CONFESSION OF FAITH OF THE ALLIANCE OF EVANGELICAL-FREECHURCH CONGREGATIONS
CONCERNING GOD AND HIS REVELATION
We believe in God, the one Lord in heaven and on earth, who as the Creator of all things visible and invisible has created us in His image and who as the governor of the world rules our life according to His counsel and will.
We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who died for us all on the Cross and rose from the grave, in order that He might save us from sin and death and bestow upon us a new life through the Spirit.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the bearer and mediator of divine life. God does indeed witness to men in the creation and in conscience, but God's Word is given to us in order that we, illuminated by God's Spirit, may know and receive salvation in Christ.
Holy Scripture is therefore to us a true witness of divine revelation and the norm for faith and conduct.
CONCERNING GOD'S CREATURE
We believe that all men come from God and must appear again before God. For God as the Creator is both origin and goal of every creature. He shapes for us the body, the soul, and the spirit, that we may be like Him.
Our natural life, therefore, is subject to the laws of God. And we fulfill our divine destiny only to the extent that we walk in God's orders and honor the Creator in the creature. We do, for this reason, affirm human culture as far as it corresponds to God?s will.
We believe that mankind since the fall of the first man stands under the judgment of God and has become the prey of death. Separated from God and His life, we are dead in our sins and fulfill the will of the flesh. Therefore our conscience condemns us and judges us to be guilty before God. And we remain under the verdict of God's condemnation, if we do not participate in Christ's redemption and if we are not saved.
We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the redeemer of the whole world. What was impossible for human kind in its alienation from God, that God did in His love through the sinless man Jesus Christ; He sent Him to the earth, in order that he Should die for us a sacrificial death on Calvary and bring to us as the Risen One of the Easter morning the victory of imperishable life.
Therefore man is not justified before God through his own merits, but through faith in the living Christ who forgives us our sins, receives us into His living fellowship and who will lead the anxious creature into the freedom of the children of God.
CONCERNING REGENERATION AND SANCTIFICATION
We believe that God wills that all men be saved. Therefote He commands that every man repent. He who submits to God's judgment and acknowledges the salvation that is in Christ, comes to the assurance that all his sins are forgiven him and is being born again to newness of life out of God. This deep transformation in the will and innermost being of the believer is a work of the Holy Spirit and signifies the beginning of the second, the new creation of God.
We furthermore believe that all who are born of the Spirit and who are sanctified in the Spirit, are in need of daily sanctification The gift of the new life must issue in the walk in the Spirit, and faith must be followed by the deed. Only thus are we being changed into the image of Christ by continuous growth through God's Spirit and under God?s Word.
CONCERNING THE CHURCH AS GOD'S CREATION AND ORDER
We believe that Christ is the invisible head of His body, the Church. All who receive the new life from God He makes members of His body, in order that they grow with one another and for one another, each according to his vocation in the one body. The Church of the Lord, therefore, belongs to the new creation of God and this Church is not already in being where Gods Word is proclaimed and heard but only there where men press on to newness of life and find their way to the fellowship of the children of God.
We believe that the totality of all the redeemed belong to the body of Christ. Saved and called by the one Lord, we are not merely to confess the unity of the children of God with our mouths, but realize it in fact in order that the one Christ in the Church may be made manifest to the world and that the gathering power of the Spirit may be revealed in us. We believe that the Lord of the Church has also given definite orders for our cooperative fellowship. We are convinced that the inward vitality of the individual is indispensable and his personal responsibility toward God is inviol- able. But at the same time we are convinced that according to apostolic order the member is to fit into the body, that is, that the individual is to bow under the fellowship. This order is also valid for the individual congregation as a member of the fellowship. But in order that the edification of the Church become possible, Christ has ordained beyond the cooperation of the individual member evangelists, pastors, teachers, preachers, elders and deacons for special ministries of the Church. They act as the Spirit of God leads them and as the order of the Church allows. We believe that the Church is constrained to deny fellowship to those who persist in sin or who continue in turning away from the Lord, but to grant fellowship to those who repent.
We believe that the baptism which Christ has ordained should be given to those who have come to believe in the Lord Jesus and who desire in obedience towards Him to witness to their faith before many witnesses. According to primitive Christian example the baptismal candidate is buried in the watery grave of baptism, be- cause he is being baptized into the death of Christ. Then he is raised again because he will have a full share in Christs resurrection. Baptism, therefore, is a gracious pledge of God to the believer that because he has thus died with the Crucified unto sin, he is also permitted to walk with the Risen One in newness of life. In baptism we pledge ourselves to the Lord and confess our faith in Him. Hence, the testing in our conduct cannot be absent from our lives. And we baptize publicly before the congregation, because it takes notice both of our conduct and our confession.
CONCERNING THE LORD'S SUPPER
We believe that the Lord Jesus has left to His Church the Lord's Supper as a sacred heritage in order that we celebrate it again and again, remembering the Crucified and have fellowship with Him who for our salvation gave His body and who called the Church into the new covenant in His blood. We furthermore believe that the fellowship of the body of Christ is particularly represented when we eat of the one bread and the one cup. Therefore only those may partake of the table of the Lord who attest in faith and conduct that they have received the forgiveness of their sins and have been baptized in the one Spirit and into the one body.
CONCERNING THE NATURAL ORDERS
We believe that God with His creation has also given us certain natural orders which we must fulfill in obedience to His Word. We believe that it was the gracious will of the Creator to give us a day of rest and that we should follow the example of the apostolic churches by celebrating the first day of the week on which our Lord rose from the dead as the day of the Lord in order that we might cultivate fellowship under God's Word and work for the Kingdom of God. We furthermore believe that marriage has been ordained of God so that man and wife may fulfill the will of the Creator in bodily and spiritual fellowship by bringing forth children and helping each other in the struggles of life. We consider monogamous marriage to be a divine order. According to God's Word the adulterer has no part in the Kingdom of God. We believe that the family and people are natural orders of God which we are not only to accept but which we are to shape according to God's intentions and in whose interest we ought to labor in order that the man of God be healthy in body and soul and fit for every good work. We believe that the state is divinely ordered and that we must serve it with all seriousness. For service to our people is also service before God. We pray for the magistracy that they may justly use the power entrusted to it for the protection of law and the punish- ment of evildoers. We also swear allegiance to the state, engage in war service, since the magistrate according to God's Word, does not bear the sword in vain. Our faith does not keep us from occupying civil office.
CONCERNING THE CONSUMMATION OF THE WORLD
We believe that our Lord Christ will fulfill His Word and that He will return on the day of revelation in order that He might complete the work of world redemption and to help mankind to achieve the promised goal. The Lord of the Church will gather the host of the redeemed about Him in order that they might share in His glory and power. Those who have fallen asleep in Christ will rise with a transformed body. Those who belong to the Lord and are still alive at His coming, will be transformed and moved into His presence. But the world moves towards the judgment. The dead will rise again and will appear before the judge at the right hand of God. The just will enter into eternal life, the unjust will be damned. Even Satan will be condemned, and death will be done away. All trouble and sorrow of earth will end. At last a new heaven and a new earth will crown the work of the new creation. Righteousness and peace will rule in all eternity. For God will be all and in all.
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