Policies of the ECA
ECA Policy on Alcohol, Tobacco & Illegal Drugs
While requiring its members to adhere to the policy set before them, the Governing Board of the Evangelical Church Alliance acknowledges that members of the ECA have a biblical and societal responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of persons dealing with problems of addiction.
It is the policy of the Evangelical Church Alliance that ECA licensed and ordained ministers abstain totally from the use of tobacco, alcohol and other intoxicating or mind-altering drugs or substances.
The use of any of these drugs or other substances that would affect one’s ability to conduct his or her life and ministry in a godly and consistent manner, that reflects the biblical standards and ECA Code of Ethics members are called to follow, is not permitted.
The use of potentially mind-altering drugs or substances, or other prescribed medications for medical purposes, and under the strict control of a licensed physician, is permitted.
The use of wine for communion purposes as practiced by some Christian denominations is permitted.
Note: Further scriptural support for this policy can be found in 1 Cor. 8:9 (“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”); and in Romans 14:21 (“It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”)
ECA Policy on Baptism
Whereas Article VI, 2. G of the Constitution of the Evangelical Church Alliance specifically states that we believe in the water baptism of believers and,
Whereas the word “believers” clearly implies a person who has attained an age of intellectual understanding; it is the policy of the International Board of Directors of the Evangelical Church Alliance that we will not accept into membership anyone who believes in or practices baptismal regeneration.
It is the further policy that a member who practices Infant Baptism should make it clear to the parents that a baptism is an act of dedication and not salvation.
ECA Policy on Clergy-Penitent Privilege
As ECA Ministers are to be committed to the highest ethical standards, any communications to them are to be used exclusively for the purposes for which they were intended.
All communications made to a licensed or ordained minister of the ECA while acting as a spiritual advisor shall be considered privileged provided there is no presence of a third person. However, a third person may be present if one is required legally, or to be in compliance with the policies of the minister’s employer or immediate governing authority.
The ECA Clergy Penitent Privilege Policy does not excuse ministers from appearing in court. Rather, it exempts them from disclosing a privileged communication in court against their will.
It is imperative that ECA members maintain familiarity with their own government’s clergy-penitent privilege laws; particularly in the areas of a child, elder or domestic abuse, and seek legal counsel prior to an agreement or refusal to divulge any information given under the circumstances considered to be Clergy Penitent privilege.
In the case of ECA members holding multiple ministerial credentials, this policy shall take precedence.
ECA Policy on Divorce
According to Paul in 1 Tim. 4:12 the minister is called to be an example to believers in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. The minister is also to have a good testimony among those who are outside, (the Church) lest he falls into reproach. 1 Tim. 3:7. Accordingly, the Evangelical Church Alliance has adopted the following policy on “Divorce in the Ministry.”
A minister should not divorce his/her spouse except for the two reasons given in Scripture as interpreted by the Board of Directors of the Evangelical Church Alliance.
Sexual immorality on the part of a spouse (Matthew 19:9)
An unbelieving spouse leaves the marriage. (1 Cor. 7: 10-13) If a spouse commits sexual immorality or departs the marriage as an unbeliever, the minister is free to divorce and remarry. However, the minister should submit to godly counsel before making that decision.
When such a divorce/separation takes place it is the responsibility of the ECA Member to notify headquarters and supply a detailed report of the circumstances and cause of the divorce/separation. Each occurrence will be judged on its own merit.
When the minister is divorced for reasons other than the two reasons listed above the following policies will apply: If the divorce/separation took place before the person, applying for membership, accepted Christ the divorce will not be considered in the application process.
If the minister is involved in a marriage that has become impossible, according to godly counsel, the minister may separate from the spouse (under 1 Cor. 7:10-11). The minister must submit to counsel (approved by ECA Headquarters) and make a genuine attempt to reconcile the marriage. To retain Credentials this minister must remain single and not date. There are many circumstances in a marriage that become almost intolerable. However, the minister must always bear in mind the teaching of Scripture and the vows and commitments made during the marriage ceremony. There are times when a minister must remain in a difficult situation and experience the “fellowship of His suffering.”
If a believing spouse initiates the divorce/separation, through no fault of the minister, the minister should submit to godly counsel and carefully follow the advice of the counselor. The minister must notify the ECA Headquarters of the situation as soon as possible and supply a detailed explanation of the circumstance. Unless and until the spouse who departed commits adultery or remarries the minister should remain single and not date.
- If a member divorces or separates from their spouse for non-Biblical reasons the following process will be followed: The President/CEO will request a detailed explanation of the circumstances of the divorce/separation to be submitted in a typewritten form.
- The President/CEO will review the submitted information and forward recommendations to the Chairman of the Board.
- The Chairman of the Board will review the information along with the ECA Staff’s recommendations and determine the proper course of action. The Chairman will correspond with the Member informing him/her of his decision offering an opportunity for further input. If the Chairman decides to remove the minister from membership the member will have the opportunity (under ECA Constitution) to appear at a regular ECA Board meeting to appeal the Chairman’s decision.
A member who violates this policy and refuses to submit to correction will be subject to Discipline, as outlined in the Evangelical Church Alliance Constitution. Any applicant or candidate for membership must also meet the above criteria.
Adopted by the Board November 16, 2004
ECA Policy on Marriage & Sexuality
It is the policy of the International of Board of Directors of the Evangelical Church Alliance that:
- Only ordained ministers may solemnize marriages.
