Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Pound Cake of "Evangelical Convictions"

I just finished reading the new book that explains the 2008 Statement of Faith of our EFCA family of churches.

It's called Evangelical Convictions and is a team-written project from the EFCA Board of Directors and the EFCA Spiritual Heritage Committee, especially Bill Kynes and Greg Strand.

Here's my one sentence review:

Evangelical Convictions is a pound cake.

The book is a very dense systematic treatment of 10 major Christian doctrines.  It is full of scripture references, theological reflection of each phrase in the statement, explanations of historical theology and the development of Free Church teaching, the drawing of clear boundary lines (affirmations and denials), and much more (including a very helpful appended explanation of how congregationalism functions in the EFCA--great to see that in print).  It is the first place I will go to show anyone what we believe.

And it's written in a winsome, humble, warm and yet courageous prose.

It won't be easy for everyone to read. Evangelical Convictions is not full of folksy stories and anecdotes (though there are good illustrations made to explain various points).  It is dense, but like a pound cake--thick, rich, and theologically sweet.

Evangelical Convictions is encouraging to me, not just because I agree with everything in it (even the various "balances" struck throughout seem judicious and well put).  But also because it points to some theological health in the EFCA.

When the leaders of the EFCA engaged our whole family of churches in a process of revising our statement of faith, I was ultimately encouraged.  There were some rocky spots in the process, of course, but the leaders handled the whole thing with strong integrity, humility and courageousness.

I was really pleased to be a part of a family of churches that (among other things) valued doctrine enough to spend a lot of time on it, to improve what was already good, to include as many as could be included without compromising the gospel, and to move from theology to doxology.

Now, there is a book that captures it all.

I chewed on wonderful resource for over a month, reading it in snatches.  

That's just the way to enjoy a theological pound cake.