The Washington Post’s Susan Svrluga posted a statement from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability about their ongoing examination of Faith Christian Church.
ECFA evaluates and accredits ministry organizations, including churches, only with regard to their compliance with our Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. Occasionally we are presented with complaints or accusations about a member organization and while we do not automatically dismiss such concerns, the scope of our investigative authority and purview is, according to our bylaws, necessarily limited to issues directly related to these seven standards. With regard to Faith Christian Church, we are working to ascertain if, in fact, any complaint expressed from former church members falls within the scope of our seven standards.
As I reported recently, ECFA executive vice president John C. Van Drunen has interviewed at least one former member of Faith Christian Church and expressed an intention to interview those who signed a letter of concern to the ECFA. Given what I have heard from former members, it seems inconceivable that the ECFA would find Faith Christian Church in compliance.
For instance, the first standard of responsible stewardship ends with this statement:
Summary. A member’s commitment to the evangelical Christian faith is the cornerstone of ECFA membership. The word “evangelical” connotes more than mere subscription to a doctrinal statement. It includes commitment to an ethical and moral lifestyle that seeks to conform to a biblical norm. It is the lifestyle envisioned in ECFA’s own statement of faith: “We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live agodly life” (emphasis added).
Both Christians and secular society often do not distinguish between financial and non-financial issues. A moral scandal would be just as devastating as a financial scandal to the credibility of the organization.
Faith Christian Church has been accused of encouraging the abuse of infants. Multiple remorseful parents and witnesses have come forward with public statements to this effect. If the ECFA is not investigating this aspect of the situation, then they are not adhering to the spirit of this guideline. There is no universe where the child rearing practices described by former members should be tolerated in an ECFA member church.
In the eyes of many Mars Hill Church former members, the ECFA’s reputation was tarnished by their lack of transparency surrounding financial and leadership issues at the former mega-church. How the ECFA handles this situation will be a major test of their credibility.