Origin of the Evangelical Association and the Evangelical Church
UPON the instruction and advice of that godly minister of the Gospel, Jacob Albright, a number of persons in the state of Pennsylvania, who had become deeply convinced of their sinful state, through his ministrations, and who earnestly groaned to be delivered from sin, united A. D. 1800, and agreed to pray with and for each other, that they might be saved from sin, and flee the wrath to come.
In order to accomplish this work properly, they agreed mutually to spend each Sunday in prayer and in the exercise in godliness; also to meet each Wednesday evening for prayer; diligently endeavoring to avoid everything evil and sinful, and to do all manner of good as God should give them strength and ability. The number of those disposed to attend these meetings soon increased, and grew daily.
Such was the origin of the Evangelical Association. And as Jacob Albright by the grace of God was the instrument of their solemn union and holy zeal in exercise in godliness, they were at first frequently called "The Albrights." But in the year 1816, they formally adopted the name, The Evangelical Association, which is therefore, an ecclesiastical union of such persons as desire to have not merely the form of godliness, but strive to possess the substance and power thereof.
After almost a century of denominational life and activity, differences arose in the Church which in 1891 culminated in a division, a considerable number of ministers and members organizing themselves in 1892 into a denomination under the name of the United Evangelical Church. The two denominations, The Evangelical Association and the united Evangelical Church, continued their activities side by side, both endeavoring to carry on the work of the Lord with zeal and devotion. Both Church grew in numbers and in Missionary enterprises.
At the end of the second decade of the separation the growing conviction, that the two Churches should be reunited, began to find. articulate expression. The general Conference of the Evangelical Association of 1907 and that of the United Evangelical Church in 1910 took definite steps toward a reapproachment by the appointment of Commissions on Church union and Federation. These Commissions after a series of meetings agreed upon a partial Basis of Union in 1918, which Basis was unanimously ratified by the General Conference of the United Evangelical Church in 1918 and by the General Conference of the Evangelical Association in 1919.
Commissions were again appointed which, in joint session in 1921, completed the Basis of Union. This Basis of Union was submitted to the Annual Conferences of both denomination, receiving the required constitutional majority in both Churches. At a special session of the General Conference of the Evangelical Association, and at a regular Session of the General Conference of the United Evangelical Church meeting simultaneously during the month of October 1922, the adoption of the Discipline and Basis of Union was consummated, and on October 14, 1922. in General Conference of the Evangelical Church, the two Churches were united under the name of the Evangelical Church.
The Evangelical Church is operating in nearly every state of the Union, is supporting sixteen Benevolent and Educational institutions, and is represented by her missionaries on every part of the Globe, and numbers now 263,000.
What the Evangelical Church believes and teaches about God
There is but one true and living God, an eternal Being, a Spirit without body, indivisible, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness; the Creator and Preserver of all things visible and invisible. And in this Godhead there is a Trinity, of one substance and power, and co-eternal: namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
About Jesus Christ—the Son of God
The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the eternal and true God, of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed virgin, so that both natures the divine and human, are perfectly and inseparably united in Him as in one person; therefore He is Christ (the anointed), very God and very man, even He who suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, in order to reconcile the justice of the eternal Father to us, and to present Himself a sacrifice for both our original and actual sins. And that He truly arose from the dead and took again His body, with all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature; and with the same body He ascended into heaven, and is seated there until He return at the last day, to judge all men.
About the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, as the true and eternal God, of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and Son.
About the Bible
The Holy Scriptures contain the will of God, as far as it is necessary for us to know for our Salvation; so that whatsoever is not contained therein, nor can be proved thereby, is not to be enjoined on any as an article of faith, or as a doctrine of essential to salvation.
By the Holy Scriptures we understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, which the Church has at all times indubiously received as such.
1. "Origin of the Evangelical Association and the Evangelical Church," Year Book and Church Directory of The First Evangelical Church, Geneva, New York, 1932, pages 4-5.
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