Our belief, that is the constitution of our church, is simply the Holy Bible.
As with all the rest of the reformed Evangelical Churches, the Holy Bible is the only source of truth and the only indisputable feature of our faith. Actually, at this very point lies the big difference between the Evangelical Church on the one hand and the Orthodox and Catholic Church on the other hand. The latter accept both the Holy Bible and the holy tradition as the basis of their belief.
In our case, though, only the Holy Bible is acceptable. Anything else that is added by the holy tradition throughout time is examined under the light of the Holy Bible and is adopted providing that it complies with its content, whereas it is rejected if it contradicts it. Moreover, there is a fundamental belief in the Evangelical church which is a general truth. That is, we accept that the Bible is God-inspired. More specifically, it was written by humans who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that all their writings would be correct and utterly clarifying. Based on this estimation, we can declare that the Evangelical Church accepts the Holy Bible as the Only Book which is placed above all books or any other source of knowledge. The God-inspired feature of the Holy Bible even since the time of the great Reformers, forms the cornerstone of the Evangelical belief.
If we wished to clarify things, we would say in an oversimplified statement that this movement of Luther and his collaborators was nothing but an attempt to bring the Church of Jesus Christ back to the first century, dismissing all those practices, actions and teachings added by the intervening fifteen centuries.
In other words, the so called motto was “Let’s discard whatever time has brought along and return to the Church of Jesus Christ in the Acts’ time”.
On this account, it is obvious that the Evangelical church does not consent to the worship of icons, does not teach praying to saints, does not accept various practices that have been added to Christian faith in the course of time, and is not closely related to plastic arts.
On the contrary, it is strongly connected with music which has evidently been an element of worship of God ever since the times of the Old Testament. We should also bear in mind that the Evangelical Church of Thessaloniki does not have full time ministers while there are pastors “who already have their own bread-winning job”. Our worshiping assemblies give the believers the chance to pray, worship their Redeemer, take part in the Holy Communion and listen to sermons which are based solely on the teaching of the Holy Bible. It’s all too clear that all the explanations given on various Bible verses may differ, however, the Word of God is the focal point of interest, concern and attention of all believers. Last but not least, it must be noted that the Evangelical church has simplified the various Christian celebrations. It participates in Christmas’ celebrations all over the world wholeheartedly. The same is for Easter too. Moreover, every Evangelical church accepts the chronological placement of Easter according to the country it resides in. That is, in countries where the Catholic Church predominates, Easter is celebrated by the Evangelical Church along with the Catholics. The same is with countries where the Orthodox Church preponderates. This peculiarity is due to the fact that the Evangelical church believes that form and detail is of little essence while the Spirit and truth is what matters most. According to Jesus Christ’s teaching: God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4: 24)
Our Spiritual Identity
The Evangelical Church of Thessaloniki belongs to the big family of the Reformed Churches which altogether form the group of the Protestant or Evangelical churches. It is known, of course, that Christianity has three main subdivisions: The Catholics (which are estimated at about 900 million), the Protestants (estimated at 400 million) and the Orthodox (who reach approximately 160 million). Amidst all those believers, our Church belongs to the family (association) of Protestant Churches and complies with the guidelines that have been established since the 16th century by the great reformers among whom is the most outstanding personality of Protestantism, Martin Luther.
Globally, the Evangelical Churches are characterized by wide variety and plenty individual divergences Moreover, they have no central administration since the Evangelical Church believes that “secular power” has no place in the Church of Christ. That is the reason why there is no “leader” or leading figure (like the Pope in the Catholic Church or the Patriarchs in the Orthodox Church). Each and every Evangelical Church is independent of the rest, cooperates with some of them in a certain framework of similar course of action and mentality, however it preserves its spiritual and administrative self-sufficiency just because it accepts that leader of the Church, according to the biblical standards, can only be Jesus Christ.
More specifically, the Evangelical Church of Thessaloniki is placed among the Baptist Churches of the exterior and the Churches of Brethren all of which have become active in Europe, the USA and elsewhere in the world during the last two or three centuries. It maintains relations of brotherly cooperation and love with all the Evangelical or Protestant Churches of fundamentally similar religious beliefs or similar denominations, preserving, though, its dogmatic, spiritual and administrative identity and independency.
Our Church accepts all the principles which appear in the Holy Bible, respects all the churches which are differentiated in some sub-details and gladly works with all those who are willing to acknowledge the Holy Bible as the basis of their belief and follow the voice of their conscience with an everyday implementation of the christian life. Our attitude towards the Orthodox and the Catholic Church is one of friendly presence, followed by a sincere and open spirit of coming together and collaborating with each one of them. It is retaining, though, our identity both in worship and the dogma/faith or the acknowledgement of the principal truths of the Holy Bible. Wherever the Orthodox Church was willing to be approached, the Evangelical Church of Thessaloniki was open to a cooperation, on condition that respect and a friendly note was mutual.
We are totally aware of the fact that we are on the same ”side” with all the Christian Churches. That’s the natural thing for a christian to do, especially in our present society where the number of non-believers , disclaimers or heterodox people is constantly multiplying. If we claim that we belong to Jesus Christ and that He is our sole leader, then we are compelled to stand side by side, even when there are personal diversities or particularities. This is our basic belief and on these guidelines we rely and proceed. Those who accept all the aforesaid, despite any existing differentiations, are welcome to stand beside us.
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