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What the Current Statement of Faith Does Not Contain or Lacks - 10 points

 

  1. There is no statement on the Church.

  2. There is no dedicated section on man’s condition of sin.

  3. There is a short phrase on man’s sin, and that under the section on the Holy Spirit.

  4. There is one sentence on God, but only on the Trinity, with no Holy Spirit & no Jesus.

  5. There is one phrase on the Holy Spirit and that dealing only with regeneration. 

  6. There is one short sentence on the Bible.

  7. There is one statement on godly living and inserted within the Holy Spirit section.

  8. The section on salvation is short, and many aspects of salvation are not mentioned.

There is no explanation on how to become saved.

   9. The Section on Jesus Christ is the most complete, but only mentions His work, not how to find salvation through His work.

 

 

The SOF & EFCA Membership

 

A. I am all for keeping the SOF as simple as possible, and not including more information than is essential for a proper document, but our current SOF has sections devoid of explanation on foundational Christian concepts, and principles. There are sections that cry for more explanation, because our current SOF is only a partial picture of Basic Christianity.

 

B. The question arises in many minds that if the EFCA regards each local church as autonomous (and it does), why should a church be part of a larger EFCA denomination? It is because church is not intended to be done alone, it is a group activity. In the USA, we place a high value upon independence – it’s part of our American ethos, our culture, and in America we elevate that concept. The church is different by design. Look at the book of Acts; that is the pattern; churches were all interconnected working together to spread the gospel, and in helping other churches in need. When theological issues arose in Antioch the church sent Paul, Barabbas, and others to Jerusalem to talk it over with the Apostles. No one lived or operated in a vacuum, insulated from other local churches.

                                                                                                                                                                                 

C. Independent churches do not follow the pattern in the book of Acts. Churches that grow healthy, interdependent relationships with other churches tend to stay vibrant longer and are more focused upon sharing the Gospel with others.  Their leaders are more engaged, as a result of the sharing of ministry ideas and networks of support, exhortation, and accountability that are established through denominational linkages and friendships.

D. What holds a denomination such as EFCA together is a shared sense of mission, and a shared sense of ministry. The EFCA focuses on ministering to churches and their leaders and planting new churches.

             EV Free statement of Faith in black          Bethany’s Current Statement of Faith in Blue

 

  1. God

We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

We believe there is one God, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Deut. 6:4, Is. 46:9,   1 Tim. 2:5).

2. The Bible

We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible authoritative Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).

3. The Human Condition

We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.

 

4. Jesus Christ

We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel's promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life,

5. The Work of Christ

We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.

in His miracles, in His vicarious and  atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory (Is. 43:10, Jn .1:1,

1 Thess. 4:14).

6. The Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

We believe that for the salvation of lost sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential

(Jn. 6:63, Titus 3:5-6, 1 Pet. 1:23).

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life (Rom. 8:9, Hn. 3:2-5, 1 Pet.1:3).

7. The Church

We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God's grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.

 

8. Christian Living

We believe that God's justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.

 

9. Christ’s Return

We believe in the personal, bodily and glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.

 

10. Response and Eternal Destiny

We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost, they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation (Rom. 6:5, 1 Cor. 15:26-27, 54-57).

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:2-6).

Scriptural backing of the efca Statement 

Adopted by the Conference on June 19, 2019 (with Scripture References – a Spiritual Heritage Committee working document)

The Evangelical Free Church of America is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions:

