Statement of Faith of the Free Evangelical Christian Church of Lucca
We believe that in being part of a church it is important to know what this church believes, in what ideas the church finds its identity. This confession of faith is the synthesis of what we have understood of God, of man, of existence, through the reading of Scripture, and the help of the Holy Spirit. This confession is not absolute and does not replace the Scriptures – the only absolute reference – but it’s helpful to express in a few lines what we consider essential. (rather: we have understood, because it is all fundamental)
1. About God.
We believe in God, the only creator of the universe and of the beings contained in it.
We believe that he is infinite, and that no one has created him, but at the same time he is a personal God with whom it is possible to communicate and establish a direct relationship.
We believe that He regulates and guides the world in which we live, that He is Almighty and knows everything that happens, and that is spiritually present everywhere. We also believe that he is love, holiness (holy) (there is no evil in him) and justice (just). We believe that it is that God who historically revealed himself to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and to all the people of Israel with the name of Yahweh, and who said to Moses: “I am who I am”, up to becoming incarnate in Jesus Christ.
(Gen.1: 1-2, Gen. 12, Exodus 3:14, Deut.6: 4, I Cor. 8: 5-6, Eph.4: 4-6).
1. Do you regularly spend a quiet time with God?
2. Do you feel his presence in your life?
3. Do you believe in the historicity of the characters mentioned above?
2. Jesus Christ
We believe that this God was incarnate in the man who actually lived 2000 years ago called Jesus of Nazareth, nicknamed the Christ, that is, the Messiah. We believe that Jesus is the Word made flesh, true God and true man, proceeded from the Father and made of his own substance. We believe in his incarnation through the birth of a virgin, Mary of Bethlehem, we believe on his teaching and the works he did on earth. We believe that on the cross Jesus (is physically dead) physically died, and that his death is the only means of expiation (atonement, redemption) for the sins of man; we believe that on the cross Jesus took upon himself a condemnation that was due to us (meant for us), making our forgiveness possible. We believe that after he died he rose again with a new body and ascended into heaven where, seated at the right hand of the Father, he stands as the only mediator between God and man (Luke 1: 31-33, John 1, I Cor. 15, Col.3: 4, I Tim.2: 5-6, Ebr.1: 1-6, 9:12, 10:10, I Pit.3: 18-22).
1. Is the divine nature of Christ clear to you?
2. Do you really believe in the substitute value of his death?
3. The Holy Spirit
We believe that God also manifests himself in the Holy Spirit, the person of God who works concretely in the hearts of men; we believe that the Holy Spirit speaks to the heart of every man trying to convince him of the Truth, and that when a man is converted the Spirit comes to dwell in him, producing in his life fruits of change and of clear belonging to Christ.
(John 16: 8-14, Acts 2, Rom.5: 5, 8: 9-16, I Cor.3: 16, II Cor.1: 21-22, Gal.4: 6, Ephesians.1: 13 -14).
1. Do you feel the presence of this spirit in your life?
4 The man and the woman.
We believe that man and woman have been created by God in his image and by Him endowed with personality and freedom in their unity of body and soul. We believe in their diversity and complementarity, as well as in their absolute equality and equal dignity before God. (Gen 1: 27, I Cor 14, Gal 3: 28). We believe that man and woman have been made to unite, although there are celibacy gifts, and we recognize in civil marriage the human institution which sanctions this union, whether administered by civil authorities or by ministers of worship who perform civil functions. We believe that marriage has been established by God between persons of different sexes (Genesis 2), and that it should not be dissolved except in exceptional cases. (Mt 5, Mt 19, I Cor 7)
1. Regardless of your past, are you ready to take this teaching for the present and for the future?
5. Evil and sin.
We believe that evil is something difficult to define. It was not wanted by God nor escaped its control, but it is not clear what its origin is. The Bible does not explain to us why evil exists in the world, but tells us that Adam and Eve chose it responsibly and voluntarily, preferring to believe the Devil’s lie, thus believing that something that was not God was more credible than God himself. Sin is therefore faith in falsehood and generates a guilt in the heart which is followed by a penalty. We believe that the punishment of this guilt is the breaking of every relationship with God, the moral, spiritual, mental and physical corruption of every man, the loss of his capacity to do good and the condemnation to physical and spiritual death. All of this is inherited by the successors of Adam, therefore we believe that every man, without distinction, is guilty before God for his nature and his actions, and that he is totally incapable of redeeming himself from this state and therefore subject to the right judgment of God (Gen. 3, 6, 9, Psalm 51, Job 6-12, Rom.3: 9-23, Ephesians 2: 3, James 1:13).
