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.
I am grateful and encouraged by what the Lord did at and through our Theology Conference: The Gospel, Compassion and Justice, and the EFCA.
God provided to us the right speakers who were committed to the Scriptures and the gospel and who addressed the important issues and did so with the right spirit. The Spirit is always present as God’s people gather. This time the Spirit’s ministry was also evident. God was also gracious in guiding us to include the right topics to address, and in the order they were addressed. Each message built on the other and the whole was much greater than the parts.
The key now is to continue to pray for God to guide and lead us so that we can “continue to bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt. 3:8). What does this mean individually, what does it mean as pastors and leaders of churches? What does it mean for our churches?
As we remain committed to the Scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and as God guides and leads, may we be sensitive and obedient to the Scriptures and manifest in greater ways the reality of the newness and nowness of the kingdom. God not only commands us to live out the reality of the kingdom, he also compels or empowers us to do so. This is the new community created by God (Eph. 2:14-16). And though we do not create this community, once we are in this community through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we make every effort to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:1-3).
Based on comments I received from others, the Lord used our time together significantly in the lives of many. Please pray with me as there is a weightiness to steward this moment and these next days well.
One other important matter to mention is that the recordings from the Theology Conference are now being posted on the EFCA Theology Podcast. Here is the brief explanation of the initial, introductory post, which consists of the Introduction:
Earlier this year, our 2018 EFCA Theology Conference theme explored The Gospel, Compassion and Justice and the EFCA. Recent events in our nation and world have made it clear it is both timely and necessary to address the topics of racial reconciliation and immigration. The gospel is being undermined and tarnished by the lack of reconciliation among believers and the lack of concern for the immigrant. Join with fellow EFCA pastors and leaders in listening and learning from the speakers at our 2018 conference as they address this theme from biblical, theological, historical and pastoral perspectives.
Once all the messages have been posted on the Theology Podcast, I will link all of the messages on the blog. In addition, I will include the bibliographies provided by the speakers, and I will also include questions we prepared for each of the speakers to address after their lectures. Because of the eager engagement and participation of participants, we did not get these questions.
I encourage you to consider listening to these messages and then engage with another about what you learned, or questions that were raised. Or, listen to them with another, or as a staff, and then discuss them together. God has much to teach us, and there is much to learn and live out.