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.
How is premillennialism understood in the EFCA?
The EFCA affirms the premillennial view of Christ's return (cf. Article 9, Christ’s Return). In affirming premillennialism, we affirm the breadth of the premillennial view including Dispensationalism, Progressive Dispensationalism and Historic Premillennialism.
The specific answer to this question is found in Evangelical Convictions: A Theological Exposition of the Statement of Faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America (pp.221-222). Here is what it means minimally to affirm premillennialism, along with a statement of what our affirmation does not mean.
In summary, our affirmation of the premillennial return of Christ in this Statement entails the following:
1. The kingdom of God will not reach its culmination and fulfillment on earth before Jesus Christ comes in glory.
2. God's purposes include the public vindication of Christ. He will be seen to be the King of kings and Lord of lords by all, and he will establish his reign on this earth.
3. God’s people will be vindicated with Christ in a public and visible way.
4. The coming of Christ will not simply usher in some spiritual heaven divorced from this created order. In an intermediate stage, Jesus must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet, before he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, ushering in the new heaven and the new earth in the eternal state.
5. Evil will not be overcome fully and completely when Christ returns in glory, but only after an intermediate kingdom which must precede that final victory of God. There will be one more uprising of the evil one at the end of the millennium, before the dawning of the new heaven and the new earth.
Further, we can also say what this Statement affirming premillennialism does not mean:
1. It does not require a specific position on when Christ will come in relation to a time of great tribulation.
2. It does not require a certain way of reading the Bible regarding the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament, whether that fulfillment is found in the nation of Israel, in Christ, in the church, in the millennium or in the new heaven and the new earth.
3. It does not entail a particular understanding of Israel and the church or of the current nation-state of Israel.
4. It does not necessarily mean that Christ's earthly reign must be a period of precisely one thousand years.