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 2017 Theology Conference will be held February1-3 on the campus of Trinity International University. In the introduction to the conference, we will focus on the EFCA’s roots in the Reformation and the Reformation’s legacy in the EFCA.
We are excited for this Theology Conference, as it will be excellent. Not only are we addressing the Reformation, a timely and important theme in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of Luther posting the 95 Theses, but we have some of the foremost scholars addressing the various themes/topics of the Conference.
Stephen J. Wellum, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, will give the opening lecture to our Theology Conference. Rather than focusing on all the solas, which would be appropriate and which many Reformation anniversary conferences are doing, we are focusing on the sola that is central to all the solas and gives the others unity and significance: solus Christus.
Solus Christus as Central to the Reformation Solas
Reformation doctrine, over against the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching, became identified by five solas – sola gratia (by grace alone), sola fidei (by faith alone), solus Christus (through Christ alone), sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone), soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone). All of these solas are important, interrelated and interdependent. They are an organic whole. Although all important, central to these solas, that which unites all of them, is solus Christus, Christ alone. Consider the following: Grace (sola gratia) is based upon the person and work of Christ. Faith (sola fidei) is in Christ and his completed work. The Scripture (sola Scriptura) finds its center in Christ who is the fulfillment of all the Scriptures. Solus Christus emphasizes both the exclusive identity of Christ and the sufficiency of his work. In sum, Christ is the subject matter of the Scriptures, he is central to the gospel, and he is the heart of all of theology. This means Christ alone connects “all the doctrines of our theology because Christ alone stands as the cornerstone of all the purposes and plans of God himself.” All of this redounds to God’s glory (soli Deo Gloria). In this lecture we will consider the centrality of Christ to the gospel, the Scriptures and theology, along with the practical implications for life and ministry.
Steve’s two most recent books address the topic of this lecture:
God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ (Foundations of Evangelical Theology) (Wheaton: Crossway, 2016);
Christ Alone – The Uniqueness of Jesus as Savior: What the Reformers Taught . . . and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series) (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, forthcoming).
Steve and I attended TEDS together. He also served as a pastor in the EFCA, and was ordained in the EFCA while serving in this role, before moving into teaching theology in the seminary to prepare students for ministry. Although his primary calling is to teach theology in the academy, he is grounded in the church and he teaches within and for the church. This will be Steve’s first time to be with us as a speaker at our Theology Conference. He is a gifted theologian, and I am eager to for us to learn from him.