EFCA Statement of Faith, Article 4: What I Believe

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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.

 

God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to be Immanuel, “God with us” (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23; Jn. 3:16). In other words, Jesus took on human flesh and dwelt amongst men (Jn. 1:14; Phil. 2:6-7). The incarnation of Jesus displays that He is both fully God (Jn. 1:14; 8:58; Col. 2:9), and fully man (Rom. 1:3; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:7-8; Heb. 2:14). That is to say that Jesus Christ is one person with two natures, both human and divine. The incarnation of Jesus was the fulfillment of the promised Messiah to the nation of Israel—and ultimately all of mankind (Gen. 3:15; Is. 11:1-5; Jn. 4:25-26). As the Messiah, Jesus served as God’s anointed one to bring salvation to all who believe (Jn. 1:12-13; Acts 16:31).  jesus glass

The birth of Jesus Christ was miraculous in itself. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18, 20; Lk. 1:35), and born of a virgin (Is. 7:14; Lk. 1:35-38). This truth shows that Jesus was born not of the will of man, but of the will of God the Father. Moreover, Mary’s virgin birth to Jesus in Bethlehem fulfilled Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah (Is. 7:14; Mic. 5:2).

Jesus lived a perfect life. When faced with temptation, Jesus never gave in to the enticing offers of Satan (Matt. 4:1-11; Heb. 4:14-15). When faced with submitting to the Father’s will, Jesus was always obedient (Matt. 26:39; Jn. 5:30; 6: 38; Phil. 2:8). When faced with the fleeting pleasures of sin, Jesus remained steadfast and sinless (Jn. 8:29; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15). Jesus’ perfect obedience led Him to the cross where He satisfied the wrath of God against sin (Phil. 2:8; Heb. 12:2). Under the governance of Pontius Pilate, Jesus Christ was tortured, beaten, and ultimately murdered by crucifixion (Mk. 15:15; Jn. 19:1). Jesus’ suffering under Pontius Pilate gives weight to the historicity of Jesus Christ. However, Jesus’ death does not signify the end of His life.

The beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that He was resurrected from the dead (Matt. 28:6-7; Mk. 16:6; Lk. 24:6; 2 Tim. 2:8). In rising from the dead, Jesus conquered death and the power of sin (1 Cor. 15:19-28; 15:55-56; 2 Tim. 1:10). Jesus’ resurrection was physical and bodily (Lk. 24:39; Jn. 20:20, 27; 1 Jn. 1:1), disputing the notion that He only “appeared” to be raised from the dead. Furthermore, Jesus ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father (Lk. 24:51; Jn. 20:17). There, Jesus intercedes for believers before the Father (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24). In doing this, Jesus becomes both the High Priest that no man could be (Heb. 8:1-7), and an Advocate that brings grace and forgiveness to unworthy sinners (Jn. 1:17; Acts 2:38; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14).

EFCA Statement of Faith, Article 3: What I Believe

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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.

 

Scripture clarifies that all of creation is good, but that the creation of man prompted God to call creation very good (Gen. 1:31). Man is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27; Jam. 3:9). In other words, God created mankind in the likeness of Himself. Man images God in various ways such as exercising dominion (Gen. 1:28), being in relationships (Gen. 2:23-24), and making cognitive decisions (Gen. 4:7). However, mankind fell into sin through the rebellion of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-24). The sin of Adam not only earned him banishment from the Garden, but also served as the doorway of sin and death into the world, and ultimately, all of mankind (Rom. 5:12-14).  Thus, the original sin of Adam and Eve has led to various implications concerning the human condition.people condition

First, all humans throughout all time are sinful by nature and choice. Concerning man’s nature, all are sinful from the time of birth (Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:3). That is, the heart of man is totally depraved (Jer. 17:9). There is not one area in the life of man that is not some how affected by sin (Matt. 15:19; Rom. 1:18-24). Though people can be “upright citizens” apart from God, it remains that righteousness and perfection is unattainable by work or deed (Rom. 3:23; Eph. 2:8-9). Moreover, mankind consciously rebels against God and His created order (Rom. 1:18-23). Mankind willingly disobeys God and chooses the fleeting pleasures of sin over the joy found in God (1 Jn. 2:15-17).

