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.
In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School is sponsoring an international conference devoted to the Reformation and the Ministry of the Word on its campus on September 14-15.
The Reformation was a dynamic renewal movement unleashed by God’s powerful Word that changed the face of western Christianity. The conference will explore the Bible’s transformative impact on the theology and ministry practice of Protestant churches then and now.
Speakers include Timothy George, Kevin DeYoung, Michael Horton, David Dockery, Jung-Sook Lee, David Luy, Scott Manetsch, and Michael Haykin.
All are welcome and warmly invited. For more information and registration, please see here.
As we inform you of this excellent conference at TEDS, it also provides another opportunity to remind you of our EFCA Theology Conference earlier this year in which we also focused on the 500th anniversary of the posting of Luther’s 95 theses: Reformation 500: Theology and Legacy – God’s Gospel and the EFCA. All of the recordings of messages and other resources are located on the website.
I encourage you to consider using these resources in order to learn about and to prepare for the celebration of the Reformation. One option is to listen to them and learn. Another option is to listen to the messages with others and then share and discuss what you learned or what was challenging to you. This would also be a great resource for an elder study this fall.
The heart of the Reformation, Protestantism, Evangelicalism, and the EFCA is found in Theses 1 and 62:
Thesis 1: When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.
Thesis 62: The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is foundational to everything. And the first manifestation of the gospel in one’s life is repentance and humility.
John Sowers: “You recently commented on how extreme right wing groups (KKK, etc.) should be condemned as anti-Christian, and I agree strongly. What do you have to say about Antifa people and groups like BLM?”
Greg Strand: “Thank you for your comment, John. In brief, all sin must be addressed. All racism is sin. Wherever racism exists it ought to be addressed, since for believers the gospel destroys racism, making it inconsistent to affirm the Lord Jesus Christ and embrace racism. This truth of the gospel must be applied in one’s own heart, the KKK, the neo-Nazi, Antifa, BLM, etc. The gospel does away with racism. The challenge today for many is the “bandwagoning” of sin. What I mean by that is that anything the culture considers “sin” or “sinful,” it is quite easy (and convenient) to jump on the bandwagon and denounce whatever it is that is being denounced. And what makes this even more difficult and challenging is that often what is being condemned as a “cultural sin” is not considered a sin or sinful from God’s perspective, and often those condemning the cultural sin are engaging in sin and sinful speech and behavior in the process. The challenge for many Evangelicals is that we have bought into the notion of acceptable or respectable sins. These are sins that are overlooked or excused or given a pass. I will often refer to the challenge and temptation of distinguishing between “window” sins and “mirror” sins. The window sins are those we see and address in others. The mirror sins are those we see and address and repent of in our own lives. Both are necessary, yet true repentance begins personally. So, all sin, as determined and defined by God in his Word, is sin and ought to be addressed and repented of. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the time is always right to repent of one’s own sin. As a pastor (and member) of the church, the time is always right to address sin in the life of the church and call people corporately to repent. As a faithful believer living in but not of the world, the time is always right to be aware of and to address sins in the culture, but it is more challenging to discern if and when those sins ought to be addressed publicly. How do you process these important matters?”
Joel Preston: “Just loved the Theology conference this year, but can’t make this one. Will it be broadcast?”
Greg Strand: “We will record the messages and provide all other resources associated with the Conference on our EFCA website after the Conference. At this point we are not planning to live-stream the Conference. I am encouraged and grateful to hear you were able to attend the Conference this past year, and that you found it helpful.”