God

1) We believe in one God (Dt. 6:4; Mk. 12:29), Creator of all things (Gen. 1:1; Ps. 33:6; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 11:3), holy (Ex. 15:11; Isa. 6:3; 57:15), infinitely perfect (Dt. 32:4; Job 1:7-10; Ps. 18:30; 50:2; 90:2; 145:3; Matt. 5:48), and eternally existing (Ps. 33:11; 102:25-27; 115:3; Dan. 4:34-35; Jn. 5:26; Acts 17:24-25) in a loving unity (Jn. 3:35; 17:24; 1 Jn. 4:8,16) of three equally divine Persons (Jn. 17:11; Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2): the Father (Dt. 32:6; Mt. 6:6; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 8:6), the Son (Matt.3:17; Jn. 1:14; 3:16; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 1:5), and the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15; Rom. 8:9, 26; Gal. 4:6). Having limitless knowledge (Ps. 139:1-16; 147:5; Isa. 46:10; Jn. 21:17) and sovereign power (Jer. 32:17; Eph. 1:11; Rm. 8:28; 2 Cor. 6:18; Eph. 3:20; Rev. 1:8), God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself (1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:11; 3:10,11; 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8) and to make all things new (Matt. 19:28; Acts 3:21; Rom. 8:19-21; Rev. 21,22) for His own glory (Ps. 19:1-2; Isa. 43:7; Jer. 13:11; Col. 1:15-23; Rev. 4:11; 5:9-14).

The Bible

2) We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures (Matt. 1:22; 4:4; 19:4,5; Heb. 1:1-2), both Old and New Testaments (2 Pet. 3:15,16), through the words of human authors (Lk. 1:1-4). As the verbally inspired Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20,21), the Bible is without error in the original writings (Num. 23:19; 2 Sam. 7:28; Prov. 30:5; Ps. 119:96, 160; Matt. 5:18; Jn. 10:35; 17:17; Tit. 1:1,2), the complete revelation of His will for salvation (Lk. 16:29-31; Gal. 1:8,9; 2 Tim. 3:15), and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged (Jn. 17:17; 1 Tim. 3:15-17; 1 Pet. 1:23; Ps. 119:44,45,165). Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches (Matt. 22:29; Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16), obeyed in all that it requires (Matt. 28:20; 2 Thess. 3:14; 1 Jn. 2:5), and trusted in all that it promises (Rom. 1:2; 4:21; Heb. 10:23; 2 Pet. 1:4; 3:13).

The Human Condition

3) We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image (Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6; 1 Cor. 11:7; Col. 3:10; Jms. 3:9), but they sinned when tempted by Satan (Gen. 3:1-6; Jn. 8:44; Rom. 5:12-14; 16:20; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:13-14). In union with Adam (Job 14:4; Ps. 51:5; Jn. 3:6; Rom. 3:12; 5:12-14; 1 Cor. 15:22a; 1 Jn. 1:8), human beings are sinners by nature and by choice (Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Isa. 6:5; Rom. 5:15; 8:5-8; Eph. 2:1-2; 4:17-19), alienated from God (Rom. 5:10), and under His wrath (Rom. 1:18; 2:5; 3:9-19; 3:23; Eph. 2:3). Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ (Act 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5) can we be rescued (1 Thess. 1:10), reconciled (Rom. 5:1,2,10; Col. 1:20) and renewed (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:24; Phil. 3:21; 1 Jn. 3:2).

Jesus Christ

4) We believe that Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:21; 16:18) is God incarnate (Jn. 1:14, 18; 1 Jn. 4:2), fully God (Isa. 9:6; Jer. 23:6; Jn. 1:1; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Col. 2:9) and fully man (Matt. 4:2; Lk. 2:40, 52; Jn. 11:35; Heb. 5:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:1-3), one Person in two natures (Jn. 3:13; 10:30; 17:5). Jesus—Israel's promised Messiah (Gen. 3:14-20; 12:1-3; 49:8-12; 2 Sam. 7:11b-16; Matt. 1:1, 17; Lk. 4:16-22; 24:25-27; Jn. 1:41; 4:25-26; Acts 2:36; 13:23,32; Rom. 1:2-3; 2 Tim. 2:8,9)—was conceived through the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18; Lk. 1:34,35) and born of the virgin Mary (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:20; Lk. 1:34,35). He lived a sinless life (Rom. 5:19; Gal. 4:4,5; Matt. 3:15; Phil. 2:7,8; Heb. 4:15), was crucified under Pontius Pilate (Dt. 21:23; Ps. 16:10; Matt. 27:26; Mk. 15:15; Lk. 23:16; Jn. 19:16; Acts 2:27, 37), arose bodily from the dead (Matt. 28:1-10; Mk. 16:1-8; Lk. 24:39; Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:20, 44-45; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5), ascended into heaven (Lk. 24:51; Acts 1:6-11; Eph. 1:20; 4:8-10; 1 Tim. 3:16) and sits at the right hand of God the Father (Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 1 Pet. 3:22) as our High Priest (Heb. 2:17; 3:1; 4:14; 6:20; 8:1) and Advocate (Rom. 8: 34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24; 1 Jn. 2:1).

