A Covenant Resource Paper is a teaching document approved by the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church to provide context and clarity for Covenant churches on critical issues of concern in matters of faith, doctrine, and conduct. Resource Papers seek to apply biblical teaching to critical issues in the context of the historical character and ongoing missional identity of the Evangelical Covenant Church. A Covenant Resource Paper exists to inform discipleship and practice in the life of Covenant people without rising to the level of creed, confession, or binding doctrine.
Similar to a Resolution of the Annual Meeting, a Covenant Resource Paper is non-binding in keeping with Covenant understanding that the Word of God is the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct, and in keeping with the Covenants long-standing emphasis on freedom in Christ. Unlike a resolution which is meant to offer a summary and crystallization of biblical thought, a Covenant Resource Paper is a longer, more dialogical and nuanced discussion of critical concerns. Unlike a resolution, which is focused primarily on ethical and political concerns, a Covenant Resource Paper informs ongoing discipleship and practice in all matters worthy of specific concern – matters of faith, doctrine, and conduct. A Covenant Resource Paper will remain in effect to inform ongoing discipleship and practice in the life of Covenant people until such time as it is replaced or removed by the Annual Meeting.
A Covenant Resource Paper exists to educate and inform and call Covenant people to the full nature of the biblical message and life in Christ. Covenant Resource papers are not approved for the purpose of discipline. The only basis for discipline is the Word of God. In order to help Covenant people understand the Covenant Resource Paper as a process of communal discernment (to inform ongoing discipleship and practice in the life of Covenant people rather than attempt to move the Covenant toward becoming a creedal church), delegates to the Annual Meeting commissioned the first Covenant Resource Paper be written on the topic “How the Evangelical Covenant Church Engages in Biblical/Theological Reflection.”