Monday, January 30, 2006

a ridiculous scandal: here

It seems like that's what it takes to generate discussion on any given subject matter these days. I for one am glad that we aren't there. I've enjoyed hearing that there were more discussions and questions than there were rants at the Mid-Winter Ministerial. Look here and here to see what some who were there saw, heard, and said. I also am pleased to hear (and hear of) pastors discuss the proposed revisions with their congregrants. If Apple Valley was too far of a drive or too costly to fly to, try your best to make it to your up-coming district conference (go here to get info about your district and when it is meeting to discuss the proposal and other issues). It's my understanding that the writers of the proposed revision are making an effort to go out to these gatherings, so don't miss out on this opportunity (and make it worth their efforts by going yourself).

Friday, January 20, 2006

a mid-winter's break

I'd like to tell you what I've heard:

Did you catch that? Neither did I, so I'm going to take a little bit of time off (one, two weeks maybe) and listen in to what others are saying (or not saying). When I come back I hope to write some more about the more critical areas surrounding the potential changes to the Statement of Faith. You may notice that "She Must and Shall Stay Free" was called (part one); I think I've got at least a part two and a part three in me somewhere. I've only talked about the millenial issue once; so I expect to return to that rather substantial issue.

I suppose that for some this is only a fad, something that's fun to dabble with but then it gets over-played and over-hyped and then it's on to something else (I hear pet rocks are making a comeback). Well, the EFCA as a denomination means more to me than that and the local church is a whole lot more than that so I'll be sticking around for a bit longer...

The Freechurchman

The Final Article(s) on Last Things

If you just can't manage to read all the way through the PDF that contains the proposed revision to the Statement of Faith all of the revised articles are now posted on this blog. Even so, I encourage you to take the time to read the proposal; it gives great insight into the thoughts and considerations that went into making the changes that are being proposed. I interacted with a few of those ideas and plan on continuing to do so in the days between the Mid-winter and the National Leadership Conference in Colorado (should the Lord tarry).

Now, here's the last installment of the articles:

The Proposed Revison to the EFCA Statement of Faith
10. Response to God’s gospel determines the eternal destiny of every person –
We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead: of the unbeliever to judgment and eternal conscious punishment, and of the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

The Original EFCA Statement of Faith
12. In the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.

uneasy eschatology - are some answers too simple?

The forefather of Evangelical thought, Carl F. H. Henry, wrote in God, Revelation, and Authority:

Evangelical expositors disagree over the question of a literal thousand-year earthly reign of Christ. One’s view of the millennium has sometimes been made a test of evangelical authenticity or fellowship, even though this was not the case either in apostolic times or in the larger course of church history. Surely the issue should not be given a prominence above that extended to eschatological priorities expressly affirmed by the ecumenical creeds. (6:504)

Some may look at this statement by Carl Henry and say “Look, if ever there was proof that the EFCA should drop its distinctly Premillennial view, it’s the very point that Henry was making in the early 1980’s.” But not so fast, if we make what the ecumenical creeds declare the standard of what we include (or in this case delete) from our test of fellowship we end up with something very different from our current Statement of Faith. Look in the early creeds for a specific statement regarding Penal-Substitution. Is it there? Maybe implicitly... But it wasn't until Anselm’s work was enhanced by 16th century Reformers that Substitutionary Atonement was fully articulated by theologians. Should we then strike Penal-Substitution from our SoF? By no means! The ecumenical creeds do not deal adequately with the challenges that Christendom has faced in the centuries of thought and criticism that have followed them. For this reason they cannot exist as a test of what we include or delete from our Statement of Faith in the 21st Century.

The question of whether or not there should be a millenial position in our SoF deserves to be asked, but it should not be answered in this way. Considering all of the other changes being made to the SoF perhaps this is one that can be put on the backburner. An issue that has been embraced by so many in the EFCA for the last 50 years could probably stand to be analyzed by itself during a Mid-Winter with action being taken afterward toward either continued support of the Pre-Millenial position or a broader view like the one that the current draft revision proposes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

She Must and Shall Stay Free (part one)

God’s gospel is revealed through the church that centers herself upon the Word of God. The Gospels only preserved two of Jesus’ teachings on the church (for all we know these could have been the only times Jesus mentioned the new gathering of God’s chosen people or they could have been just two of many times he talked to his disciples about such things). What we do know is that Matthew, inspired by the Holy Spirit, gave us a very intentional look at the inner workings of the church the second time he let us see Jesus speaking of her:

"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. "Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (Matthew 18:15-20)

In this situation the “church” refers to the local body not to an appointed committee, deacons, or elders within the church or a larger entity outside of the autonomous church. The church is given the responsibility of determining whether a brother can be recognized as a partner in the gospel or a person who needs to hear and respond to the gospel. This reality exists for the purity of the church and for the good of the sinning brother. The proclamation of the gospel is at stake when we consider how church discipline is to be carried out, and church discipline cannot be carried out correctly without the correct form of church polity. Congregationalism is not just one of various expressions of church polity; it is how God’s gospel is preserved and proclaimed.

