Evangelical Free Church of America

The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) is an association of autonomous evangelical Christian congregations.

The Swedish Evangelical Free Church and the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Free Church Association merged in June of 1950 to form the Evangelical Free Church of America. The merger conference took place at the Medicine Lake Conference Grounds near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The two bodies represented 275 local congregations at the time of the merger.

The Swedish group formed as the Swedish Evangelical Free Mission in Boone, Iowa in October of 1884. Several churches that had been members of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Ansgar Synod and the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Mission Synod, along with some independent congregations, were instrumental in organizing this voluntary fellowship. Also in 1884 two Norwegian-Danish groups, in Boston, Massachusetts and Tacoma, Washington, began to fellowship together. By 1912 they had formed Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Free Church Association.

The Evangelical Free Church of America claims six distinctives: that it "is inclusive not exclusive...evangelical but not separatistic...ecumenical in spirit though not in structure...believes in liberty with responsibility and accountability...believes in both the rational and relational dimensions of Christianity...and...affirms the right of each local church to govern its own affairs." The church is Trinitarian in theology, moderately Calvinistic in soteriology, congregational in ecclesiology & polity, and premillennial in eschatology. The church holds two ordinances, water baptism and the Lord's supper. They summarize their doctrinal position in a twelve-article statement of faith (available on the church web site).

The EFCA structure is divided into 21 districts. The President, the National Leadership Team, and the Board of Directors provide denominational leadership. The Evangelical Free Church of America in 2000 had 1,365 autonomous member congregations, with an individual membership of 145,190. The church maintains headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and engages in ministries in education, publications, camps, senior housing, childrens' homes, and camp facilities. The EFCA operates the Trinity International University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, Trinity Law School in Santa Ana, California, and Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia.

Radio teacher/preacher Chuck Swindoll is a member of this church. He is also president of Dallas Theological Seminary.

The EFCA shares some early ties with those who formed the Swedish Evangelical Covenant Church.

External links

References

  • Encyclopedia of American Religions, J. Gordon Melton, editor
  • Handbook of Denominations in the United States, by Frank S. Mead, Samuel S. Hill, and Craig D. Atwood
  • Religious Congregations & Membership in the United States (2000), Glenmary Research Center

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