Second, man’s inherent sinful nature and cognitive choice of sin leads to alienation from God. Sin drives a wedge between God and man and therefore produces alienation and estrangement (Eph. 4:18; Col. 1:21). In other words, man’s choice of hostility and evil deeds yields alienation from God (Eph. 2:1-2, 12; Col. 1:21). Moreover, sin also leads to God’s wrath, or severe anger. In other words, God’s purity and holiness necessitates that He hate and punish sin (Is. 13:11; Rom. 2:5). In the same way that sinful disobedience led to estrangement and punishment in the case of Adam, so too do all who follow in Adam’s footsteps receive the same end (Rom. 5:18).

In light of these truths, man’s situation is utterly hopeless before God as the Righteous Judge. However, God does leave mankind to fend for himself, but rather made a way for sinners to be justified before Him (Jn. 14:6; 1 Cor. 15:55-56). Man’s only hope to defeat the power of sin is the power of the cross of Jesus Christ (Col. 2:14-15). Only by grace through faith can any man be reconciled to God (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:22). Furthermore and finally, only through Jesus Christ can man experience the freedom over sin and death (Rom. 6:14, 8:2).

EFCA Statement of Faith, Article 2: What I Believe.

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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.

           

God communicates to people through His inspired word (2 Tim. 3:16-17). All 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are verbally inspired; that is, the entire Bible communicates the very words of God Himself (2 Pet. 1:21). The grand narrative of Scripture points to its author, Jesus (Jn. 5:39). Meaning, all of the Old Testament points to the coming of Christ (Lk. 24:27), and all of the New Testament refers back to Jesus (Heb. 1:1-2). Some passages of Scripture communicate the exact words of God, such as words spoken through a prophet (Is. 7:7; Jer. 2:2; Ez. 5:7; Amos 5:4). Other sections, however, were written by human authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21).   bible bible

Although the Bible was written by man, the original manuscripts are without error. In other words, Scripture does not contradict itself, because that would infer contradiction on God’s part (Num. 23:19). Any passages that seem to contradict other sections are the result of reader error.  Regardless of its author, all books of the Bible (read in tandem with the whole counsel of Scripture) are authoritative in what they teach and command (Ps. 119:9-16; Is. 28:13). Jesus quoted Scripture as if it were authoritative over Him (Matt. 4:1-11; 26:24; Lk. 24:46). Therefore, all of mankind is subject to the authority of God’s revealed Word (Ps. 119:21; Rom. 15:4).

The broad narrative of Scripture is sufficient in revealing God’s plan for the salvation of man (Lk. 24:27; Acts 8:34; 17:2; Rom. 10:17). Meaning, one does not need to seek other “sources” beyond the Bible to know or understand what God requires of man to be saved. Though Scripture is sufficient in revealing God’s will for salvation, man is still dependent on the Holy Spirit to understand the Scriptures correctly (Ps. 119:18; Lk. 24:45; Acts 16:14).

For the Church, the Scriptures serve as ultimate authority in the daily affairs of believers, and members are to subject themselves under the Bible’s teachings (Acts 17:11; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Pet. 3:14-19). The Church can trust the Bible’s authenticity based upon how Jesus himself spoke of the Scriptures (Matt. 4:1-11; Jn. 13:18; 17:12), and how the Bible’s authors speaks of their writings (2 Pet. 3:16). Trusting the Bible’s authenticity is not a matter of trusting in man, but rather in God’s faithfulness to preserve His Word (Ps. 33:11; Is. 46:10; Matt. 24: 35; 1 Pet. 1:25).