The FEC elders commonly field questions over “permissible beliefs and practices”. Our response depends on whether FEC understands a belief or practice to be foundational to being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Historically, in Christianity, there has been a pragmatic need to divide beliefs and practices into categories of importance. In FEC, we continue developing “The Hills of FEC” as a practical guide to organize beliefs/practices into 4 categories – Hills We Die On (what makes us Christians), Hills We Stand On (what makes us FEC), Hills We Dialogue On (where we vary significantly), and Mole Hills (where we have complete freedom). This article will very briefly outline the Hills We Die On and then introduce the Hills We Stand On. Next month’s article will provide examples of the latter and then describe the final two categories.
The Hills We Die On are considered non-negotiable beliefs because they are the foundation of what it means to be a servant of Jesus Christ. They begin with the exclusive authority of the Scriptures in revealing doctrinal and moral precepts to us – they are complete, inerrant, sufficient, and trustworthy.
The Scriptures reveal God as Trinity – one divine nature in three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. They teach the supremacy and exclusivity of Christ – His divinity and humanity, His sinless life and atoning death, His bodily resurrection and ascension, His redemption of and provision for believers, and His future physical return and reign.
Finally, they reveal that none are seeking God. Apart from Christ, all are lost and can do nothing to merit salvation. Yet in Christ, believers are saved from themselves and set apart to be sanctified for service to God.
The Hills We Stand On are the beliefs that bind us together as a group of like-minded churches. This is the category where questions most often exist. Our intent is to hold firmly to specific beliefs yet allow local churches freedom in expressing how these beliefs are to be taught or expressed.
– Mark Biehl, FEC Elder Board Chairman