As a church, we stand in the stream of historic orthodoxy. We are connected to all the churches around the world that affirm the theology of the Church’s ancient summaries of faith such as the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. As a result, we trace our heritage to the early centuries of the church.
Our church DNA also connects us to the branch of the “family tree” that traces their lineage to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. The faith leaders of the Protestant movement emphasized the authority of Scripture, salvation as the gracious gift of God, and personal faith in the saving work of Christ alone, all for the glory of God alone.
Even more specifically, we can be situated in the broad movement known as evangelicalism. In fact, the church was founded in the late 1970s as Evangelical Community Church. In 2021 the church voted to change the name to Christ Community Church because there was a general feeling, backed by several surveys we performed, that the true meaning of the word ‘evangelical’ was being obscured by political and social connotations. We want to maintain our heritage as evangelicals without erecting barriers to those who might not know what the word really means.
The word “evangelical” comes from the Greek word euangelion, meaning “good news.” The evangelical movement has roots in the revivals (.pdf) of the 18th and 19th centuries where gospel preachers heralded this good news and witnessed a mighty work of God among diverse church denominations – Anglican, Congregationalist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, and more.
While there is a wide variety of theological traditions under the umbrella of evangelical, it is also true that there are many orthodox Christians who, for one reason or another, do not embrace the label ‘evangelical’. In fact, evangelicalism is more about commitments than doctrines, though evangelicals affirm the historic core of Christian doctrine. And, being evangelical is certainly not a statement about politics or about belonging to a specific denomination, especially at Christ Community. There are evangelicals who are conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and just about every other political label you can think of. And there are evangelical Presbyterians, evangelical Methodists, evangelical Baptists, and evangelical Catholics.
Rather, evangelicals are people who do the following things:
- Look to the Bible as their ultimate guide for life and doctrine
- Believe that Jesus is the only hope of humanity — that his life and death provide the only path to reconciliation with God
- Emphasize the need for a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ
- Believe that it is their responsibility and privilege to share the good news of Jesus with the world