Going through my files I found a theological thesis that I had written for a ministry license leading to ordination with the Evangelical Free Church. I finished with the rough draft, but never finished the process since I ended up resigning my position at the E-Free Church I was at. I then entered the world of parachurch ministry and it was something that I tabled.
Now that I’m an interim pastor at a church in Indianola, and have the desire, once again, to be credentialed within my denomination. I thought I’d take this thesis, dust it off and blog on each section in the doctrinal beliefs of this paper which include the EFCA Statement of Faith and some contemporary issues. This thesis is based on the 1950 EFCA Statement of Faith. Just a couple of weeks ago, the EFCA General Conference approved a new statement of faith.
The first statement concerns the Bible:
We believe 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 salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life, (Article I, 1950 EFCA Statement of Faith).
I believe that all sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God. The apostle Paul affirms this when he says, “
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV).
I believe that every word, of every page of Scriptures is inspired by God. The apostle Paul in his first letter to the Church at Corinth proclaimed that the wisdom that he was imparting was not of human origin, but rather wisdom that was “taught by the Spirit,” (1 Corinthians 2:13). I believe that God inspired men by the Holy Spirit to write the scriptures for in 2 Peter we see:
…knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, (2 Peter 1:20-21, ESV).
The origin of Scripture is God. It was never from man. God did allow their personalities and writing styles to be used, but the words came from Him as these men were carried along by the Spirit.
I believe both the Old Testament is inerrant in the original Hebrew manuscripts and the New Testament in the original Greek. The Psalmist writes that God’s words are pure like silver in a furnace purified seven times, (Psalm 12:6). Every word of God is proven true, (Proverbs 30:5). God cannot lie for He is the Truth (John 14:6) so His word is perfect, sure, right, pure and true, (Psalm 19:7-9). If we could not trust God’s written word our theology would be on shaky ground, since every tenet of orthodox Christian faith is rooted in scripture. The Bible is reliable so it can be trusted in matters of doctrine.
God speaks through His creation. The heavens declare God’s glory, and the sky “proclaims his handiwork,” (Psalm 19:1). Even day and night reveals His knowledge, (Psalm 19:2). This is His general revelation of Himself to mankind. The apostle Paul proclaimed that what can be known to God is plain to us, because God has shown it to us, (Romans 1:19). Because of that is without excuse as we stand before God in our sinful state, (Romans 3:23). We see that:
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse, (Romans 1:20, ESV).
General knowledge is not enough to save. In Scripture God completely reveals His specific will and way for our salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ that whoever believes in Him will not die, but will have eternal life, (John 3:16). Whoever receives Jesus and believes in His name, God gives the right to become children of God, (John 1:13). Our sin earns us death, but God’s gracious gift to us in Jesus Christ brings eternal life, (Romans 6:23) and abundant life in this life, (John 10:10). If we repent of our sin, and confess that Jesus is our Lord and believe in His death and resurrection, the Bible says, we’ll be saved, (Romans 10:9).
I believe that Scripture is the inspired word of God. It is the inerrant in the original languages. His word infallible rule of Christian faith and practice. Because of this I can confidently say that the Bible is the final authority for what I believe, in how I live, and the way I serve, (2 Timothy 3:16-17).