I am in the process of ordination with the Evangelical Covenant Church and perhaps can give an inside view in this self-avowed “pietist” denomination. In fact we have no qualms about calling ourselves publicly “non-creedal” with the exception that we reserve the Nicene Creed. As stated above we want to keep the essentials, the center, and not argue over the boundaries. Understandably, we cite our history as a response to the excesses of Protestant Scholasticism, and while not necessarily obscurantists and lightweight theologians, we are thinking people who value unity over divisiveness, sometimes at the expense of what we personally believe. The result is not theological compromise, or loss of conviction, or “doctrinal indifference” but I truly believe and observe, greater charity. For example:
I just baptized 3 adults this past Easter at my church deep here in the Baptist South (Houston). Myself a paedobaptist in conviction, I am required to sign off in my ordination process with the ECC (one of the few, if only, things we are required to “sign off” on) that I will facilitate and not disparage opposite views – i.e., in my case, credobaptism. If it were up to me I wish I could convince everyone of my view. But that is not the Covenant way, and in the process I have grown to appreciate the Baptist perspective more and more. So get this: in the end we ended up baptizing (via full immersion) 3 adults, 5 children, & 1 infant; we dedicated yet another infant (for parents who didn’t subscribe to paedobaptism) and confirmed 3 adults, all the while on rented Presbyterian grounds (who practice sprinkling), as a non-denominational church with Baptist tendencies with intentions to adopt into the Evangelical Covenant. And in the end, such beautiful, yet chaotic diversity of traditions resulted in one of our most profound, moving, and deeply meaningful services.
photosets here on Flickr