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2nd Draft Revision of the EFCA SOF, Pt. 8

March 7, 2007

8. God’s gospel compels 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. God commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, acting with compassion toward the poor and needy, seeking justice for the oppressed. In fellowship with one another, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil, especially with the Word of God and prayer. In all that we do, we are to bear witness to the gospel in word and deed, making disciples among all people.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2007 9:15 am

    Again from the committee’s commentary:

    This statement has no parallel in our current statement, though it expands what is said at the conclusion of #4. We wanted to affirm that the gospel has power to change lives, and something of the nature of that transformed life should be included in our Statement of Faith. Paul, in his outline of the gospel in his letter to the Romans, reflects this same concern. Evangelicals, with their emphasis on justification by faith, have often been accused of neglecting this doctrine of sanctification and the responsibility to the world that it demands.

    God commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves—
    This is simply a restatement of the Great Commandment and its companion (Mk. 12:29-31). Just as Jesus “went around doing good” (Acts 10:38), so should we (Jn. 20:21), loving not just our friends (Gal. 6:9-10), but our enemies as well (Matt. 5:43-48).

    acting with compassion toward the poor and needy, seeking justice for the oppressed—
    These are strong biblical themes (cf., e.g., Deut. 15:11; Ps. 82:3,4; Prov. 14:31; 29:7; Isa. 1:17; Mic. 6:8; Lk. 16:19-31; Js. 1:22) that have too often received little emphasis in evangelical circles. This does not supplant or replace the gospel, but rather is an outworking of the true biblical gospel. This statement implies no particular political agenda. How we are to fulfill this biblical mandate must be worked out in fellowship with one another.

    In fellowship with one another—
    Our engagement in the world has a corporate as well as an individual dimension. The church is to act as well as the members in it. Our fellowship with one another in the body of Christ is one of our essential resources in the spiritual battle in which we are engaged.

    we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil, especially with the Word of God and prayer—
    The reality of the Christian’s battle against forces of evil, both within and without, is acknowledged here. This statement captures the struggle of the Christian life, as well as the powerful resources at our disposal.

    In all that we do, we are to bear witness to the gospel in word and deed, making disciples among all people—
    Here we affirm the missionary mandate as a priority and an integral part of the gospel. God’s gospel is for the world, and we have been given a commission to take it to everyone (Mt. 28:19). This statement makes explicit the proper concern of all Christians to seek to reach “all people”. Our witness to the gospel is to be verbal and non-verbal, for who we are and what we do is to reflect the message we bring. This missionary mandate includes the process of discipleship as well as evangelism.

  2. March 7, 2007 7:59 pm

    Glad to see the affirmation that they (justification & sanctification) are to be distinguished, but ultimately cannot be separated. We cannot have one w/out the other.

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