About Evangeliska FriKyrkan’s (EFK in Sweden) report on same-sex relations and membership in the free church.
Don’t close your eyes to the fact that the concept of membership in the free church is based on biblical theology.
In EFK’s (Evangelical Free Church) report on same-sex relationships, they give advice that is probably perceived as controversial by many in the Free Church, namely that people living in same-sex relationships should be welcomed as members of EFK congregations. They write: “In concrete terms, this means that our second piece of advice is that, regardless of whether you live in a same-sex relationship or not, you should be allowed to be a member of an EFK congregation. To all the brave who have shared their stories with us, we advise EFK’s congregations to say: “Welcome home.”
Even some people with a traditional view of same-sex relationships – such as Stefan Swärd – do not seem to attach much importance to this. He says it is “of secondary importance” . I think that is a mistake. It is true that different churches have different structures and thus different concepts of membership. In the State Church of Sweden (Svenska Kyrkan), a member does not have any great influence on the local congregation. Certainly, you have the right to vote in the church election, but you have no opportunity to choose who will become a bishop or a priest. The Church of Sweden has also cultivated the idea of a “peoples church”, which means that everyone in Sweden should feel at home in the Church of Sweden. It should be “the folks church”. Without demands on faith in Christ, repentance, full surrender to God and being a disciple – that is not required to be a member.
The Free Church was born largely as a reaction against this. The point of the Free Church was that its members really wanted to be – and saw themselves – as disciples of Jesus. It was the true believers who were in the Free Church, those who took God, Jesus and the Bible very seriously and who strove to live accordingly. It was also based on the Bible as a norm that the Free Church’s membership concept was formed. The Bible itself speaks of those who are inside and those who are outside. In 1 Corinthians 14:23, Paul speaks of the possibility that “uninitiated or unbelieving” can come to the service. This shows both that outsiders were actually welcome to Christian gatherings, but also that there was one inside and one outside. Continue reading “Same-sex relations & membership in the free church.”