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 2016 Theology Conference focuses on The Doctrine of the Church. In addition to understanding the biblical nature and purpose of the church, it is important that we discern the cultural and contextual issues of the day in which our pastors, leaders and churches need to think through and respond from a biblical, theological and pastoral perspective.
This year the focus will be on gender dysphoria: The Ministry of the Gospel and Gender Dysphoria. Although the numbers are small, the cultural push and implications have been huge. One of the recent figures I read was that 0.3 to 0.5 percent of the population identifies as transgender (acknowledging the challenge of compiling accurate statistics). One would certainly not know that through the media. Furthermore, those experiencing gender dysphoria or those in relationship with one experiencing gender dysphoria sense a far greater weight than that small percentage.
The title explains that what we do is rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Biblical truth and the gospel of Jesus Christ are the foundation of what we believe, the absolute and ultimate truth, what we affirm as sola Scriptura. This is also foundational for how we live, for God’s truth we affirm is also the means by which we grow in holiness and are conformed into the likeness of the Son. It is the only means through which we will truly flourish.
From this foundation, we will focus on ministry among those who identify as, struggle or suffer with or are affected by gender dysphoria. This also includes those who know or love someone who so identifies. Although our title addresses gender dysphoria, the phenomenon, our focus will be on the person who experiences gender dysphoria, which emphasizes the role of pastoral care and shepherding.
In the three sessions, we will focus on the following:
Dr. Mark Yarhouse is our speaker. He is a leading Evangelical voice addressing this issue.
As we engage in pastoral ministry of the gospel in the local church in the moral realms of human sexuality and gender dysphoria, we are an outpost of heaven. We reflect God’s eschatological people who offer the hope of the gospel in a context of love produced by the gospel which reflects the now of the kingdom. And we are often reminded through our pastoral care of our groaning, which reflects the not-yetness of the kingdom, as we await final redemption.
If you are unable to attend the entire conference, the Postconference is available for $50 – check made payable to EFCA or Credit Card, payable at the door.