The Fellowship of Presbyterians (ECO)

Our new church, is associated with this group of Presbyterians (in the video); yet we remain part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) for the moment. You will notice that this group of Presbyterians (‘The Fellowship’) endorses ‘egalitarian ministry’, and to be honest, I endorse egalitarian ministry, even though I remain a convinced complementarian. I see the “office” of pastor reserved for males, but I see the “gifting” of pastor as cross-gendered; meaning that I believe females can function as “pastors,” but under (ultimately) the leadership of a “senior” (or nowadays “lead”) pastor who is a man. I see no difference—other than semantic—between what I just wrote, and what I have always held (and what most “conservative” American Evangelicals hold); that is I have never really had any problem with a female being involved in the leadership of the church (in whatever kind of associate role that is), it is just that we Evangelicals have labeled that as “directors” instead of “pastors”, but the function is the same, and the call and gifting is the same. Anyway, the video below is an introduction to a movement of Presbyterians who are coming out of the PC (USA) who they consider to be too socially (and thus theologically) liberal in many instances (but as I said, our church continues to maintain its PCUSA status):

A Shared Mission: The Fellowship of Presbyterians & ECO from Fellowship of Presbyterians on Vimeo.

[Here’s ‘The Fellowships’ website: click]


10 thoughts on “The Fellowship of Presbyterians (ECO)

  1. As someone having recently joined the EPC and coming from a non-denominational background, I marvel at the complexity of Presbyterianism.


  2. Speli,

    Yes, this situation is rather complex in the PC USA because of the circumstances that have given rise to the formation of ECO and EPC. I am new to Presbyterianism, ecclesially not theologically myself, my background is mostly Baptist, which has its own complexity ( as do all denominations). What led you to leave your non- denominational situation and then into presbyterianism?


  3. I do appreciate the positive spin being put on the mission and identity of the new denomination. But as a Presbyterian it’s sure tough to watch promotional videos like this, with the rhetoric of “kingdom first” and “the movement of the Holy Spirit,” and not think that these people really are all here because they are opposed to gay ordination — that ECO is being born as a schismatic movement.


  4. Darren,

    Are you PC USA ( I am assuming you are)?

    So are you in favor of gay ordination? And if so, on what basis?

    I can almost not think of any movement or denomination that does not have some sort of schism behind it. Some would contend that Protestantism itself in its genesis is deeply schismatic. What about EO and the Great Schism of 1054? I don’t believe schism is necessarily or inherently bad; there could be genuine thelogical and biblical reasons for schism. That said, it seems best to stay around as long as possible, as our new church is doing, and seek to provide critical voice from within the pcusa.

    I am opposed to gay ordination because I believe Scripture is. I am sure all of those in ECO believe the same. And the trad of the church provides ECO with good company. I am not opposed to gay people (I have friends who are). Anyway gay ordination goes beyond the parameters that Scripture allows for (which I know does not surprise you Darren).


  5. To be honest, Darren, I don’t really like promotional videos done by any denomination; they feel very corporate America to me. Even though I undetstand this is the age of information and multi-media. I feel like I am being sold something!


  6. For the PC(USA) and the ECO split, as I see it the dispute is most basically over polity: When should the denomination make the final decision over a controverted issue and then enforce that judgment on member congregations, and when should it accede to local churches their right to render their own judgments? What theological, exegetical, and practical issues permit diversity within the one denomination? Presbyterianism is historically a sort of strategic combination of top-down and bottom-up polity structures — that is, authority is vested at the local level but with various measures in place for oversight and the expression of a common identity.

    In case of the present schism (and I agree that schism is not a bad thing by definition), one side wants to push top-down oversight and the other the historical and ecclesial importance of vesting the authority for ordination at the local level. I’m PC(USA) because I think the latter makes a stronger polity case, regardless of how I might feel about the inciting issue of gay ordination.

    I’m happy to talk further offline.


  7. Darren,

    I definitely see what you are getting at especially in the tension between an top-down/bottom-up polity.

    And I can appreciate your point. For me, I don’t necessarily see the formation of a new Pres. denomination (i.e. ECP & ECO) as a bad thing; it is just recognition that given the reality of the polity that you note, other extraneous things (like doctrinal/ethical issues) have pushed that polity to its breaking point (for many). So even though the rupture, so to speak, might be disruptive, it is also more healthy (I think) probably for this sect of people (the so called “Evangelicals”) to move out rather than to ‘sow discord’ among the brethren/sistren who remain in the PC(USA).

    I understand why you would prefer to talk further offline about gay ordination etc. The politics of ecclesial reality are an unfortunate reality; I mean because we can’t feel free to openly express our views for fear of employment and other consequences.


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