is the first great mystery of the Christian faith. With Christians everywhere, we worship the only true God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who is both one essence and three persons. … The three persons are consubstantial with one another, being both coeternal, and coequal, such that there are not three gods, nor are there three parts of God, but rather three persons within the one Godhead. The Son is eternally begotten from the Father, and the Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son. All three persons are worthy of worship and praise…

 

B. Incarnation 

This is the second great mystery of the Christian faith, affirmed by all Christians everywhere: that Jesus Christ is both truly God and truly human. As to His divinity, He is the Son, the second person of the Trinity, being of one substance with the Father; as to His humanity, He is like us in every way but sin, of one substance with us, like us in having both a human soul and a human body. As to His divinity, He is eternally begotten of the Father; as to His humanity, He is born of the virgin Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit. As to His divinity, His glory fills heaven and earth; as to His humanity, His glory is shown in the form of a suffering servant, most clearly when He is lifted up on the cross in our place. 

We confess the mystery of His two natures, divine and human, in one person… In His coming we have seen God’s glory, for Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s very being and in Him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. The divinity of the Son is in no way impaired, limited, or changed by His gracious act of assuming a human nature, and that His true humanity is in no way undermined by His continued divinity. This is a mystery that we cannot explain, but we affirm it with joy and confidence. 

This mystery of the incarnation is ongoing, for the risen Jesus, who was sent from the Father, has now ascended to the Father in His resurrected body and remains truly human. He is bodily present at the right hand of the Father… This same Jesus Christ will one day return visibly in the body to judge the living and the dead…where those in Christ will go into everlasting life to receive the fulness of joy and refreshment in the presence of the Lord, where as those without Christ shall be cast into eternal torments from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power.  We are able to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and God only through the work of the Holy Spirit…

 

III. Essentials of the Reformed Tradition 

A. God’s grace in Christ 

God declared that the world He created was good and that human beings, made in His own image, were very good. The present disordered state of the world, in which we and all things are subject to misery and to evil, is not God’s doing, but is rather a result of humanity’s free, sinful rebellion against God’s will…

As a result of sin, human life is poisoned by everlasting death. No part of human life is untouched by sin. Our desires are no longer trustworthy guides to goodness, and what seems natural to us no longer corresponds to God’s design. We are not merely wounded in our sin; we are dead, unable to save ourselves. Apart from God’s initiative, salvation is not possible for us. Our only hope is God’s grace. We discover in Scripture that this is our great hope, for our God is the One whose mercy is from everlasting to everlasting… 

In union with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit we are brought into right relation with the Father, who receives us as His adopted children. 

Jesus Christ is the only Way to this adoption, the sole path by which sinners become children of God…


We affirm the secondary authority of the following ECO Confessional Standards as faithful expositions of the Word of God: Nicene Creed, Apostles’ Creed, Heidelberg Catechism, Westminster Confession, Westminster Shorter Catechism, Westminster Larger Catechism and the Theological Declaration of Barmen.