Evangelical Free Church of America Turning Amillenial?

WayOfLife.org reports:

“EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH CONSIDERS DROPPING PREMILLENIAL BELIEF – The Free Church in America (EFCA) is considering dropping its Premillennial statement of faith. The EFCA Board of Directors accepted the second draft of the revised statement on October 19, 2006, and if approved at the next Board meeting it will go to the Convention for a final vote in February 2007. The current statement says: “We believe in the personal and premillennial and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and that this ‘Blessed Hope’ has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.” The revision would remove the words “premillennial and imminent” as well as the statement that this blessed hope has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer. Even if the revised statement is not approved by the denomination, the very fact that it has been proposed and twice approved by its board of directors is evidence of a growing rejection of Premillennial theology. The EFCA has 1,278 churches. It is enlightening that the proposed new EFCA statement of faith removes both the imminency of Christ’s return and the thought that Christ’s coming has a vital bearing on the believer’s life and service. We are convinced that the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ is not only Scriptural but it is also the only position on Bible prophecy that produces a vital bearing on Christian living. Thus, giving up Premillenialism has huge ramifications. It will be interesting to see if the current spread of Reformed theology among Baptists will result in the growth of amillennialism.”

Darrell Bock, Research Professor of New Testament Studies and Professor of Spiritual Development and Culture (CCL) at Dallas Seminary recently met with the EFCA ministers along with Elliott Johnson (Trad Dispensationalism), Douglas Moo (Historical Premillennialism), Greg Beale (Inaugurated Millennialism, also often associated with amillennialism) to discuss eschatology and the EFCA’s consideration of changing their doctrinal statement to include amillennialism (Bock represented Progressive Dispensationalism).

An interesting “future” awaits us as many are turning to a more reformed/amillenial view…

For those interested in all things “amillenial,” check out Kim Riddlebarger’s excellent blog “The Riddleblog“, a blog devoted to amillenial eschatology, as well as his book “A Case For Amillenialism.”

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13 comments

  1. I’m so happy that the EV Free church is, Lord willing, going to allow non-premillennialists to be members and ministers of its churches!

    Limiting the church to premillennialism would have excluded men like John Wesley, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and most evangelicals from the 17th and 18th centuries from its churches.

    The greatest need today is for the church to be Christ-centered in emphasis, and it would be a shame to exclude someone who has the resolve to proclaim Christ crucified, buried, and risen for our forgiveness because of a difference of opinion on the millennium.

    God bless all within the EV Free.

  2. I recently spoke with the Church Planting coordinator for the EV Free over Colorado/Wyoming and he told me that I would have to sign a doctrinal statement which included a statement adhering to premillenialism. That was as of three weeks ago tomorrow.

  3. Might I suggest a prophetic significance to what appears to be a growing departure from a natural, historical, literal interpretation of biblical texts dealing with end-times & the Church. Such IMO portends an eventual departure from support for & hope in the literal restoration of Israel (the Jews, Romans 9-11). And this too, the abandonment of Israel seems plausable from America, a nation mentioned nowhere in the apocolyptic texts of the Word.

    We’re also reminded how God’s grace abounds towards those who endear Israel, the ‘Apple of God’s Eye’… Genesis 12:3a “…I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse…” Sobering times we live in.

    A shift towards Amillenialism is a drift towards a loss of the fullness of God’s blessings, and a drift away from sound hermeneutical principles that has served the EFCA so well…

  4. I wholeheartedly concur with the following:

    Limiting the church to premillennialism would have excluded men like John Wesley, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and most evangelicals from the 17th and 18th centuries from its churches.

    The greatest need today is for the church to be Christ-centered in emphasis, and it would be a shame to exclude someone who has the resolve to proclaim Christ crucified, buried, and risen for our forgiveness because of a difference of opinion on the millennium.

    God bless all within the EV Free.

    I disagree with the following because it makes no sense:
    A shift towards Amillennialism is a drift towards a loss of the fullness of God’s blessings, and a drift away from sound hermeneutical principles that has served the EFCA so well…
    Premillennialism–especially of the dispensationalist form–makes Israel, not Christ, the hermeneutical lens for interpreting scripture…and this is just plain WRONG HEADED. Scripture needs to be christocentrically interpreted, not Israel-centrically interpreted. There are not two plans for salvation: one for Israel and one for the Gentiles. Christ died once, for all, to unite all in him, so that, as Gal. says, there is neither Jew, nor Gentile…etc. in Christ Jesus. Millennialism divides. Christ unites. Millennialism–especially the dispensational form, speaks of one salvation for the Jews and another for the Gentiles. The bible knows only what Jesus claimed of himself: “I am the way the truth and the life and NO ONE comes unto the father but through/by ME.” That goes for both Jews and Gentiles.

