BIRTH AND GROWTH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
Did you know that Paul had written, Galatians, Thessalonians 1 &2, Corinthians 1 & 2 and Romans before any of the four gospels were written. It could be said that Romans was Paul’s gospel. Romans was the first written document that clearly stated what a Christian believes, what Christian was and how a Christian should live. Luke’s gospel was the first gospel written and was written 2 years after the writing of Romans. Paul was Luke’s mentor.
If you go to https://wd0gof.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/galatians1.pdf , page 21 you will find the complete chronology of the New Testament. Understanding the order in which the New Testament books were written should give you a better understanding of what and who was influenced by what and who.
Bible studies will be enriched and enhanced by a broad understanding of the author, the times he wrote in and his intended audience.
My Christian walk
I started life in an Irish Catholic family just out side Kansas City, Kansas. Attended Catholic school. Was an altar boy. At age 23 I experienced conscience and doctrinal conflicts. From age 23 to 55 I was a church hopper. I joined and was active in Presbyterian, Baptist and several non-denominational churches. I thought I had finally found a home in a small non-denominational church. There I was introduced to small group bible study. Wow this was fantastic. I could finally ask questions and express thoughts in a non-antagonistic setting. Then came a shock. As we got deeper into study I soon realized the leaders of the church were deep into Gnosticism. So once again I was seeking, but now a little wiser. When I visited a church after that experience the first thing I asked to see was their doctrine statement. A few weeks later I visited with the pastor of a new church plant. I asked to see a copy of their doctrine. He said “We do not have a doctrine as such. The bible is our doctrine. What we do have, is a set of affirmations.” I found a home. That was 1998 and I have been on a joyful journey ever since.
What I believe
I belong to the international Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) which is a Pietist guided out-growth of the seventeenth century Swedish Lutheran Church.
What is the ECC?
We are an apostolic Church.
We are a catholic (universal) Church.
We are a reformation Church.
We are an evangelical Church.
Our fellowship believes:
There are six AFFIRMATIONS that define the beliefs of the Covenant people. All members affirm their belief and dedication to these six statements.
1.We affirm the centrality of the word of God. We believe the bible is the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine and conduct.
2. We affirm the necessity of the new birth. New birth in Christ means committing ourselves to him and receiving forgiveness, acceptance and eternal life.
3. We affirm a commitment to the whole mission of the Church. This mission includes evangelism, Christian formation and ministries of compassion, mercy and justice.
4. We affirm the Church as a fellowship of believers. The Church is a fellowship of believers who participate in the life and mission of Jesus Christ.
5. We affirm a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit. The ECC affirms the Trinitarian understanding of one God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe it is the Holy Spirit who instills in our hearts a desire to turn to Christ, and who assures us that Christ dwells within us.
6. We affirm the reality of freedom in Christ. United in Christ, we offer freedom to one another to differ on issues of belief or practice where the biblical and historical record seems to allow for a variety of interpretations of the will and purposes of God.
The Evangelical Covenant Church is a pilgrim Church. Until Christ comes, we worship, serve and witness so that the whole earth may hear God’s voice, learn of God’s love and experience God’s joy. To learn more about the Evangelical Covenant Church go to www.covchurch.org.