It is worth noting that in earlier times this passage was referred to as the “gospel steps” not so much out of its connection with the gospel message as much as its location within the Gospel According to Matthew. Nevertheless, we see in the Acts of the Apostles and in Paul’s letters a continuation of this emphasis on the body of believers making important decisions as an entire congregation, rather than allowing some key leaders making decisions on her behalf. The fact that the congregation is given the responsibility to decide on key issues is even more remarkable given the presence of the apostles in the early church.

Luke gives us another glimpse of the congregational structure of the earliest church:
Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. "Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. "But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them. (Acts 6:1-6)

While numerous discussions have taken place regarding the use of Acts in terms of it being prescriptive or descriptive, it seems that this descriptive narrative provides some important prescriptions for the church. I believe that this pericope demonstrates the need for and the function of the biblical office of deacons, and I also believe it gives another insight into the priesthood of all believers and the congregational nature of the church. The apostles called the entire congregation to hear their proposal and then upon hearing what the apostles had to say the congregation determined whether it was appropriate to accept the given guidance. This is congregationalism at its best (which is why I dream of an “Acts 6 church” just as much as I pray for an “Acts 2 church”); the leaders of the church do not lord over the congregation and the congregation heeds the pastoral direction of its leaders.

In Paul’s two letters to the Corinthians many believe he is speaking of the same sinning brother in 1 Corinthians 5 as he is in 2 Corinthians 6. Regardless of whom Paul is referring to, he appeals to the entire congregation in each letter. He charges the assembly to judge this brother and then later calls upon them to demonstrate forgiveness and comfort and to reaffirm love for the one who was rebuked by the entire body of believers.

The New Testament writers show us the church appointing its leaders and determining who can and cannot be counted among the body of believers as a congregation. Congregationalism directs the course of the church it is not a political construct modeled after democracy. Congregationalism is the result of a body consisting of the priesthood of believers. This priesthood will be examined next.

Going to Apple Valley?

Don't worry about the weather; it's going to be a balmy 34 on Thursday!

But don't forget your laptop, I'm not expecting the Associated Press to be providing coverage, nor do I expect Geraldo Rivera or Greta Van Susteren to be there, so email me at about what you see, hear, and say (I believe that's the Proverbial order of things), hopefully others who will be there can update us from their own blogs. If that occurs I'll be certain to provide links to their posts.

In the next few days I'll still be posting on some of the key issues (read: congregationalism and eschatology). In the meantime, know that we will be praying for all of you who will be traveling to Minnesota - grace & peace!

The Return of the King: Article Eleven

9. God will bring His gospel to fulfillment at the end of the age –We believe in the personal and glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with His holy angels when He will establish His kingdom fully and exercise His role as Judge of all. This coming of Christ, for which we must be constantly prepared, is our blessed hope.

11. In the personal and premillennial and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and that this "Blessed Hope" has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.

Personal commentary on the significant changes to this article will come later today.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King Day and the Eighth Article

Before more is said about the Draft Revision's Article Seven, I thought it would be fitting to display Article Eight today. While some might cynically complain that this new addition to the Statement of Faith would be nothing more than a trendy move; I beg to differ. Our denomination, by God's grace, is becoming more reflective of God's Kingdom, and our national leadership rightly emphasizes this by including in each EFCA Today a section called "Among All People: the diversity of our movement." This new article emphasizes the active role that God's people must take in the world today, and while we will never fully know peace until Christ returns there is nothing less Christ-like than ignoring the poor and turning our eyes away at the sight of injustice. Article Eight is a far cry from a social or liberation gospel, it rightly focuses on the how we are to fight sin in this age: through dependence upon the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

For too long we have allowed our national and state governments to be responsible for aiding the poor and helping the downtrodden, this would be all well and good if we believed that the government will lead them to the Savior, but God has seen fit to give His Church the responsibility of directing poor and needy sinners to the mercy seat of Jesus Christ by proclaiming the gospel to them. How will they come to know the One who will set them free if we refuse to allow our hands and our carpets to get dirty? How will they come to understand the true gospel if we don't reclaim social work from social activists who proclaim a false gospel?