  5. GOD FORBID the E.V. free church gets caught up in intellectualism instead of the WORD of GOD. The Christ centered emphasis mentioned below includes the humble admission that if we could comprehend God or His plans and ways He would not BE the “GREAT I AM” the “Alpha and Omega”. Christians are told in the Bible to greet one another with the words “Maranatha” and to realize that Jesus is coming soon – in fact at any minute. Every single prophecy that needs to take place prior to the rapture has been fulfilled. That is the next one. That is clear if you live on planet earth, and the fact is John Wesley, Martin Luther, and John Calvin are as dead and as relevant today as the centuries they lived in. While I respect their works, it is clear, in light of the knowledge God has revealed in these “last days” that we are living in, that they were wrong.

    God forbid the E.V. church walks backwards in a time that cries for Christians to move ahead!

    I wholeheartedly concur with comment number 3 and hope and pray that the E.V. Free church does not move away from the Biblically sound principles that Ed Soto’s comments are based upon.

    Sobering thoughts indeed. GOD FORBID the E.V. Free church ends up another Episcopalian or Presbyterian, ineffective and dead church by making this FATAL mistake, especially after an election which no doubt will move America further from supporting Israel.

    There is a reason, I believe America is not mentioned in the apocolyptic texts of the Word of God because her fate is in our hands. Our collective vote does not speak well of America’s destiny, and we need to return to Genesis now more than any time in history – the WORD is still true that God will indeed bless those who bless and curse those who curse the apple of HIS eye which is the nation and the people of Israel.

    GOD SAVE AMERICA AND THE E.V. Free Church from this truly frightening turn of her statement of faith.

    I am not sure if the church has already dropped one of the most important things it better keep or not, but if it has, as for me, and my house, then we will have nothing to do with this Church that is turning it’s back on the Sacred WORD of God, unless it will consider repenting of this sin of omission.

  6. Christ’s Return
    9. We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.

    copy of what is said in the statement of faith approved in the summer 2008

  7. Just so you know, EFCA did not drop premillennialism from its statement – though EFC Canada did.

    The issue and debate was a lot more complicated than most people who did not attend of the national conference would think. I would say, in fact, that the original proposal to drop premillennialism had significantly more to do with politics than it did with theology.

  8. I am so relieved to hear that they did not drop premillennialism from the doctrinal statement. It would be a most diatrous movement to make, and especially since the majority of people in the pews are unaware of these politics
    cerried on by their clergy. I pray that there may be a lond look taken before such a travesty could ever be raised up again. I am convinced that the seminaries need a house cleaning from those who would even teach such stuff. If you will print it, I would especially like to name Dr. Darrel Bock as one of these defectors, with his so-called progressive dispensationalism.

    A Watchman on the Wall,

    John E. Miller

  9. Why are people so insane about the SECOND COMING? You say insane things about really good christian people who hold a different perspective to the pre-millenial view. Christians have different views on all sorts of important topics… and are equally convinced that their views are supported by the weight of scripture. Wouldn’t it be nice to be gracious enough to admit that this is so without accusing each other of all sorts of heresy.

  10. The heart of the question was not whether the Bible teaches premillennialism. The heart of the question was whether we can be in fellowship with those who adhere to a different view on eschatology.

    Like the comment made earlier, should those like Luther, Calvin, John Owens, Jonathan Edwards, and R.C. Sproul be excluded from teaching because of their eschatology.

    Either way, the statement of faith remains premillennial.

  11. Great site. I appreciated the comments and discussion on the EFCA doctrinal statement discussion on the “imminent and premillenial” return of Christ. I believe in both. Sorry to see the dropping of “imminent” from the June 26, 2008 statement, but the words “demands constant expectancy” are biblical but fall short. The former (imminent) is a conviction whereas the latter is more an attitude.

    Glad to see they didn’t change the “fully God and fully man” section on Jesus Christ. He was and is one Person “with” two natures; i. e., the God-Man, the Word became flesh, Immanuel, God-with-us. But they did change the “with” to “in.” This “in” seems to contradict the hypostatic union (Council of Chalcedon, 451). Truly real but separate natures in one person.

    1. Lol; No way can you compare Christ’s “fully God and fully man” to doctrine on eschatology. Eschatology does not directly relate to the Gospel (besides of course Christ indeed coming back). Whether thats a premillenial view or amillenial or postmillenial does not directly affect the gospel. People should not be excluded from that. These differing views on eschatology does not make one a Christian or not. The other points in the EFCA statement do. I attend an EFCA church, and am in support of taking out the premillenial portion.

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