History

 
                           

History of the Christian Disciples
 

"We Are Christians Only, But Not The Only Christians, And The Bible Is Our Only Book."

 
Evangelical Christian Church, often called the Christian Church (Christian Disciples), is a Protestant denomination stemming from the early 19th-century Restoration Movement led by Barton Warren Stone and Walter Scott of Kentucky, Thomas and Alexander Campbell of Virginia, and in the early part of the 19th-century, through the immigration of members of John R. Stewart of the Scottish Baptist Church from Perthshire, Scotland in Western and Eastern Canada.
 
The Evangelical Christian Church in Canada (Christian Disciples), founded in 1804 in the US, joined with the Disciples of Christ in 1832, and the first Christian Disciples of the Evangelical Christian Church was formed in 1810 near Stratford, PEI. In 1832, the Stone-Campbell movement united the Kentucky and Virginia leaders and their congregations. The leaders sought to reform the church along non-sectarian, non-creedal lines, embracing Stone's motto of "Let the unity of Christians be our polar star." The name of the newly united groups incorporated "disciples" and "Christians" and became known as the Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples). Scholars combined rationalism in biblical studies with the philosophy developed during the second GREAT AWAKENING, an evangelical religious revival movement (1790-1840). From its earliest beginnings in Canada, many autonomous congregations emerged as members who embraced the simple lines of the organization. Church buildings were built as meeting places where these congregations came together to worship Christ.

In the latter part of the twentieth century, a Plan of Union was developed in partnership with the United Church of Canada but was rejected in a close vote by Assembly delegates in 1976. The restructuring of congregations during the 1960s and early 1970s culminated in the publication of the constitutional document, Design (1978). Since then, the church has been governed by the decisions of delegates at biennial General Assemblies and resolutions are implemented by each congregation and other church units. Within the North American ECC, the Region of Canada, which had 100 churches and some 9500 members in the mid-1990s (down from 38 churches in the 1980s), is unique in that it functions as a national church and has full denominational status at national and international levels.

Today, the Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) offers the Holy Communion to all Christians and baptism by immersion for new Christians. The prior baptism of persons transferring from other denominations is recognized and accepted, a practice known as "open membership." Ordination of women and men to the ministry normally follows graduation from a theological study in an accredited seminary, with credentials granted by the national church on behalf of the whole church. Congregations are involved in cultural and charitable activities in their communities and world development and local and international mission projects. The Christian Disciples of the Evangelical Christian Church have a long heritage of openness to other Judeo-Christian traditions having come into existence as a 19th century protest movement against denominational exclusiveness. At the local level and beyond, the Christian Disciples are frequently involved in cooperative and evangelical work globally.

The Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) hold non-sectarian views, working to unite all Christians under the restored authority of the New Testament - returning to a healthy biblical view of scripture. They are actively involve in social issues and cultural life, nationally and internationally. This participation in sacramental life, consists of believers' immersion baptism and weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper, is a response of obedience to the teachings, life and ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, who is God in the flesh. The Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) distinguish between clergy and laypersons on functional rather than sacramental grounds. Congregations are currently led by elders and deacons who are neither ordained nor appointed for life. Lay elders, many of them women, often take charge of a Lord's Supper celebration. The Evangelical Christian Church grants credentials by the regions or districts.
 
Each year, member clergy and churches gather at their General Assembly for the purpose of training and connecting with others. Regional groups are for the purpose of relationships and the sharing of information and ideas. See Disciples History in Canada regarding our founder, Alexander Campbell
 
Evangelical Christian Church in Canada (Christian Disciples) is affiliated with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC). The Evangelical Christian Church in Canada (Christian Disciples) is also a sister denomination to the Evangelical Christian Church in North America U.S.A.
 
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