The Work of Christ

5) We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative (Gen. 2:15-17; Matt. 4:1-11; Mk. 1:12- 13; Lk. 4:1-13; Rom. 5:18-19; 1 Cor. 1:30; 15:45, 47; Phil. 3:9) and substitute (Mk. 10:45; Heb. 2:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18), shed His blood on the cross (Lev. 17:11; Mt. 26:28; Heb. 9:14, 22; 10:19; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 12:10-11) as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice (1 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 9:23-24, 26, 28; 10:1; 13:11, 12) for our sins (Isa. 53:5-7, 12; Jn. 1:29; Rom. 3:21- 26; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1 Jn. 3:5). His atoning death (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 2:17; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10) and victorious resurrection (Col. 1:13; 2:13-15; Heb. 2:14-15) constitute the only ground for salvation (Rom. 4:25; 6:4, 11, 14; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:20; 2 Cor. 4:14; Eph. 1:19-20; 2:5-6; 1 Pet. 1:3).

The Holy Spirit

6) We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 16:14). He convicts the world of its guilt (Jn. 16:8; 1 Cor. 2:14). He regenerates sinners (Ezek. 36:25- 27; Jn. 3:3, 5; 1 Cor. 12:3; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:13; 1 Thess. 1:4-5; 2 Thess. 2:13; Tit. 3:5; Jms. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3), and in Him they are baptized (Mk. 1:8; Acts 1:5; 1 Cor. 12:13) into union with Christ (Rom. 3:24; 5:15-21; 12:5; 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:19; 15:22b; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 1:22; 2:17; 3:28; Eph. 1:4; 2:12; 3:6; 4:32; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Thess. 4:16) and adopted as heirs (Rom. 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5; Tit. 3:7) in the family of God (Matt. 12:49-50; 2 Cor. 6:18; Eph. 3:14; 1 Jn. 3:14-18). He also indwells (Jn. 14:17; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16), illuminates (1 Cor. 2:2; 2 Cor. 4:4-15; Eph. 1:17-19; Phil. 1:9-11), guides (Jn. 16:13; Acts 15:28; Rom. 8:4, 14; Gal. 5:16, 18), equips (Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12: 4-10; Eph. 4: 7-11; 1 Pet. 4:10-11) and empowers (Acts 1:8; 10:38; Rom. 15:13; 1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 3:16; 2 Tim. 1:7) believers for Christ-like living and service (Acts 6:8; Rom. 8:4-6, 12-16; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 3:3, 5; 5:22-23, 25; Eph. 2:22; 4:3; Phil. 2:1-2).

 

The Church

7) We believe that the true church (Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:4-6; 5:25; Heb. 12:28) comprises all who have been justified by God's grace through faith alone in Christ alone (Ps. 103:12; Isa. 44:22; Jn. 3:16; Acts 16:31; Rom. 3:20-28; 4:3; 5:1, 21; 8:1, 30, 33-34; 10:4, 9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 3:9; Tit. 3:7; Heb. 10:14). They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-27), of which He is the Head (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:15-16; Col. 1:18; 2:19). The true church is manifest in local churches (Acts 9:31; 20:28-30; Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 1:2; 16:19; 2 Cor. 1:1; 1 Thess. 1:1; Philem. 1-2), whose membership should be composed only of believers (Matt. 18:15-20; Acts 2:41, 47; 14:23; 20:7; 1 Cor. 1:2, 9; 11:20; 12:13; 14:40; 16:1-2; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 5:9; Tit. 1:5-9; Heb. 10:25). The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12) and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:15-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26), which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer (Jn. 6:55-56; Acts 2:38; 8:39; 16:34; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:29-30; Col. 2:12).