8. God’s gospel calls us to Christ-like living and witness to the world –We believe that God’s justifying grace in the gospel must not be separated from its sanctifying power and purpose. He calls us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves, acting with compassion toward the poor and need, seeking justice for everyone. In fellowship with one another, we are to battle the world, the flesh, and the devil with the Word of God and prayer through the prevailing power of the Holy Spirit. Since the age to come has already dawned in Christ, we are called to take the light of Christ to the world, bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed to every nation, people, and language.

Friday, January 13, 2006

are you ready for this conversation?

Inquirer: So what is this Evangelical Free Church of America denomination all about?

You: Well it’s really pretty simple. We’re evangelical…

Inquirer: I hear “evangelical” tossed around a lot these days; what exactly does that mean?

You: It means that we emphasize the essentials of the gospel. If you’re interested take a look at this brief statement of faith, which outlines what gospel-proclaiming churches believe (you then grab one of the many brochures you have on hand which contains the EFCA SoF and hand it to this friendly seeker).

Inquirer: Hey thanks, I’ll be sure to look this over! What about "Free," I don’t suppose that means you’re anything like that guy on TV who wants me to have free money?

You: (chuckling at the cute remark) No, no, I assure you it’s nothing like that at all. "Free" means that we’re congregational.

Inquirer: Oh.

You: I’m guessing that you don’t really know what that means, but no worries I just happen to have a copy of the latest EFCA Leadership Conference Report Book, which contains our Bylaws that further explains our church’s structure and organization. You can borrow it if you like, but be sure to give it back because I only get one each year and I need it to keep abreast of any of the changes that may or may not occur on an annual basis (you then reach for the book)...

Inquirer: Uh, no that’s okay you keep it.


An exaggeration? Of course! If you can't articulate what it means to be congregational without referencing the Bylaws then something else is wrong here. But clearly we should have something much more accessible than the annual Report Book expressing why we are "Free." Relegating this important component of our denomination to a book that few have their hands on diminishes the significance of our polity. A polity that I believe is an important part of the narrative framework of the Biblical gospel, God's gospel.
More to come on this important issue...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Article Seven

The Seventh Article in the Draft Revision to the EFCA Statement of Faith:
7. God’s gospel is now embodied in the new community called the church –
We believe that the true church is composed of all those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit. This church, of which Christ is the Head, is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of members of the true church.
The two biblically-mandated ordinances of the church, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, visibly and tangibly express this gospel, strengthening our faith. They are to be celebrated by the church during the present age in obedience to Christ, but are not a means of salvation.

The four articles in the current EFCA Statement of Faith that it will replace:

7. That water baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances to be observed by the Church during the present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation.

8. That the true Church is composed of all such persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the Body of Christ of which He is the Head.

9. That only those who are, thus, members of the true Church shall be eligible for membership in the local church.

10. That Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of the Church and that every local church has the right, under Christ, to decide and govern its own affairs.

I will publish several posts in response to this portion of the revision.

Which Theologian Are You?

This little quiz has been around for some time now, but I figure if you've spent any time in the past couple of weeks trying to make sense of changes to the Statement of Faith you need a breather.

Oh yeah, and just to be completely clear if you end up looking like Paul Tillich perhaps the EFCA isn't for you!

Articles 5 & 6

Draft Revision:
5. God’s gospel is accomplished through the work of Christ –
We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, died on the cross as the perfect, complete, and sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His shed blood and resurrection are the only ground for salvation, and it is through faith alone in Christ and His saving work that anyone is justified before God.

Original Article:
6. That the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit and, thus become children of God.

Draft Revision:
6. God’s gospel is applied and empowered by the Holy Spirit –
We believe that the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and, during this age, convicts the world, regenerates sinners, baptizing them into union with Christ, and indwells, guides, instructs, and equips believers, empowering them for Christ-like living and service.

Original Article:
4. That the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and, during this age, to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service.

I wonder if there is anyone out there who is upset that article four's wording went from "regenerate the believing sinner" to "regenerates sinners" in the new article six. If you are that person, I'd love to hear from you. My guess is that most are pleased with this change, but that's only a guess.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Articles 3 & 4

3. God’s gospel alone addresses our deepest human need – We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they fell into sin through the temptation of Satan, distorting that mage. As a result, all humanity is alienated from God and under His wrath and can be rescued, reconciled, and restored only through God’s gracious work in Jesus Christ.

