UPDATE – 5:02 PM – The first amendment failed on a close vote, and now a second amendment, relative to “Lordship Salvation”, has been offered. If the revision had read as the proposed amendment does, I could easily have supported it. That said, I think I’m voting against the amendment, as I did the first. But that said, both amendments were made and seconded by men from Faith EFC in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and I have enormous respect for the scholarship and concern for doctrinal orthodoxy evidenced by the proposal of these amendments. I daresay that if every EFC had leaders as doctrinally-savvy as the church there, we’d be a stronger movement…

UPDATE – 4:04 PM – The first proposed amendment to the revision deals with some wording regarding the ordinances. I’m willing to say that it’s more than semantic, but I’m not sure how much more…

UPDATE – 3:51 PM – After all sorts of votes and speeches and prayer (all good, of course), we’re now at the time when we’ll be considering the 4 amendments. President Bill Hamel did a nice job of setting the tone for the session, as has Moderator Ron Aucutt. Also, a special time of prayer, led by Quentin Stieff, prepared our hearts to conduct our business in a Christlike way. My prayer as well…

Original Post

It’s Wednesday afternoon, now, 1:52 local time, and after attending a worship session last evening, a seminar this morning, and the annual luncheon for the Ministerial Association, I await what promises to be a lively session ahead. What we’re doing next will be deliberating four proposed amendments to the revision of our Statement of Faith which, if not amended, will be presented for a vote tomorrow afternoon (and will need a 2/3 majority to pass). Three of the four amendments seem relatively non-controversial, although I’m sure there’ll be somebody who’ll object to every one of them for one reason or another. Apparently, our provisional rules say that if the EFCA Board of Directors deem an amendment to not fundamentally alter the substance of the proposed revision, we can still proceed to a vote tomorrow. About those three, I’m not sure; I’m guessing at least two of the four, maybe all three, will be deemed to be not of such substance as to warrant postponing our final vote until 2009.

The fourth amendment, though, would seek to strip the word “premillennial” from the proposed revision, and would definitely postpone final vote until 2009. The EFCA has historically been committed to belief that the return of Christ will take place prior to a real, actual, 1000-year millennial reign of Christ. I hold that belief, personally (I couldn’t be ordained in the EFCA if I didn’t). That said, I would be in favor of “broadening” our movement’s Statement of Faith in order to include amillennialists to the mix. I disagree with their understanding, but I don’t consider it to be heretical by any stretch of the imagination. But there is strong sentiment on this point, and I have no idea how the vote will go. If 50% + 1 vote to strip the “premil plank” from the proposed revision of the Statement of Faith (and the first and second drafts of the proposed revision stripped the “premil plank”), then voting will be pushed ’til next year. Final approval will take a 2/3 vote (did I say that above?).

In the third revision, which is what is being presented, the “premil plank” was put back in, mainly for the sake of unity in the movement, because there is a sizable element that is opposed to removing the plank. As I sit here and hear the business conference called to order, I still am not sure how I will vote on the proposed amendment to remove the premil plank…stay tuned…

2:05 PM – Moderator Ron Aucutt calls our attention to Deuteronomy 32, the fact that we’re not just “doing business”, but that we’re proclaiming the name of the Lord; this is about God, he says, and he’s right.

8 responses »

  1. Dave Carlson says:

    Hi, did anyone explain the first two ammendments? I read and did not see the significance.

  2. Byron says:

    Seems mainly semantic to me, but I’d assume that the makers of the amendments will, in a few moments, explain why they’re substantive. We’ll see…

  3. Jack Brooks says:

    I’m in the same meetings as Byron, and there’s more going on than just semantics. The first is driven by fear of sacramentalism. I recommended that the admentment be voted down, because the SoF already teaches justification by grace alone through faith alone (in another paragraph), and the ordinances material says explicitly that they don’t save, and that they only benefit the beliver through the believer’s faith. These teachings clealry make it non-sacramentalist. It failed by a moderate margin.

    The second admentment failed by a massive, overwhelming margin. I do not believe that Bill Kine, the spokesman making the case for the national board, understands the dispensational/free-grace/anti-Lordship Salvation subtext to the objections. But the main presenter, plus 1-2 following pro-amendment speakers, shot down their own amendment, by couching their opposition to it in terms of anti-Lordship Salvationism, and trying to raise fears about a sinister, encroaching Calvinism allegedly enveloping the EFCA. Then the primary motioner made his closing case by comparing the revised statement on Christian Life to Mein Kampf and the writings of Karl Marx!! You actually heard a loud, audible groan go up from the crowd, but the brother seemed deaf to it, or was undeterred for some reason. The amendment went crashing down in flames.

  4. Byron says:

    After listening further, I do agree that the issues are more than semantics. My post to that effect was written right after the introduction of the first amendment, and before any argumentation was presented. In short, I spoke too quickly. Jack is correct as to the underlying questions involved, I believe. For the record, I voted against both amendments. At the same time, had the wording of those amendments been in the original revision, I doubt that many eyebrows would have been raised, because while the underlying concerns came through in the argumentation, the statements themselves (the amendments, that is) were reasonably-worded. Bill Kynes, who spoke for the Board of Directors in opposing the second amendment, said as much.

  5. Dave Carlson says:

    Hey, I am glad you are doing this live blog as I had to miss this year. Do you have a sense of how many delegatews are present, and what the general sense of the group is? I think the premillenial discussion will be revealing.

  6. Hefe says:

    The Pre-mil thing is what would keep me from being able to come back and being ordained as an EFCA. I might rather be there, but it seems I would not welcome over that tertiary doctrine. Hey, I was ok with Byron being completely wrong about his millenialism! 😉 Share the love, man…

  7. Byron says:

    Dave,

    They gave the count but I missed it; I’m thinking we’re at around 800, but don’t quote me on it. Suffice it to say that there are more people here for the business conference than for any conference I can remember.

    And Hefe, that’s one key question, of course; will we hold onto premil, or open the tent wider? It’ll be interesting. The debate on the first two amendments took long enough that we couldn’t get into the premil amendment yesterday, but after the reports that are gtiven this morning, that will be the first order of business. It should be interesting…

  8. Dave Carlson says:

    My concern with millenialism is two fold. Previous accomodations to unity had to do with positions already in the church (views of baptism, communuion), whereas this introduces a new theological positont that has not been represented among us. So that is a difference in reasoning – between widening the tent and accepting that the tent is alreay wide. The other issue is that lots of churches are not that good at asking questions of pastoral candidates – and if this question is open some churches will be in for a big surprise then their pastor takes up the book of revelation from an amil position.

    my congregational leadership was very strong on keeping PRE M positon.

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