Pulse in Chinese

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Here is the most current edition of the Pulse in Chinese.

We invite you to peruse it — the English version has initiated one of the longest, deepest discussions we’ve had on this site.

Please be sure to share this with anyone who is interested…and who is literate in Chinese. :-)

Redeeming Authority (from the Leadership Journal)

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Author John Ortberg has written an article in the Leadership Journal about authentic authority. He starts by demonstrating that authority can be faked. But the more intriguing assertion he makes early in the article is this one:

Authentic spiritual authority is what puts you in touch with reality.

We encourage you to read the whole article by clicking here.

Top 10 Gains in the 10 Articles

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Three years ago, the EFCC adopted a new Ten Article Statement of Faith (SOF). After working with the old Twelve Article Statement of Faith for 58 years, it was understandable that some felt a sense of loss when we moved to the new SOF. However, after working with this new SOF for three years, I believe that we have a significantly strengthened document stating the doctrinal issues that are essential to the EFCC.

Here is my take on the Top Ten Gains in the Ten Article Statement of Faith:

1. Article One declares that our God has “limitless knowledge and sovereign power”.  This is a strong affirmation that stands in contrast to weaker views stressing the “openness of God”.

2. Article Two states that the Scriptures are “verbally inspired”, emphasizing that the very words that God uses in the Bible are important.  While we do not hold to “dictation theory” and believe that God used the words of human authors, we do believe that He supernaturally ensured that those words authoritatively communicate His will for salvation and are “the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavour should be judged.”

3. Article Three affirms that Adam and Eve and Satan are all literal beings and not simply mythological stories communicating…well, whatever we would like those stories to communicate!

4. Article Four reminds us that Jesus was “Israel’s Promised Messiah” and that He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.  This firmly affirms that Jesus lived and died, a Jew, in first century AD Palestine.

5. Article Five firmly embraces Jesus’ “atoning death” and victorious resurrection as the “only ground for salvation”, a strong challenge to those who wish to downplay or refute the doctrine of “substitutionary atonement”.

6. Article Seven teaches that the ordinances are “not means of salvation” but that they are worthwhile celebrating in genuine faith for they confirm and strengthen us in our faith.  Sometimes we are so “memorial only” when it comes to the ordinances, that we merely “tack them on” to the end of our worship services!

7. Article Eight is a new article that reminds us that orthodoxy and orthopraxy work hand in hand – our faith must lead us to carry out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.  Yes, “faith without works, is dead” and we are not our own, “we are bought with a price” and are slaves of the Master!

8. Article Nine states that only God knows when Jesus will return (and in light of some who insist on setting dates and embarrassing the rest of us when they are wrong, that is a good reminder!).

9. Article Ten declares that “God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ.”  This reinforces the crucial nature of repentance and of responding to the unique person of Jesus Christ.

10. The best improvement of all? The gospel headers!  By tying in our essential beliefs to the person of Jesus Christ and the good news, we speak in tandem with New Testament authors whose pithy, creedal summaries of essential doctrines were all gospel/Christocentric (check out I Corinthians 15:1-5; I Timothy 3:16; Acts 10:36-43 as examples). After all, Evangelical (gospel/good news) is in our name!

These are not all the strengths of the new SOF, these are improvements over the old SOF which was silent on these issues.  While our SOF is intentionally silent on many issues the EFCC has traditionally deemed to be non-essential (allowing Calvinists and Arminians, Charismatics and non-Charismatics, those immersed and those poured/sprinkled, etc. to serve and fellowship together), it is important for us to affirm in a fresh way what truths are essential to hold as members of the Free Church family.  I believe that the new SOF speaks to the doctrinal debates of our day in a stronger manner, while still helping us to maintain that charitable spirit on minor issues that has allowed us to serve alongside other evangelicals in Canada and around the world!

*PS  You can read the full versions of our Ten Article Statement of Faith or our EFCC Character and Calling!

*PPS  Stay tuned for the upcoming book that explicates our new Statement of Faith – it is entitled Gospel Truths and will be available very soon!!!!

5 Resources Your Church Needs to Know About

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We have prepared and present this list of resources especially for those of you who are considering or even beginning church planting. Of course, just about everything here would be useful to established churches as well, especially as we dream together of how established churches can take on their own planting initiatives.

If you have used any of these, please share your experiences in the comments below.

1. MailChimp
A great tool for creating e-mail lists. Their free package is highly generous (up to 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 individual e-mails per month). It is relatively easy to use, but is also very versatile, and it can create very attractive e-mail content: mailchimp.com

2. Outreach Canada
Lots of information about church planting and church growth in Canada: outreach.ca

3. Church Planting Canada
Is the web site for Church Planting Canada and its ministries, conferences and training opportunities: churchplantingcanada.ca

4. EFCA Start Churches
This is the church-planting site for the Evangelical Free Church of America — it contains some excellent resources for any church planter, especially a pre-interview assessment page: efcastartchurches.org

5. New Churches
A collection of resources spinning off of the book, Planting Missional Churches, this site contains an extensive base of church planting resources, tool and links compiled by Ed Stetzer, church planting leader and missiologist from Lifeway Christian Resources: newchurches.com

PulseTV — Medicare in China

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We’re privileged to have Gary as the guest for this episode of PulseTV. He’s serves with Medicare Resources Limited.

You can watch it online in the clip above, or you can download it from the following links:
PulseTV_Episode011.wmv — 26MB (for Windows PCs)
PulseTV_Episode011.mv4 — 43MB (for Macs)

Stay tuned for the next episode when we connect with Steve, Latin America Area Director.