Rock Harbor Covenant Church is associated nationally with the Evangelical Covenant Church, and regionally with the Pacific Southwest Conference.
The Evangelical Covenant Church was established in 1885, in Chicago, Illinois. With its roots in the Protestant Reformation, and more recently the Swedish Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Covenant Church is a denomination that holds to the affirmations of historical Christianity regarding the Bible as the Word of God and the only rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct.
What makes the Covenant unique from other denominations is the fact that while it strongly affirms the clear teaching of the Bible, it allows believers the personal freedom to have varying interpretations on theological issues that are not clearly presented in Scripture.
- In essential beliefs – we have UNITY (Ephesians 4:4-6)
- In non-essential beliefs – we have LIBERTY (Romans 14:1,4,12,22)
In other words, at Rock Harbor, we agree to disagree agreeably.
We will walk hand in hand, even when we don’t see eye to eye.
Jesus’ words for those who would follow him: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
The Covenant affirms as central to its life and thought six evangelical affirmations.
1. Centrality of God’s Word
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture of error. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Psalm 119:105, 160, 12:6, Proverbs 30:5
2. The Necessity of New Birth
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above” (John 3:3). Salvation is God’s free gift to us but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life
by faith. Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9; John 14:6, 1:2; Titus 3:5, Galatians
3:26; Romans 5:1
3. A Commitment to the Whole Mission of the Church
Jesus said, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all you soul, and with all you mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” From the beginning, we have been called to live out the gospel with actions that speak louder than words. We will be a people who breath life with our words, while at the same time we bring life with our actions. Amos 5:21-24; Malachi 3:5; Matthew 22:37-40; 25:31-46; 28:19-20; Luke 19:10; John 15:13-15; Colossians 1:19-20; James 2:14-26
4. The Church as a Fellowship of Believers
The Church is a gathered community set apart for involvement in Christ’s mission to the world. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people , in order that you may proclaim the might acts of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9) This is not a claim that members of the believers’ Church are perfect. The Church knows itself to be always a company of sinners, but sinners who have experienced God’s love and forgiveness and are seeking to share God’s goodness in the world they live.
Matthew 6:18-29; Acts 12:5; 15:3; I Corinthians 12:12-30; 2 Corinthians 9; Galatians 3:38, I Peter 2:9; Hebrews 10:24-25
5. A Conscious Dependence on the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians we seek to
live under His control daily. 2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13, 14:16,17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18
6. The Reality of Freedom in Christ
We have committed to focus on what unites followers of Jesus Christ rather than what separates them. The center of our commitment is a clear faith in Jesus Christ. The centrality of the word of God, the necessity of the new birth, a commitment to the whole mission of the church, the church as a fellowship of believers, and a conscious dependence of the Holy Spirit form the parameters in which freedom is experienced. Here followers of Christ find the security to offer freedom to one another on issues that might otherwise divide. Matthew 11:19; John 8:31b-32; 10:16; Romans 14:2-3; Galatians 5:1a; 3:28; 5:13