- Before solemnizing any marriage, the minister should be acquainted with the state and local laws where the marriage will be performed.
- If the minister performs a marriage without legal authority, the marriage is valid, but the minister may be subject to fine or imprisonment.
- The minister must perform a marriage ceremony within the legal requirements of local and state statutes, and according to the Scripture as interpreted by the International Board of Directors of the Evangelical Church Alliance.
- The minister must complete and return all documents to the local and state authorities as required by law.
- In addition, the minister should keep an accurate personal record of all weddings and provide a certificate of marriage to the bride and groom. God’s Word sets forth the design for the happiness, well-being, protection and stability in the life of every person, and that sexual relations are reserved for marriage and that the covenant of marriage is sanctioned only for a man and a woman, according to the standards of Biblical scriptures, including Genesis 2:24; Hebrews 13:4; Exodus 20:14; Romans 1:24; and 1Timothy 1:8-10, as interpreted by the International Board of the Evangelical Church Alliance.
- No ECA minister shall perform any type of marriage or covenant ceremony for persons who are of the same sex or who have attempted to alter their gender surgically. Such a ceremony would endorse homosexuality, which is a sin and strictly forbidden in God’s Word.
- Any ECA minister, who performs a ceremony for these types of disapproved relations, unless innocently deceived into doing so, shall be dismissed from the Evangelical Church Alliance.
- No ECA minister is required to officiate a wedding that violates his/her conscience.
- The minister shall require premarital counseling as outlined in the ECA Minister’s Manual, pages 58 and 59 before solemnizing a marriage.
Adopted by the International Board of Directors, November 17, 2009.
ECA Policy on Membership Directory Use
The membership directory is published annually and is restricted for the purpose of providing an ECA membership list to members of the Evangelical Church Alliance.
Members are encouraged to use the directory for networking with other ECA members in their area or around the world.
Members are prohibited from using this directory for personal gain or solicitation of any kind.
The directory is not to be sold or distributed in part, or in full to any other organization or individual.
The directory is not to be reproduced electronically or in any other way without the prior written permission of the Evangelical Church Alliance.
ECA Policy on Military Chaplains Facilitating Meetings
ECA endorsed Military Chaplains may facilitate meetings or activities that violate the ECA Tenets of Faith, ECA Policies, and Standards, their religious convictions or conscience, however, they are restricted from participating in such meetings or activities.
ECA Policy on the Use of Pornography
The Evangelical Church Alliance requires that members abstain from Immoral Practices such as those listed in 1 Cor. 6:9,10; Gal. 5:19-21; Lev. 18:22 and Rom. 1:24-29 as interpreted by the Evangelical Church Alliance International Board of Directors.
Such Immoral Practices include the production and use of obscene material and pornography.
- Lev. 18:17 makes it clear that it is wickedness to uncover the nakedness of a woman.
Accordingly, it is the policy of the Evangelical Church Alliance:
- To refute the practice, production, acceptance, and promotion of pornography and obscenity.
- That no person who produces, promotes or uses obscene material or pornography may hold credentials with the Evangelical Church Alliance.
- Pornography and obscenity are defined as "Sexually explicit materials that expose the nakedness of a male or female with the obvious intent to stimulate a sexual response." This material may take any form, such as videos, pictures, written or verbal descriptions of a human body or a sexual act designed to stimulate a sexual response. The International Board of Directors will determine the question of what is pornographic or obscene if this policy is challenged.
ECA Policy on Reinstatement of Membership
- If a person has been out of membership less than two (2) years, we require an updated resume, any outstanding ministerial reports, and payment of the proper fees. Upon a positive evaluation of the resume and ministerial reports, as well as a successful ensuing phone interview, the request for reinstatement will be granted.
- If a person has been out of membership at least two (2) years, but less than seven (7) years, he/she must complete the Reinstatement Application, submit required documents (per the Reinstatement Application), any outstanding ministerial reports and pay the proper fees. Upon a positive evaluation of the application and ministerial reports, as well as a successful ensuing phone interview, the request for reinstatement will be granted.
- If a person has been out of membership seven (7) years or more, his/her file will be discarded and he/she must complete the standard new member application process when seeking reinstatement. Any outstanding ministerial reports and/or unpaid balances must be paid before beginning the reinstatement process. Once the application file is complete and approved, there will be a required, face-to-face Examination Interview at one of our scheduled conferences. If the interview is successful, reinstatement will be granted.
ECA Policy on Violence
“Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
there is a future for the man of peace.” Psalm 37:37
The ministers and member organizations of the Evangelical Church Alliance respect the final and absolute authority of the Holy Scripture as it is contained in the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. It is within these pages that we read repeated commands for God's people to pursue, embrace and live out God's peace in and through our lives.
Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, is called “Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). He declares, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt 5:9). St. Paul adjures us to live “at peace with all men” (Rom 12:18), and he identifies peace as the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22).
Violence is the antithesis of peace. Therefore, as Christians, we reject and condemn any and all manner of violence against innocent persons anywhere. Innocent persons are all those who have not been found guilty of a capital offense after due process of law nor have taken up arms as combatants. We find it to be especially repugnant when violence is perpetrated against the innocent in the name of religion, and particularly, in the name of Christianity for the purpose of vengeance, coercion, or any other reason.
We call all those who would contemplate the use of violence, or who have or are using violence toward the innocent, to immediately cease and desist, repent of their sin, and embrace the Gospel of Peace in Jesus Christ.
Adopted by the International Board of Directors on August 21, 2001