Christian Living

8) We believe that God's justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose (Matt. 7:17-18; 12:33, 35; Heb. 11:6; Eph. 2:10; 1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17, 23; 1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Jn. 2:29; 3:9; 5:18; 2 Cor. 3:18; Tit. 3:5; 1 Cor. 6:11; Rom. 6:11, 14; 1 Pet. 1:15; Phil. 2:12-13; Heb. 12:1, 14; 2 Tim. 1:9; Js. 2:17; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Pet. 1:3-11). God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially (Dt. 6:5; Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:37-39; Mk. 12:30; Lk. 10:27) and to live out our faith with care for one another (Rom. 12:10; 14:13; 15:7, 14; Gal. 5:26; Eph. 4:32; 1 Thess. 3:12; 5:11, 15; Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Pet. 4:9), compassion toward the poor (Dt. 15:11; Psa. 82:3,4; Psa. 140:12; Prov. 14:21,31; 19:17; 22:9,16,22,23; 28:8; 29:7; 31:8,9; Jer. 22:16; Gal. 2:10; Js. 1:27) and justice for the oppressed (Ex. 23:6; Lev. 19:15; Psa. 82:3,4; 140:12; Prov. 29:7; 31:9; Isa. 1:17; Jer. 9:24; Mic. 6:8; Zech. 7:9,10; Matt. 23:23; Luke 4:18). With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name (Eph. 6:10-18), we (Heb. 3:13; 10:25), are to combat the spiritual forces of evil (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:11, 12; 2 Tim. 4:7; 1 Jn. 5:3-4). In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people (Matt. 28:19; Jn. 20:21; Rev. 7:9), always bearing witness to the gospel (Acts 1:8) in word and deed (Matt. 5:13-16).

Christ's Return

9) We believe in the personal, bodily (Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7) and glorious (Matt. 16:27; 19:28; 24:30; 25:31; Mk. 8:38; Lk. 9:26; 21:27; Col. 3:4; 2 Thess. 1:10; Tit. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:7; 4:13; 5:1, 4) return of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:31; Tit. 2:13; 2 Thess. 1:6-8; Rev. 19:11-21). The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God (Matt. 24:36; Mk. 13:32), requires constant expectancy (Matt. 24:42-51; Rom. 13:11-14; 1 Thess. 5:1-11; Js. 5:8,9; 2 Pet. 3:10-14; Rev. 3:3) and, as our blessed hope (Tit. 2:13), motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission (2 Thess. 1:6-8; 2 Tim. 4:8; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 9:28; 1 Jn. 3:2-3; 2 Pet. 3:10-14).

Response and Eternal Destiny

10) We believe that God commands everyone everywhere (Acts 20:20) to believe the gospel (Mk. 1:15; Jn. 6:29; 8:24; 11:26; 14:1; 20:31; Acts 16:31; Rom. 3:22; 10:14; Gal. 3:22; 1 Tim. 1:16; 1 Pet. 1:8; 1 Jn. 3:23) by turning to Him in repentance (Isa. 55:6-7; Lk. 24:47; Acts 2:37-38; 3:19; 14:15; 20:21; 26:17,18; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:9-10) and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:12). We believe that God will raise the dead bodily (Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2; 1 Cor. 15; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 20:13) and judge the world (Ecc. 12:14; Matt. 12:36; 26:31-32; Acts 17:31; Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 20:12), assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment (Matt. 25:46; Lk. 16:26; 2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 14:11; 21:6,8; 22:14,15), and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord (Matt. 25:34, 46; Jn. 14:2; Rev. 21:1-3), in the new heaven and the new earth (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; Rom. 8:19-21; Heb. 12:26;27; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1; 22:3), to the praise of His glorious grace (Eph. 1:6, 12). Amen.

Updated July 2019

CLICK HERE TO READ EFCA'S AFFIRMATIONS AND DENIALS

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