Evangelical Free

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by CF1, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. CF1

    CF1
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rather than looking for a debate, I'm just looking for an education on the distincitves of the Evangelical Free church.

    It appears the main difference between them and the Baptists are:

    a. their historical roots were formerly Swedish Lutheran background, so they had to deal with many people leaving Lutheranism and becoming baptised by imersion.
    b. they developed a pattern to be sympathetic to people with families who were still Lutheran, and wanted the Lutheran ways to be respected or at least not openly confronted
    c. membership was allowed to those who were not baptized by immersion, as long as they had been once baptized as an infant
    d. current practice is almost always now to baptize by immersion, but there is a clause that allows a particular pastor to baptize infants
    e. they agreed to be "silent" about particulars on baptism to avoid offending visiting relatives or newcomers who were currently or formerly from the Lutheran church

    They seem to fill a role in evangelicals by helping former Lutherans and Catholics join evangelicals, by "respecting" the desires of these people to not be reminded of the errors of the Catholic and Lutheran churches. Hence they have a practice of being silent from the pulpit about the correct way to be baptized.

    Do others agree that this is a fair representation of their distinctives and/or know of other distinctives?
     
  2. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,169
    Likes Received:
    0
  3. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,968
    Likes Received:
    128
    I'm of Swedish decent and attended an Evangelical Free Church once in a while as a new Christian back in the early 70's
    (Curiously I attended a nearby Evangelical Covenant Church [in Northbrook IL] regularly but the theology must not have rubbed off on me).

    You've given a fair generalization.

    Rob
     
    #3 Deacon, Mar 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2010
  4. CF1

    CF1
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is an excerpt from their statement of faith:

    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.

    They are "silent" to the type of baptism (immersion, infant, or sprinkling). Is this silence intentional or an oversight?
     
  5. CF1

    CF1
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    I found a quote that might indicate the silence is intentional.

    http://adamtalbott.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/efca-statement-of-faith-revision/

    " Arnold T. Olson (our first President) wrote an important book called “The Significance of Silence.” This book explains why the EFCA is “silent” on four issues:

    Baptism: What is the appropriate age and mode of baptism (sprinkling or emersion)?

    Communion: What is the extent of the presence of Christ in the elements of the Lord’s Table? Who may serve the Lord’s Table (ordained or non-ordained)? Who may take Communion (children or only adults)? When/where can we celebrate the Lord’s Table? (The original Free Church members were persecuted in Europe for meeting outside the authority of State churches.)

    Eternal security – Can a person lose his faith?

    The timing of the Tribulation – Will Jesus rapture His people before, during or after the Tribulation?

    The EFCA allows a wide range of belief in these four main issues and many others. "

    I'm not sure that there is Biblical support for "silence" which conceals, rather than exposes.
     
    #5 CF1, Mar 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2010
  6. Eric B

    Eric B
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2001
    Messages:
    4,806
    Likes Received:
    2
    I attended Evangelical Free churches for years, and was married in one of them. In practice, the services and preaching do seem pretty much to be the same as Baptists.
    I did notice, they were a bit softer on the baptism question, like my pastor once suggested that Luther saw baptism as being sort of the successor to circumcision.
     
  7. Jerome

    Jerome
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,603
    Likes Received:
    44
    Religious Bodies, 1936:
    Pocket Dictionary of North American Denominations:
     
  8. Jerome

    Jerome
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,603
    Likes Received:
    44
    Christianity Today 7-14-2008 "It's Not Broke, So Fix It: New EFCA Statement of Faith":
    The rank and file saints of the church also beat back an an ill-conceived attempt to purge the Bible's premillennial teaching from their statement of faith:applause:
     
  9. CF1

    CF1
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    Continuing from this same website:

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/julyweb-only/129-11.0.html?start=2


    "The ordinances became a matter of indifference," Strand said. "That's a weakness. And that's what we attempted to redress in article seven in our new statement of faith." The 2008 statement says the ordinances "confirm and nourish the believer." David Neff, editor in chief of Christianity Today media group, observes the new tone of the document, which also states the ordinances "visibly and tangibly express the gospel."

    What does it mean to: "confirm and nourish the believer."
    What does it mean to : "visibly and tangibly express the gospel."

    What are the hidden inferences in these statements?

    Does the language "tangibly express" infer that baptism might bring salvation, if you want to believe that way?

    Are they again being sympathetic to the Lutheran roots to support people to go on believing that they can be saved through baptism?
     
    #9 CF1, Mar 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2010
  10. FriendofSpurgeon

    FriendofSpurgeon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Messages:
    3,052
    Likes Received:
    35

    Here is the whole quote in context from the EFCA Statement of Faith:

    "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."