5. That man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is, therefore, lost, and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.

4. God’s gospel is revealed in history supremely through the Person of Jesus Christ –
We believe that Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel, is God incarnate, one Person in two natures, fully human and fully divine, having been conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily form the dead, and ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of God the Father, He is now our High Priest and Advocate.

3. That Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross, a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He is now our High Priest and Advocate.

Personal commentary:
I love how these two rewritten articles emphasize so many crucial tenents of the historic Christian faith. If you take a look at the draft as a whole, you'll note that Jesus is first mentioned by name at the end of article three (article one identifies Him as the Son). It sets up articles four and five beautifully to launch into a full-fledged Christological statement. Then each of the remaining articles speak of Jesus in one way or another. I like it. I like it a lot.

I find the terms "rescued, reconciled, and restored" to be interesting choices. The commentary provided in the draft suggests that rescued refers to the past for believers, reconciled to the present, and restored to the future. There may be in an "all ready-but not yet" sense in which each of these are past, present, and future. For example, one can say that we have been rescued from sin due to Christ's death, we are being rescued as Christ has sent the Spirit who gives us the ability to fight sin and live for His glory, and we will be rescued from sin once and for all when Christ returns. Overall, I like these terms because as far as I can tell I don't think anyone from either an Arminian camp or a Calvinist camp is going to be upset about this being some sort of ordo salutis. Clearly nothing like this is in view at all, and I for one find that helpful for the longevity of our denomination.

The First Two Articles

The Draft Revision precedes the current Statement of Faith's corresponding article. The Articles:

1. God’s gospel originates in and manifests the holy love of the eternal, triune God –
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in a unity of love in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This one God, who knows the end from the beginning and rules over all things, has, in love and grace, purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to restore His fallen creation for His own glory.

2. In one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

2. God’s gospel is authoritatively announced in the Scriptures –
We believe that God has spoken through the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments. They are the verbally inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and the ultimate authority which stands over every realm of human knowledge. We confess that we cannot know God’s truth exhaustively, but we affirm that we can know it truly. Therefore, the Bible is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.

1. The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.

Personal commentary:

The choice to change the positioning of the first two articles is an interesting one. I suppose that given the right conglomeration of theologians we could go back and forth on it all day long. Fortunately we do not have the problems of the mainline denominations which Wright spells out accurately in The New Testament and the People of God: "within mainline 'New Testament theology'... it is axiomatic that the gospels do not give us direct access to Jesus, but only to the theology of the evangelists and their predecessors. If all authority belongs to the creator god, it is a matter of some delicacy to describe how such 'authority' comes to be vested in the New Testament, and what the limits of this might be."

The bottom line is: we believe in the God who has spoken and who has done so in a way that reflects his very nature "infinitely perfect and eternally existing". We believe this because Scripture itself testifies, "the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever" (Isa 40:8). The mainline has a real problem with inerrancy, but we have stood on it and continue to do so in an even stronger sense with the proposed draft revision, because it deals two hay-makers to those who undermine our knowledge of God: openness theologians and post-modernists. Whether you begin with the God who speaks or the words He has spoken to reveal Himself to us is not nearly as significant as what is actually affirmed in the articles. These two revised articles demonstrate a continuing desire to stand for what the EFCA has always stood for: the God who is known through His own special revelation.

Friday, January 06, 2006

don't change that dial

There's not a lot of time between now and the Midwinter Ministerial and even though more could be said about the Preamble it's time to get moving on. Starting next week we'll begin looking at all of the draft revision: article-by-article. It's no mystery that a few of the articles deserve a bit more attention than the others, but to be thorough and consistent you will see them all here with the corresponding article from the current EFCA Statement of Faith.

While the commentary on the draft revision the writers’ included is helpful, I won't be including their notes unless it pertains to my own commentary on the revision. If you desire to make any comments in upcoming days please make sure that you have familiarized yourself with what they have said so as to avoid any unnecessary mischaracterization.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A word (or two) about anonymity

Some have complained, protested, or refrained from making comments here due to the anonymity of this blog. I have to admit there is something altogether pathetic about people who fire off salvos of criticism and slander from their computers and then walk away without taking responsibility for their words due to the guise of a pseudonym.

