Differences and Similarities Between ECO and Redemption

Both ECO: A Covenant Order Evangelical Presbyterians and Redemption Church in Arizona stand broadly in the evangelical and Reformed traditions. Here are several key similarities and differences between these two Reformed bodies.

History

ECO was formed as a denomination in 2012 largely by congregations that had departed from the Presbyterian Church (USA). In Arizona, ECO’s Hope Presbytery was formed in 2018. Scottsdale Presbyterian Church was planted in 1958.

Redemption Church was established as a multi-congregational church in 2011, joining together several existing nondenominational churches in Arizona. Unlike a multi-site church model, each congregation develops particular approaches to fit its own ministry context. Redemption Church, Scottsdale was planted in 2016.

Size

ECO’s Hope Presbytery has 11 congregations in Arizona, with 3,200 members. Scottsdale Presbyterian Church has about 70 adults as covenant partners (members).

Redemption Church is one church with 10 congregations across Arizona, with 4,500 members. Redemption Church, Scottsdale averages about 100 adults in worship on Sundays, plus 50 children in its Kids Ministry.

Theological Approach

ECO unites pastors and congregations around a common theological core. The goal is not to be same-minded, but like-minded. They affirm that theological consensus around certain essentials is foundational for a healthy denomination. As a covenant community, their unity derives from a clearly-articulated theology that is Christ-centered, Reformed, and evangelical.

Redemption draws a distinction between biblical practices, where unity of conviction is important and warranted by Scripture, and “open-handed” issues where scripture is not explicitly clear. Therefore, freedom is given within the church to hold different convictions as long as those convictions remain within the spectrum of biblical Christianity and the manner in which one carries them is not divisive.

Doctrinal Standards

ECO: The Bible and the Essential Tenets document written by ECO. They also refer for theological guidance to a collection of historical doctrinal statements, called Confessional Standards, which includes the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Second Helvetic Confession, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Shorter Catechism, the Larger Catechism, and the Theological Declaration of Barmen.

Redemption: The Bible and the confessional statement of the Gospel Coalition, a fellowship of evangelical churches in the Reformed tradition deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures.

Beliefs

Both ECO and Redemption church are aligned on basics beliefs about God, Christ, Scripture, the Gospel, grace, justification, and sanctification.

Baptism

ECO: “In the Baptism of infants, we confess our confidence in God’s gracious initiative, that a baby who cannot turn to God is nonetheless claimed as a member of the covenant community, a child of God, cleansed by grace and sealed by the Spirit; in the Baptism of adults, we confess our confidence that God’s grace can make us new creations at any stage of our lives. Baptism is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, a mark of entrance into the visible church, and it is the Holy Spirit that makes this sacrament efficacious in God's time to those whom he has called.”

Redemption "Baptism is a sign of initiation into God’s family. It is a ritual act where a person associates himself/herself with Christ, reinforcing the covenant of grace in which God grants salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It is a celebratory event and an act of personal confession that God has changed a person’s heart and called him/her to know, love, and follow Him. At Redemption Church we practice ‘believer’s baptism.’ This means it is our conviction that baptism is appropriately administered only to those who give a thoughtful profession of faith in Jesus Christ. In other words, we believe that baptism should come after faith in Jesus, rather than before."

Church Leadership

As is true for many Christian traditions, Redemption Church and ECO use the following terms in slightly different ways: elder, deacon, pastor, and ordination.

ECO: “We affirm that men and women alike are called to all the ministries of the Church, and that every member is called to share in all of Christ’s offices within the world beyond the church.” ECO allows for the ordination of both men and women.

Redemption: “…both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God.” Redemption Church, Scottsdale seeks to lift up the gifts and voices of women in the church. Redemption congregations have held to a practice of male eldership.

Church Property

ECO: Church property belongs to the local congregation with each congregation being a separate cooperation and its nonprofit status derived from the denomination.

Redemption: Local congregations are not independent corporations. Church property is held collectively by the one nonprofit corporation.

April 17, 2018