1. Do you recognize yourself as a sinner?
2. Do you really believe that no man is really good and needs salvation?
We believe that the reconciliation of man with God and his redemption from sin takes place on the initiative of God and solely through an act of grace done by God in Jesus Christ. This grace is received by men only by faith and without the contribution of good works which also represent a characteristic of every true Christian life. We believe that, under the action of the Spirit of God, man resuscitates spiritually, converts himself and receives the forgiveness of sins. Christ’s work thus produces regeneration in man, the justification and sanctification without which no one will see the Lord (Ps.51, John 3: 3, Rom.5: 1-9, Ephesians 2: 8, Jak. 2: 14-26, I John 3: 9).
1. Do you accept that your actions have no value for salvation?
2. Do you see in your life consequent good works that the Spirit produces?
3. Do you have a (wish) desire for sanctification, for a moral and spiritual life?
We believe that God has especially revealed himself to man through Scripture. Although written by men and characterized by elements of their culture, it is true Word of God, inspired by him and fully reliable in its original draft. It represents the only authority over men in matters of faith and behavior and is sufficient in itself to explain the message of salvation. We are convinced that every reading made by men is necessarily an interpretation, but we believe that the Scripture itself provides us with the keys that indicate how it should be interpreted. (Is. 8: 20, John 17: 17, I Thess. 2: 13, II Tim.3: 16-17, II Piet.1: 21).
1. Are you ready to submit your life to what the Bible teaches in the several fields of existence?
2. Do you accept our limits in reading it, and are ready to recognize that we interpret the Bible as best as we can, even if guided by the Holy Spirit?
8. The church
We believe in the universal Church, the People of God, bride and body of Christ, temple of the Holy Spirit, instituted by Christ and to whom every man redeemed by the grace of God belongs. This universal church is invisible and only God knows its members scattered on earth . Its concrete and local expression, on the other hand, is constituted by the community of believers in a given place who confess Christ as the only Savior and Lord and whose sole authority is constituted by the Holy Scriptures. Its purpose is to worship God, to promote love and communion among believers, to allow spiritual growth, to evangelize the world and to serve it (Ex. 6: 6-8, Deut.7: 6-8, Matt.16: 18, 8: 18-20, 28: 19-20, Acts 2: 38-41, Rom.12: 5, I Piety.2: 9-10).
1. Are you ready to be a member of a church, in order to grow and help others to grow?
9. The ministries
We believe that the Spirit of God awakens and grants to every local church, spiritual gifts whose exercise serves the common useful and which are expressed in service to the brothers and in submission to the Word of God. In particular, God establishes the ministries of elders, or bishops, or pastors and deacons whom the church is called to recognize according to the criteria of Scripture. (Acts 13 Rom.12: 4-21, I Cor.12, Ef.4: 1-16, Fil.1: 1, I Tim.3: 2-8, I Piet.4: 10).
1. Are you ready to accept the ministries recognized in your church despite their human limits, and to engage yourself to look for your gift in order to serve?
10. The sacraments
We believe that Christ instituted two signs of strong symbolic character: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They are not in themselves capable of determining anything in the individual, but they represent the visible signs of spiritual realities that occur in the intimacy of the persons, worked by the grace of God. Baptism by immersion is an act of witness, of faith. and commitment, and symbolizes the process of death to old life and resurrection to new life. We believe that it should be administered to adults and aware of the act they are doing.
The Lord’s supper, celebrated with bread and wine, is based on communion with Christ and expresses the memory of his death, the unity of those who participate in it, obedience to the commandments and the hope of those who confess Christ as Lord and Saviour. and waiting for his return. We believe that they must be practiced in the ways and at the times prescribed by Scripture. (Mark 14, 22-ss., Acts 8:38, 9:18, Rom.6: 1-6, I Cor.10: 16-17, 11: 26-29, Col.2: 12, I Piet. 3: 18-21).
1. Are you ready to publicly manifest your faith through baptism?
2. Are you read to take the bread and the wine as symbols of Jesus’ body broken for us and blood poured for us?
11. The last things
We believe in the personal return of Jesus Christ according to His promise at the moment established by God and unknown to men. We believe in the resurrection of all the dead in view of the final judgment that God will operate according to his sovereign and perfect justice and which will bring believers to eternal happiness and unbelievers to eternal punishment (Matt.24: 42-44, 25: 31-32 , Acts 17:31, I Thess. 4: 13-18, II Thess. 1: 19, II Piet.3: 10-13). We distrust attempts to identify people, numbers, human artifacts, epochs, nations or other entities, achievements of precise prophecies of recent times, as well as the literal interpretations of book of Scripture belonging to the apocalyptic genre. Without denying the value and the truth we believe they must be read with great caution and with the awareness that the fundamental message they contain is that of the final and complete victory of Christ over evil.