The Evangelical Covenant Church is a denomination with roots in the pietist movement with Lutheran roots with about 200,000 members in the United States and Canada. While it was founded by Swedish immigrants, it is a very diverse denomination. At the 2019 Annual Meeting in Omaha, the church did something that had never been in done before: it expelled one of the oldest churches in the church, First Covenant Church in Minneapolis for its affirming stance on LGBTQ issues. History might repeat itself later this year when two other churches could be expelled, one in the Twin Cities and another in Seattle.
I chatted with historian Chris Gehrz on this important issue. Gehrz is a professor of history at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Chris has written three books on pietism including the Pietist Option: Hope for the Renewal of Christianity, which he co-wrote with Mark Pattie. We talk about the history of the Evangelical Covenant Church, the 2019 decision to expel First Covenant in Minneapolis, why the LGBTQ issue is so intractable and what might happen in 2023.
Freedom in Christ- An Article written by Gehrz on the LGBTQ issue
What is Pietism- Previous Episode with Gehrz
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