April 29, 2013
As I previously announced, our church is in the process of gracious dismissal into ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. One of the more impressive aspects of ECO is their commitment to theological revitalization, including this year’s push to have every member church do a study of the French Confession of 1559. More significantly, ECO requires the officers of every church to affirm the Essential Tenets of the Reformed confessions. I highly encourage everyone to read the document (the tenets begin on page 5). It is an excellent expression of our faith — clear, warm, irenic. It also exhibits a precise grasp of the Reformed faith in each of the loci.
The section on election is notably Reformed, even more than I expected. It is very well-written, with due attention to the Incarnation and election’s purpose of witness to those outside the covenant (“We are not elect for our own benefit alone”). This is not to say that a pure Barthian (if such a thing exists) would be entirely satisfied. The ordo salutis for election follows the classic Reformed paradigm, yet there is no reciprocal statement on reprobation — for which I am grateful, since such statements tend to imply a symmetry between election and reprobation.
There is also an extensive study guide for the Essential Tenets, developed for a classroom setting. They have created both a Leader’s Guide and a Participant’s Guide.