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.
Our EFCA 2015 Theology Conference focuses on the theme of The Doctrine of the Scriptures. Some may wonder why it is important to focus on this issue in the EFCA, since we affirm that the Scriptures are “the verbally inspired Word of God” and “is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged.” This is what we believe.
Even though this doctrine is strongly affirmed and may not be a front-burner issue for some in the EFCA, it is imperative that every generation must reaffirm belief in its authority, authority which is being questioned and undermined today. The EFCA is no exception. Furthermore, it is important for us to affirm it in belief and live under its authority in practice.
In this Conference, we will address the doctrine of the Scriptures to inform why it is important and equip them to uphold these truths in today’s culture. If one is not reading and aware of the ways in which the doctrine of Scripture is being questioned or undermined, we as pastors will not be able to equip God’s people to defend the faith once they leave our churches. Once those who have been under the ministry of the Word leave where we serve, especially young people, they will experience these sorts of questions and issues. Often it is not the direct attacks against the Scriptures that will lead to questions and concerns, those like the hard-core atheists like Richard Dawkins and others, but those who undermine through asking questions and making certain claims and accusations against the Scriptures. This is a ploy used by many today. And the best Evangelical answer is not simply a repetition of the older response of a generation ago, but a response based on the present-day questions.
Questions such as the following: How do we think about Genesis, the creation of the universe and the historicity of Adam and Eve? Is it even possible to be a committed Evangelical who affirms the inerrancy and authority of the Bible and believe in the historicity of the creation and Adam and Eve? Do we affirm that the Scriptures are inspired, inerrant and authoritative in matters of faith and practice alone, or do we also include history and science? How do we understand the human genome project? Does BioLogos have the definitive interpretation? Can an Evangelical who believes in the inerrancy of the Scriptures legitimately pursue science? Is it one or the other? What do the Scriptures honestly say about homosexuality? Is it really an OT matter and not a NT matter, which is guided by Jesus’ love ethic alone? Are the Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) documents the definitive grid by which to interpret the Scriptures? Is God a “moral monster” with his command to commit genocide? Are these differences explained as accommodation, and if so, whose definition is used, Socinius or the Reformers?
This means we ought to define what inerrancy means. It means we ought to explain hermeneutics. It is imperative that we equip young Evangelicals with these vital doctrinal truths. And it is important to highlight that this is the position of the church throughout history. It is not a 19th century Princetonian, Warfield-Hodge invention. They were merely affirming the position of the church in their day.
Plan to join us for this important Conference as we address this vital theme: The Doctrine of the Scriptures.