I’d like to start off the year with basics. This is a series on The Evangelical Free Church and one of the reasons that I want to share with my readers is that this is one Evangelical denomination that has outreach to Denver and the Front Range and all over the country. I will be highlighting a lot of their Theology in the coming days as well as getting my readers tangible ways to read, listen and view the Biblical, The Systematic and the Evangelical lifestyle. Happy New Year!
The Evangelical Free Church of America is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions:
God: Theology Proper
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.
Creator and Creation
The importance of God’s creation in our belief system is the backbone and the foundation of the Bible. If we believe that God created everything as stated in Genesis 1 and that he is always perfect and that in that creation he created the universe, the world and everything in it for his purpose, and he gives the humanity that he created a purpose and responsibility and says that this humanity was created in his image, then these words tell me that God’s purpose and plan are for the human race to be called as a special people that are “redeemed for Himself,” and for his purpose. This is important to me in communicating to others that he made his people to be creative, moral, possessing the ability to reason, and to be in relationship with God. Genesis 1 describes all creation and its purpose, every element has a role in sustaining life and that is established with every day in the creation story.
There are three ways to interpret Genesis 1. The first is the Biblical and understanding God’s motive and mindset for creating the world and universe. Reading Genesis 1 we do not have a motive. Why did God go through all the trouble to create this complex system we know as the universe and why does it matter? It does and it doesn’t matter what God’s motive is, just as it doesn’t matter what His motive for loving us enough to send Jesus Christ, his son that he would die for our sinful nature and yet both Genesis and the Synoptic Gospels are related to each other in that mystery of faith. Why does God care about our lives, about our salvation and why does He continue to love us? That answer is hard and not something that we can put our finger on. There is though a feeling of being in relationship with a child or a spouse and through the kind of love that may not be deserved there is redemption. An all knowing god understands human nature, he understands rejection, and he understands relationship.
A parent can understand the kind of love that gets hurt, but still loves. A spouse understands the kind of love that stays in a marriage even after another betrayal. God being all knowing and omnipresent is not surprised by what will happen with the men and women he creates, so his motive must be love. To galvanize that statement we go to John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, and whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
If you are looking for God’s motive in creating the world and people, you have to find the motive in John 3:16 and 17. If God didn’t love us he would not have put Jesus through this. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” My point of this interpretation and cross-reference is that it is important for us to find the motive, the will and the creation of God in not only Genesis 1 but to understand that without God’s established motive and mindset as well as His purpose it might seem that an all knowing and omnipresent God might just assume to destroy it all and start again. But instead the verdict is read “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19) Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:20-21).
As I write about the Biblical motive of God we have to read the Gospel of John to understand the consistent motive and mindset that God has for not only sending His son to save us, but also in the story of God the Creator. The reason why it is important to interpret the Bible in context and continuously is establishing God’s motive! The joy of finding that His motive is the “love” that He has for us, like a parent’s love is the most creative part of the creation story in my interpretation. What is also striking are the words that John uses “light, the word, spoken, and breathed” throughout the Bible to describe creativity and the creator. My method of interpretation is from two books that I studied in college Grasping God’s Word and Preaching God’s Word. (Hays, 2005).
I cite this work because I believe it speaks to the systematic approach to Theology and Homiletically interpretation and application. This is the Bridge method of finding out what it meant when it was written and told to the people (in this case it was the telling of the Pentateuch and gaining Historical context of the Israel People during the time of Moses, and then interpretation of what it means to us in our times. Here establishing God’s motive in the Biblical context in their time, and our time is important to understand that God established His word to be spoken and for all of us to seek the light. His motive for that is that he loves the world and the people he created and he wants us to come to the light! Systematically there is the example to follow as established by the life and work of Jesus Christ. Thirdly the concept and relationship with the Holy Spirit is our love for God’s people that He would give us power to tell the message of love of Jesus Christ, and God’s creative process realized in our lives. That’s Evangelical Theology and as we review the Nicene and Apostles Creed and exposit on God’s motive of love, following the approach of Jesus Christ and filling of the Holy Spirit we can begin to minister, lead and communicate God’s creative process into the lives of a people who need Him.