What is the EFCA’s position on the miraculous gifts (generally including tongues, healing, prophecy, and miracles)?
Although the EFCA does not have an official policy on miraculous gifts, we do have a boundary stated in our Statement of Faith and a position rooted in our ethos.
We believe that regeneration/conversion (Tit. 3:5) and Spirit-baptism (1 Cor. 12:13) occur simultaneously when one by grace through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9) becomes a Christian. This is affirmed in our Statement of Faith, article 6, where “regeneration of sinners” is the time at which they “are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God.” We do not believe that a post-conversion baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues is required to live a full life. Other than this theological conviction, the EFCA is on a continuum from cessationist to continuationist, on this side of classic Pentecostalism.
We know that the Christian life, including the beginning, middle and end, is impossible apart from the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9; Galatians 3:2-3). Therefore, we are committed to “live by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25a), to be “led by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:18), to “walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25b), and to “be being filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18 – a present continuous command).
Here is what this means practically:
1. On this issue the EFCA does not have an official policy.
2. The EFCA allows a parameter of belief and expression, but wherever one falls on that continuum that person/church is anchored in the inspired, inerrant, authoritative and sufficient Scripture.
- Some churches within the EFCA are cessationists, i.e. they believe the miraculous gifts have ceased. They were signs to authenticate the message/messenger, but once the canon was completed they were no longer necessary.
- Other churches within the EFCA are continuationists, i.e. they believe the miraculous gifts continue to operate in that they were a mark of the presence of the kingdom of God – in the person of Jesus Christ the King – and they are an ongoing mark today of the presence of the kingdom.
3. No churches within the EFCA are classic Pentecostal, i.e. they believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit which happens after conversion and is evidenced by speaking in tongues.
Application – Within the parameters stated above, belief and expression are determined by and dependent on the local EFC church.