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.
We encourage you to attend our EFCA Theology Conference. Why? Here are five—a handful of—reasons.
First, in the year of our Lord 2020, we want to ensure we retain 2020 biblical and theological vision. With the cultural changes and challenges, it is essential we remain tethered to the text of Scripture, the Word of God, and grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is one absolute authority, and it is the Word of God. This is the only way to ensure we retain 2020 biblical and theological vision. We remember the words of Isaiah, that we would be a people who are humble and contrite in spirit and tremble at his word (Isa 66:2).
Second, our Theology Conference builds on our recent Doctrinal Survey. The Survey revealed we in the EFCA remain thoroughly orthodox and evangelical in belief and practice. We give thanks to the Lord for this. The Survey also revealed we have a few outliers among us. Now is the time to affirm and reaffirm doctrinal truth, and it is also the time to address some of the outlier views in the EFCA, to prevent doctrinal creep.
Our focus and goal of the conference is to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). We will do so by focusing on seven critical contemporary doctrinal challenges. We have premier evangelical theologians joining us to address these doctrinal truths and challenges: Gregg Allison, Thabiti Anyabwile, Graham Cole, Don Carson, Jonathan Leeman, Harold Netland, Fred Sanders and Steve Wellum. With our topic and speakers, our Conference is second to none!
Third, one of our preconference sessions will address abuse in the church, focusing on a gospel-grounded and a godly-guided response. The numbers of abuse victims in the church are staggering. One is too many. Abuse betrays the gospel we affirm and proclaim. Abuse dishonors the Lord. Abuse destroys the well-being and dignity of the innocent victim. We believe our commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ and our desire to love God and love others (Matt 22:37-39) compel us to address through information and education.
Our concern to affirm and live out the gospel of Jesus Christ for and on behalf of the abused means we will learn how to love and care for them. Mike Sloan, GRACE Director of Safeguarding Certification, will be our instructor. The gospel compels us to address this, and we need to learn how to do so faithfully.
Fourth, the other preconference session will address women and ministry matters. It is foundational and fundamentally true to affirm women and ministry matter. Both women and ministry matter! It is also important to focus on and address women and ministry matters, that is, matters associated with and related to the questions of women and ministry.
Grounded in the Conference decision on ordination (1988) and the biblical and theological exposition of the position (2012), our focus in this preconference session is a family discussion about living this out pastorally and practically in the context of ministry, specifically ministry in the local church.
Finally, this is a unique time when we as an EFCA family join together to sing, worship, pray, learn, and fellowship with and learn from other EFCA pastors and ministry leaders. The topics we address and the speakers who join us make this one of the best theology conferences among evangelicals. And yet, it happens within the EFCA and with our EFCA pastors, ministers and leaders. We live, learn and serve as a family, the EFCA, among a larger family of evangelicals.
This is one of the important ways we live out the "one anothers" in the EFCA. It is also one of the ways we are edified and equipped biblically, theologically and pastorally to contend for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints, so that we can remain “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” being reassured “that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58).
This handful of reasons is why you should attend the 2020 Theology Conference. Plus, this handful results in a warm and welcoming handshake when you arrive. And please plan to join us as a staff. It is a wonderful time and place to learn together. As I often say, theology is best learned and lived in community. We look forward to greeting you when you arrive!
To learn more and register for the conference, visit the Theology Conference webpage. Early-bird registration closes on January 16, 2020.