So what’s my excuse? Historical precedent. That’s right, surely you remember the “Federalist Papers” from your U.S. History class. Madison, Hamilton, and Jay wrote together under the name Publius to address the major issues surrounding the Constitution. I’m not a heavyweight like any of those guys nor am I an aristocrat like Sir Percy Blakeney of The Scarlet Pimpernel. So don’t look for me to take my mask off at the Midwinter Ministerial, frankly the trip is too expensive for me to make. Some of you hate surprises, I do too, but I assure you that my identity is nothing to lose sleep over. I recently “googled” my name and almost 18.5 million hits came up, and it’s true I did not look at every single link, but the ones I skimmed had nothing to do with me. Since the whole anonymous thing annoys some of you, I’ll let you know who I am when I hear back from those who have gone to the Midwinter, and I promise you it will be the most uneventful moment of all of our lives. Until then I will remain anonymous because my concern is not for you to know what I think as an individual, but for us to begin a conversation that does not appear to be taking place anywhere else.

I know that I’m not the only pastor in the EFCA who can’t make it to Apple Valley, MN but that doesn’t mean that how the proposed revision is discussed is any less important to me. I look around the “blogosphere” and see a lot of silliness; my personal favorites are all of the conversations that regurgitate all the classic straw-man arguments pertaining to Arminianism and Calvinism. If I wanted to waste my time, I’d start arguing with these people but I’d rather do something constructive, like create a forum for serious-minded Free Church ministers and laypersons to discuss what will undoubtedly change our denomination if it is embraced: the Proposed Revision to the Statement of Faith.

Changes, as you all know, can be both good and devastating. Chances are that if you are a firm supporter of the proposal you will find me to be a harsh critic. Conversely, if you think the document is appalling you may wish that I would fire off those salvos I mentioned earlier. There are some things that I don’t like about the proposal and there are some things that I do like; I want to bring all of it to the surface not just my own theological hobbyhorses. So I invite you to discuss it all right here and invite others who belong to the Evangelical Free Church of America (and can remain within the parameters I set in my first post, “Twin Dangers”). You may post a comment on any of the articles here with any personal information about yourself that you may want known, or you may wish to post anonymously, but if I think that your comments are mean-spirited expect to see them removed. If you find my thoughts to be of that vein then let me know and I will reexamine what I’ve written.

For the Church and for the glory of God through Jesus Christ our Lord,


when all that glitters is not silence

Not many in the EFCA are blogging about the pertinent issue of the day, but Jack over at is one of them. Until I become computer savvy enough to figure out how to add more links to my side column follow the above hypertext to Jack's site.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Any Given Sunday (part two)

It is possible to approve the recent proposal, but approving a new SoF and achieving the type of broad unity it desires appears staggeringly difficult this side of the Reformation.

At this point the question “is it necessary” is demanded by those who rightly reveal how it grieved Luther, Calvin, and other reformers to see the Church divide. Should we not desire to see unity among God’s chosen people? Were we called by God to argue with each other or to advance the gospel? How can God’s house stand if we allow “minor” doctrinal differences to divide us?

Paul, “an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” wrote to the church in Ephesus, “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one god and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Regardless of denominational differences evangelicals are united, not because of a parachurch movement like Prison Fellowship Ministries or an organization like the National Association of Evangelicals , but due to the work of Christ on our behalf. Our responsibility is to maintain unity (Eph 4:3,16). At the current time this unity is visibly maintained in at least two ways. There is unity in evangelical efforts to advance the gospel, thanks be to God! There is also unity in churches that are united through denomination distinctives, again – thanks be to God!

In my imagination there are two camps clamoring for the fire that is the SoF. The first camp believes that broadening the current SoF will strengthen the movement by enlarging it. The second camp believes that by making the tent larger there will be sharp disagreements in local churches due to variety of beliefs that would be considered tenable due to a broad SoF. Both camps want unity, but are divided on what that unity is to look like and how it is achieved, how ironic.

If you haven’t read The Church: One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic order it today and read Richard Phillips comments on this subject (it’s a short and inexpensive book – well worth the money). While waiting for your new book to arrive ponder the thoughts expressed by Russell Moore on why he considers himself a “Happy Evangelical”. As the head of the Carl Henry Institute, Moore appears to be one of the uneasy heirs of Henry’s evangelicalism; his statements about the “movement” (a term he wouldn’t use) deserve our attention as long as we are united as the Evangelical Free Church of America.