Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
The EFCA Board of Ministerial Standing (BOMS) has been tasked by the Conference (the delegates at the bi-annual EFCA business meeting) to uphold the mandates of credentialing as determined by the Conference. The EFCA Statement of Faith (SOF) is foundational for churches to affirm in order to become associated with the EFCA, and the SOF is also foundational to affirm for all those credentialed in the EFCA.
One of the expectations is that all who are credentialed will initially affirm belief in the SOF “without mental reservation.” In order to remain accountable, every person credentialed in the EFCA is also required to reaffirm the SOF “without mental reservation” every five years. Some have asked what this expression means, especially as it relates to premillennialism (Article 9).
BOMS discussed this question and wrote the response below. As you read this, it is important to remember that BOMS has been tasked by the Conference to uphold the decisions made by the Conference, not make new decisions or to make concessions to the Conferences decisions. For BOMS, upholding this is a matter of integrity.
BOMS Definition: "Without Mental Reservation"
The EFCA credentialing document spells out the role of BOMS in carrying out the Conference decision on credentialing. Under “Requirements for Ministerial Credentials,” it states that all “Must subscribe without mental reservation to the Statement of Faith of the EFCA and agree to reaffirm that conviction every five years” (p. 2). Furthermore, BOMS ultimately defines what “without mental reservation” means as noted in our credentialing requirements, “All definitions of language or interpretation of individual cases shall be solely delegated to BOMS” (p. 2).
“Without Mental Reservation”
The bottom line issue is the necessity of affirming without mental reservation our Statement of Faith in toto. Upon being granted a credential, and then every five years thereafter, the question is asked, “Do you subscribe to and affirm without mental reservation each article of the EFCA Statement of Faith?” The expression “without mental reservation” means that it is your personal conviction. It means you can affirm in good conscience, and without some unexpressed or expressed qualification, that you believe this statement to be true. It means you can affirm the statement without fudging, hedging or equivocation.
This article was updated in 2019 following changes to our Statement of Faith.