A break-off group from the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) launched a new conservative evangelical fellowship during a meeting in Florida in mid-January. The name of the new denomination is the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO), which came together in response to the severe liberalization of the PCUSA over the past several years, particularly its decision last year to allow the ordination of openly homosexual clergy (see The New American’s coverage).
The new denomination will be under the umbrella of another recent entity, the Fellowship of Presbyterians, which was launched last year in response to concerns among clergy “about the health” of the PCUSA, particularly its steady loss of members over the past four decades as it has compromised on biblical theology in an effort to maintain cultural relevancy.
Although “homosexuality is not mentioned in the ECO’s founding documents,” the Washington Post noted in its report on the new denomination, “its stated commitment to conservative theology and the inerrancy of the Bible indicates that gay clergy will not be tolerated.”
Reuters News reported that 2,000 Presbyterians from some 500 PCUSA churches nationwide attended the conference, many of them curious about the new fellowship, but not yet ready to cut ties with the mainline denomination.
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Graphic: logo of Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO)