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Third Draft Revision of EFCA SOF, Pt. 6

March 28, 2007

God’s gospel is applied by the power of the Holy Spirit.
6. We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, baptizes them into union with Christ and adopts them into God’s family. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service

 

Commentary:

He regenerates sinners—

This phrase replaces “regenerate the believing sinner,” which appears to favor an Arminian position. The original framers wanted to create a statement that was consistent with both Arminian and Calvinist soteriology, but which required neither. That is the intention of this revised statement also, and it should not be understood to endorse either a Calvinist or an Arminian view. Again, at this point we are only discussing the Spirit’s work. In statement #7, “faith alone in Christ alone” is addressed (cf. Eph. 2:8-9).

In statement #10 we refer to the attendant human response (cf. Jn. 1:12-13). Both regeneration (the Spirit’s work) and faith (our response) are essential for salvation. We seek to emphasize both without giving logical priority to either.

baptizes them into union with Christ-

This is a return to that language of the first draft. We changed it because the translation of a key proof text, 1 Cor. 12:13, is uncertain—is it “by” one Spirit or “in” one Spirit (probably the latter)? But regardless of the exegesis of that one verse, this, in fact, is what the Spirit does in theological terms. The inclusion of this term here is helpful in that it denies the Classic Pentecostal teaching which insists upon a post-conversion baptism in the Spirit, which is accompanied and evidenced by speaking in tongues.

adopts 

This addition is an attempt to include the notion of adoption into our SOF. It has been moved from our current SOF concerning the work of Christ (#6, “become children of God”), and made explicit. It is a very important aspect of God’s saving work that we had not mentioned. It is placed here to emphasize that it is a consequence of our being in union with Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. In union with Jesus Christ the Son of God, we become sons—sons and daughters of God (cf. esp. Gal. 3:26,27; also Gal. 4:6,7; Rm. 8:15; Jn. 1:12).

illuminates 

We have replaced the current “instruct” with “illuminates.” This change reflects the conviction that the teaching of the Holy Spirit is chiefly through the illumination of our minds to understand the Scriptures. The Spirit who inspires the authors (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21) is also the Spirit who illumines the readers (Jn. 14:26; 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:6-16).

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