    There are no hidden messages. In fact, the SoF clearly states that Baptism and the Lord's Supper are not the means of salvation. Also, the EFC refers to them as ordinances, not sacraments -- which would be more in line with Lutherans.

    Yes, both baptism and the Lord's Supper visibly and tangibly express the Gospel. To me, this is rather obvious. Also the way they may see this is is that baptism confirms the believer and the Lord's Supper nourishes the believer. From the apostle John, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him."
     
  11. CF1

    CF1
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for the posts above. They have been very helpful.

    If the Evangelical Free Church states

    "Though they are not the means of salvation..."

    Then why do they go on permitting infant baptism when desired by someone?

    It seems they have a conflict they have not resolved, and they go on with this conflicting doctrine without addressing it.
     
  12. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've heard of Free Evangelical church before (don't recall where though) is that the samething? I read the link, didn't sound very biblcal to me.
     
  13. Jerome

    Jerome
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,603
    Likes Received:
    44
    Yes, they are related.

    North Park News
     
  14. nodak

    nodak
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    15
    Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Chuck Swindoll was a long time EVFree pastor.

    I've worked with them in the northern plains and found them agreeable to various forms of church, but solidly "baptist" when it came to what counts--salvation. Also found them much like the SBC prior to 1979.
     
  15. dcorbett

    dcorbett
    Expand Collapse
    Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Messages:
    3,411
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yes, they are solid on salvation. My son attends the local Evangelical Free church. His wife was saved and converted from mormonism in that church, but I have yet to see or hear of a baptism of any kind. My son was was saved and then baptized as his first step of obedience in my Baptist church before my retired Pastor railed on mormons and ran my daughter-in-law off. I keep praying that now that she is saved, she will come back.

    They have a praise band and sing praise songs there. It is very casual.
    Not my kind of worship, but they are scripturally correct.....saved by grace! They have open communion, and we don't. Those are the differences I can think of right off hand.
     
  16. Jerome

    Jerome
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,603
    Likes Received:
    44
    Bill Kynes, (Pastor of Cornerstone EFC, Annandale, VA), in the Summer 2005 issue of the The Ministerial Forum (Evangelical Free Church
    Ministerial Association) "Baptism and the EFCA":
    In the same newsletter, EFCA President Bill Hamel admits:
    http://www.efca.org/files/document/pastoral-care/Ministerial_Forum_9-05.pdf

    Apparently one can be a member of an EF church without ever having had either a real baptism or an infant pseudo-baptism?
     
  17. nodak

    nodak
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    15
    I believe they would answer that as NO. You see, REAL baptism doesn't happen with water. It happens at salvation--baptism of the Holy Spirit. Water baptism is an outward sign of that inward occurence.

    So like many, they do not consider someone who has not undergone a human administered rite unbaptized.
     
  18. Jerome

    Jerome
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,603
    Likes Received:
    44
    Wow. Except they didn't quibble about such a distinction:

    No nitpicking water/Spirit caveats there.


    Yes, there are a few other churches that have accepted as members those who have not been [water] baptized: Quakers, Salvation Army, and Hyperdispensationalists.
     
  19. thomas15

    thomas15
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,456
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm a Baptist from a GARBC local church. I have a very good relationship with an EFCA church. They are in my opinion very baptist in just about every respect however they are less ridgid when it comes to enforcement. The local EFC here would not accept a non baptised by immersion member canidate or a person baptised as a infant.

    They also are not as ridgid when it comes to membership in the local church. It is possible that a non-member can have a role in ministries, obviously though a non-member isn't going to be made a deacon or elder or be allowed to vote on business matters. This is an area of conflict for me as I appreciate the fact that there is much less pressure to join (and conform) but it also creates an environment that could be thought of as not caring if a person is a member or not. After all, we do want to be members and in a sense considered acceptable to those around us.

    In my opinion, most conservative, fundamental, evangelical baptists would be comfortable in an Evangelical Free Church setting. If however, you are an IFB Baptist, you may consider them to be somewhat liberal. Many EFC pastors were trained in Baptist Seminaries or approved Baptist schools. The EFC supported seminary is Trinity what has a diverse alumni. The several EFC local organizations near here are dispensational and the one I know well is pastored by a graduate of Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit PA. They are a little more accepting of parachurch groups and other conservative evangelical churches than my GARBC church.

    In case you are wondering, I'm seriously considering joining a EFCA church. This is a matter of much conflict for me. If I do, I will of course have to quit this forum, I'm not big presence here but I have to say it.
     
    #19 thomas15, Mar 31, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2010
  20. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thomas, you don't have to quit the forum if you switch to EFCA. Just simply declare your change, edit your profile and post in the non-Baptist forums. No need to run off.
     

Share This Page

Loading...