Our next year’s EFCA Theology Conference, January 22-24, 2014, will address the theme “Christian Faithfulness in a Changing Culture”. It will be hosted by Christ Community Church in Leawood, KS.
We live in a postmodern, post-Christian day, which we have known for some time. For most this statement has been made intellectually. With the moral and cultural sea-changes, and the speed with which they are happening, parallel with a moral tsunami, many are for the first time beginning to feel and experience palpably some of the implications of what we have for many years only known abstractly or experienced vicariously.
These shifts require a different way of thinking, engaging, and speaking, without compromising the Word of God or Christian faithfulness.
We hope to include various topics addressed from a biblical, theological, historical and pastoral perspective:
- Church History: we are today more like the early church than we have been since the days Constantine made Christianity legal in 313.
- Church: what it means for the church to be missional, in the sense that its primary nature is missional, by virtue of its very being (1 Pet. 2:9-10).
- Bible: there are significant questions pertaining to the inerrancy of the Bible, and to hermeneutics, both critical issues for us who affirm the ultimate authority of the Word of God.
- Kingdom: this is a significant debate with numerous questions about what the kingdom means and how it is ushered in and its relation to the church, and how Christians ought to engage in culture and what Christians can expect of culture, among many other related matters.
- Culture: though Christian fumes remain, and though we were never a Christian nation, we were a nation that was strongly influenced by Christian principles, but that has and continues to change drastically and rapidly, and the “intolerance of tolerance” is one of the key marks of this culture. During these changes, the twin temptations are to move in an accommodationist (liberal) or a separatist direction.
- Contextual Theology: this is driving a lot of theologizing that is being done today, which often results in the culture being the lens through which the biblical text is interpreted rather than the other way around, which leads to biblical revisionism and liberal theology.
- Religious Freedom: this is narrowing more and more, and the focus is on freedom of worship and freedom from religion, not freedom of religion, and this has profound implications on Christians living in the world but not being of the world.
- Persecution: Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, and though it includes death in some Islamic countries, it also refers to other kinds and forms of persecution. But rather than engage in a victim mentality, which Evangelicals are prone to do, we must know that this is the precise manner and context in which the gospel transforms, seasons with salt, illumines with light, etc.
In sum, we need to figure out how to live the Christian life with faithfulness in a post-Christian day.
I have considered doing a pre-conference on Trinitarian Theology. This is an important issue for Evangelicals to know and understand, as there are many changes taking place in Trinitarian theology, and not all are good!