The Evangelical Christian Church in Canada (Christian Disciples) as a mainstream religion in Canada can be traced to the formal organization of the Christian Church in 1804, in Bourbon County, Kentucky, under the leadership of Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844). The Stone Movement later merged with the efforts of Thomas Campbell (1772-1854) and his son Alexander Campbell (1788-1866) to become the Restoration Movement that gave birth to the Churches of Christ (Non-Instrumental), the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) as a new group within the Restoration tradition was reorganized in 2001. The Evangelical Christian Church in Canada's national office is in Waterloo, Ontario Canada.
The Evangelical Christian Church, founded in 1804, joined with other Canadian branches in 1832, and the first work of the Canadian Evangelical Christian Church to formed was in 1810 near Stratford, PEI, in the Maritime provinces Canada. The oldest Christian Disciples Church in Canada was founded in 1810 by John R. Stewart, an immigrant from Perthshire, Scotland. The first Meeting House was a log cabin built in 1813. From 1907 to 1947, the church was operated as a Baptist charge in conjunction with Baptist churches in Alexandra and Hazelbrook, when it apparently again became an Evangelical Christian Church. After the Second World War, a collaboration between an All-Canadian and North American (Evangelical Christian Church) Movement began as a way to coordinate and unite the various churches of the Restoration Movement in order to reform the church along non-sectarian, non-creedal lines. In the beginning of the early 1940s, this movement organized a Great Western revival meeting, causing an increase in religious interest and excitement in the Canadian Evangelical Christian Church, unifying Christians based on their interpretations of New Testament principles.
During the early twentieth century, many Restoration Movement churches not affiliated with the three larger Restoration bodies existed under such names as Canadian Evangelical Christian Churches, Evangelical Christian Churches, Christian Churches of North America, Christian Missionary Churches, Bible Evangelical Churches, Community Churches, Evangelical Congregational Churches, Congregational Christian Churches, and the Evangelical Protestant Churches which traces its roots to various Lutheran and Reformed churches from Germany in 1720. The Congregation Christian Church itself was the product of a merger in 1931, between the Congregational Church and a number of Christian Churches. The Congregational Church developed in England before migrating to the United States. Some of these united in 1966 as the Evangelical Christian Churches, Farmland, Indiana. The majority of these congregations that have not been otherwise absorbed, continue as the Evangelical Christian Churches, Albany, Indiana.
The Evangelical Christian Church, also known as "Christian Disciples" became the Stone-Campbell Movement, also called the American Restoration Movement, which arose on the frontiers of early nineteenth-century America. Like minded Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians abandoned denominational labels in order to be "Christians only" from the Stone group, and "Disciples" from the Campbell group. They called followers from both both groups to join in Christian unity and restore the ideals of the primitive New Testament church, holding only the Bible as authoritative.
Restoration Movement history
The Second Great Awakening at Caneridge, Kentucky helped advance the liberation of black slaves and women's rights within American-Canadian society. Several African American Christians who were born into slavery went on to become prominent figures in society, marked as a "central and defining" moment in the development of Afro-Christianity. In Laura, Ohio, in , many African American ministers were welcomed to preach in the pulpits of various Evangelical Christian Churches, while many of the white Evangelical Christian Church's clergy continued to minister to mixed congregations, which was unprecedented.
The distinctive characteristic of early Methodism in the United States that most appealed to people and resulted in conversions and joining the Evangelical Christian Church was not a theological concept, such as Arminianism, but rather was "enthusiasm," including dreams, dancing, visions, supernatural impressions, miraculous healings, Speaking in tongues, praising God, laughter, swoons, and falling down in trances. It was also reported that those who came to the revival meetings scoff at these manifestations were not immune to these life changing experiences.
Organization and structure
The Evangelical Christian Church in Canada (Christian Disciples) is non-denominational, and its member churches are self-governing in the tradition of congregational polity. Ministers are held accountable only to the scriptures. The Evangelical Christian Church in Canada has divided the country in 10 districts that are assigned to District Superintendents for liaison with the congregations and ministers in the appointed province. A hierarchical leadership is in place nationally, including the Provincial Superintendents, the General Superintendent, the Board of Directors or General Council, and Regional Field Representatives. The General Superintendent or Bishop constitute the executive staff. Ordinations are approved by the Credentials Standing Committee, and ministerial credentials come from Central Office. Ordained or licensed ministers, both male and female, provide leadership for the church and preside over the ordinances or Sacraments.
The ealy participants in the Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples) consisted, instead, of those who came away from a varity of fundamental, evangelical denominations, not in an attempt to reform any particular denomination, but rather in an effort to "restore" the "original" church according to the New Testament pattern. They believed that history was moving toward a spiritual climax where God's power will be poured out on the church. Restorationists promoters understood that this supernatural move could be the Lord's final move where the church will be endued with power to Christianize the world before Jesus returns. In order for this dominion pursuit to be realized, the Five-fold ministry expounded in Eph.4:11 (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers)needed to be commissioned by the Church at large and given room to exercise their spiritual gifts and authority in the church of Jesus Christ.
- Baptism, which is limited to those old enough to make a profession of faith, and is commonly administered by immersion.
- The washing of feet is also practiced by members as illustrated by our Lord according to the gospel of John, chapter 13, verses 1-17.
- The virgin birth of Jesus
- The Trinity
- The guidance of our life through prayer
- The death and resurrection of Christ
- The return of the Saviour
- The Establishment of the Millennial Kingdom
- Dr. David Lavigne (Bishop)
- Rev. Douglas Anderson (Assistant Superintendent)
- Rev. Gord Horsly (General Secretary)
- Dr. Dave Hunter (Director)
- Dr. Gary Barkman (Director, Archbishop ECC)
- Dr. Steven Smethers (Director)
- Rev. Cythia Lavigne (Assistant Director)
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Colleges & universities
- Dayspring Christian University
- Canada Chinese Evangelical Seminary
- Waterloo Bible College
- Beyond the Walls Life Coach Institute
- Caribbean Divinty University & Seminary
- Collegio de Formacian Theologica Ministerial, Inc.
- Crossroads Bible College & Seminary
- Escuela Apostolica de Desarrolla Ministerial
- Forerunners Theological Institute
- H.O.P.E. Bible Institute
- Praise Bible College
- Saint James The Elder Theological Seminary
- Saint Jude's Seminary
- The Institute of Theology & Christian Therapy
- The Palm Tree Institute
- Zoe Life Theological College
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