Fall/Winter 2023-2024

Volume XXXVIII, Number 2

In this issue

Harmony and congregational liberty in the tradition of the Evangelical Covenant Church by Philip J. Anderson

Early Covenanters in Sweden and North America—those who formed, shaped, and gave language to denominational ideals—thought deeply about communal harmony, in the spirit of the above quotations, derived from their experience of newfound freedom in Christ and personal, biblical faith. They knew that while the letter often kills, the Spirit gives life. They knew—like the seventeenth-century English nonconforming pastor John Bunyan—that “examples speak more powerfully than precepts” when it comes to the experience of faith and a caution against judging others. The present time continues to be a serious, critical juncture in Covenant history (not just a “season”), one that has tested a stated constitutional process of charging an established congregation with being “out of harmony” with “involuntary dismissal” from the denomination. It is not a mere juncture, however, but has become a turning point in Covenant history, fundamentally altering the denomination’s identity.

Zoom conventicle by Bryce Nelson

Every Friday at noon about 15 men from Seattle’s First Covenant Church say “hello” to each other on Zoom. They gather to read, hear, discuss, and find meaning in biblical texts. A few participants informally call this a “Zoom conventicle.” The “Zoom” part is obvious, but the obscure term “conventicle” doesn’t indicate the gathering’s format, content, or purpose. The First Covenant Church newsletter labels it a “Men’s Bible Reading,” and most churches would call it a Bible Study. Today if some friends gathered on Zoom to read, hear, and discuss biblical texts, then could the term “conventicle” accurately describe that gathering, or is it just “in the tradition” of a conventicle?

Ex Libris: Quick reviews of theological books by Lee Staman

The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our “Correct” Beliefs. Changing Our Mind.

The Making of a Reader by David Hawkinson

In this article, I am picking up an old thread I began in the earliest days of Pietisten’s “second” life, during the summer of 1986. I named it the “making of a reader,” because I came to the awareness that readers are “made”; we are taught to read, by teachers and other readers, and by the text we are reading. A lifetime of reading the biblical text closely, and in company with others has been a source of continued adventure and joy.