I grew up in the EFCI denomination (Evangelical Friends Church International), which traditionally has held to a Wesleyan Holiness theology similar to the Nazarene Church denomination. I remember back in the day (circa 1975), various EFCI pastors and church leaders (at least in the Eastern Region/Ohio Yearly Meeting or EFC-ER) preached often about the Rapture/imminent return of Christ.
Thirty five years later, looking at today’s world events, it seems obvious to me that the Lord’s return is closer than ever. I recently came across the current motto of the EFCI, which I thought might reflect the soon return of Christ. Is their motto “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel of salvation to every creature”? No. Is their motto “Share the gospel of salvation with the world – Jesus is coming soon”? or “Get right with the Lord – you need to be ready for His return”? Nope, wrong again. I was shocked to find that, on the contrary, the EFCI seems to now be teaching that Christ won’t return for quite some time. Check out their “Strategic Vision.” Different Regions of the EFCI phrase it differently. The EFC-ER states it as follows:
“In joyful obedience to Jesus’ Great Commission–and in the spirit of His Great Commandment–our movement purposes to serve the church and the world in love, multiplying disciples and churches in the power of the Holy Spirit so that our children’s grandchildren and generations of the un-reached will be compelled to join.”
Evangelical Friends Church Southwest Region phrases this as follows (they may have a “long version” which I haven’t located yet):
“Fueling a worldwide church multiplication movement that our grandchildren’s grandchildren will be compelled to expand.”
See this link for the full EFC-SW position on church growth: http://www.friendschurchsw.org/ncd_qualities.html
This is the same teaching as the Emerging/Emergent Church movement, namely, grow churches as if Christ won’t return for many centuries to come. Apparently all Regions/Yearly Meetings of the EFCI are lining up more and more with the eschatology of Emerging/Emergent apostates such as Tony Campolo. Campolo condemned traditional evangelical eschatology, then summarized Emerging/Emergent Church eschatology as follows:
“[Dispensationalism] is a theology that – with its implicit threat of being left behind, of time running out – is used by Dispensational preachers to great evangelistic effect. It has been a very effective goad to conversion… To the contrary, the history of the world is infused with the presence of God, who is guiding the world toward becoming the kind of world God willed for it to be when it was created. Human history is going somewhere wonderful.”
The source for the above quote by Campolo is Ken Silva’s excellent critique of Emerging Church eschatology, entitled “The Emerging Church: Kingdom of God Here Now.” Click here for the complete text of his article.
In their emphasis on church growth and “a more perfect world”, the EFCI and like minded Emerging Church denominations have apparently forgotten the following warning from our Lord Jesus:
45) But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming [emphasis mine]; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46) The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.” (Luke 12:45-46, KJV)