As an Evangelical Covenant Church, our faith roots are firmly set in historical Christianity as it emerged in the Protestant Reformation, in the Biblical instruction of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, and in the great spiritual awakenings of the nineteenth century that impacted a generation of immigrants to the United States. We emphasize basic Christian beliefs and just as importantly, the living out of these beliefs.
As a Covenant Church, we affirm:
- The invitation to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This new life comes to us through the process of conversion.
- That the Bible is God’s authoritative Word and message to all people and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct. We also believe this calls for a spiritual and living response.
- A conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit who, with the Father and Son, calls the church into being, empowers its ministry, guides its mission, and supplies the resources needed by the Church community to follow Jesus.
- That the Church is a community of believers characterized by mutual participation in and sharing new life in Christ. Membership in the Harvest Ridge family is by confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is open to all who believe.
- The reality of freedom in Christ. We recognize that differences exist concerning theological issues, worship styles, and sacramental practices. However, we believe that these differences are overcome through sharing a common life in Jesus Christ. We believe that each person is unique and so is their experience in Christ. In Him, we have freedom that reflects our commitment to God’s Word, the Bible, and the guidance of His Holy Spirit in our lives.
- In essentials: agreement. In non-essentials: freedom. In all: love.
Jesus says that He wants His followers to be baptized with water as a sign of cleansing and incorporation into His family. Throughout history, however, Christians have interpreted this in different ways. At Harvest Ridge, we will baptize by total immersion or by sprinkling those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ. We will also baptize the infants of believing parents (or we’re glad to dedicate young children as well!) We believe baptism is a sign of God’s grace at work in our lives - not a ticket to Heaven! While it is a beautiful and significant sacrament of the Church, we don’t believe differing views should divide the family of God.
We celebrate Communion (also known as the Lord's Supper or the Eucharist) during Sunday worship – generally on the first Sunday of every month. If you trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you are welcome to participate. You don’t need to be a member of the church. Children are invited to come forward with their families for Communion. If your kids aren’t ready for Communion (the pastors are happy to talk with you about this), they are welcome to receive a handful of grapes we provide so they feel welcome at the table.
What does the Covenant Church believe?
On one level, the answer is quite simple. When new members join a Covenant church, they are asked two questions about belief: "Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior and promise to follow Him as Lord?" and "Do you accept the Holy Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, as the Word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct?" They are then asked if they intend to live as faithful followers of Christ and members of the church and denomination. That’s all. That’s enough. But on another level, of course, the answer is more complex. While the Covenant Church does not require adherence to any written creed, we take our theology very seriously, and our history as well. We are a Reformation church, a part of the Church universal, and an Evangelical church. In that heritage, we share certain central beliefs which draw us together in faith and fellowship and make possible a freedom among us on more widely ranging issues. We describe those central beliefs as "affirmations”.
We affirm the centrality of the Word of God. We believe the Bible is the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct. The dynamic, transforming power of the Word of God directs the church and the life of each Christian.
We affirm the necessity of the new birth. New birth in Christ means committing ourselves to Him and receiving forgiveness, acceptance, and eternal life. It means being alive in Christ, and this life has the qualities of love and righteousness, joy, and peace.
We affirm a commitment to the whole mission of the Church. We follow Christ's two central calls. The Great Commission sends us out into all the world to make disciples. The Great Commandment calls us to love the Lord our God and our neighbors as ourselves.
We affirm the Church as a fellowship of believers. The church is not an institution, organization, or building. It is a grace-filled fellowship of believers who participate in the life and mission of Jesus Christ. It is a family of equals.
We affirm a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who enables our obedience to Christ and conforms us to His image, and it is the Spirit in us that enables us to continue Christ's mission in the world.
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. We in the Covenant Church seek to focus on what unites us as followers of Christ, rather than on what divides us.
In our essential beliefs, we desire unity (Ephesians 4:4-6). In non-essential beliefs, we have freedom (Romans 14). In all beliefs, we act in compassion (1 Corinthians 13:2).