A relatively new conservative Presbyterian denomination has been enjoying increased growth over the last four years as hundreds of churches continue to leave the more liberal Presbyterian Church (USA).
The Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO), has grown to more than 300 congregations since its inception in 2012.
Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD) President Mark Tooley maintians that the denomination was formed because of the PCUSA's liberal stance on homosexuality.
"ECO is a response to the old denomination's collapse in fidelity to biblical standards on the sexuality issue," Tooley contends.
Tooley also told OneNewsNow that he believes there is not much of a future for the old PCUSA – as the liberalization process has seen tens of thousands of members leave every year. At the same time, however, he foresees the rapid growth of ECO slowing down.
"Most of the congregations that are going to leave the old denomination have already done so, so the rapid growth resulting from the parting congregations from the PCUSA is probably mostly over,” the expert on religious matters in America explained. “The next stage, hopefully, will be the growth of those congregations within the new denomination and hopefully the planting of new congregations – [as a direct result of the] denomination's collapse in fidelity to biblical standards on the sexuality issue."
ECO is holding its 2017 National Gathering from January 24 to 26 in Greenville, South Carolina, where it expects approximately 1,100 pastors and elders to attend the event.