July 31, 2008

EFCA Statement of Faith

The EFCA (Evangelical Free Church in America), the denomination to which I belong, has recently updated its Statement of Faith. Collin Hansen at CT wrote a short article praising the church for being proactive in modifying its statement. And I tend to agree that the new statement is an improvement. David Neff has a great piece on his blog about the change in the statement with regard to the "ordinances" (sacraments for those of you in other traditions). I think this helps fill an important hole in much evangelical theology, with a tendancy to ignore the sacraments for fear it will look like they convey salvation. I do think they have an important role to play in the life of the church as they enact the gospel message in a tangible way and as they serve as a vehicle that the Holy Spirit uses to work in people's lives. I haven't had time to go over the statement in detail, but there was one thing that jumped out at me, which is the inclusion of premillenialism in the statement, an article I'm going to need to think more about. But overall I think the EFCA has a very strong statement of faith, partly because of its brevity.

1 comment:

VERITAS101 said...

I attended an EFC for 3 yrs. They were between pastors and it was the best experience of my life. The elders took turns each week and we had home fellowship during the week. It was great. Everything fell apart when the guy who was more Reformed than he was anything else left to perform pediatric medicine halfway across country so that he could attend Masters Seminary. The church felt compelled after all that time had passed to call someone, so they settled/called one of the remaining elders. It was majority rule, not everybody must consent, so needless to say a lot of people had their hearts set on other elders and the church eventually fell apart. Worse things yet happened down the road, but I wasn't around for that so I won't comment on that.

I've always liked Chuck Swindoll, the patron saint of EFC precisely because he doesn't stress his millennial views. I'm a preterist and needless to say I don't care much for premillennialism in any of its varied forms - particularly the diSpENSATIONAL variety. To make someone's view of the millennium a point of fellowship is going too far!!! That is the very definition of Phariseeism: "putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we are able to bear." Peter says that to do such things is to tempt God! Sometimes we go to far in our zeal to "protect" the Lord (Luke 9:49-50).

I believe in premillennialism insofar as it is "correctly" defined. If someone means by premillennial that Christ came prior to the millennium and that we are presently in the millennium and that the millennium isn't a literal 1,000 years, then I'm premillennial! I'm obviously also an amillennialist. I could easily say that I'm a postmillennialist because I believe that from God's perspective the church age will be seen as a glorious age of the ever-increasing progression of the Gospel. Why make 6 phrases in a highly apocalyptic book of the Bible a matter of fellowship/membership?