Our 2022 Theology Conference is quickly approaching. A short time ago I received an email from one planning to attend, who wrote, “Wow, great lineup, Greg! Thanks for your labors on this. PTL! (But ... how shall I choose? 🙂)”
If this comment does not encourage you to attend the Theology Conference, here are seven additional reasons to consider.
- Preconference: The preconference session on “The Bible and Bioethics: In But Not Of the World will be excellent. We will learn important truths in our three sessions: (1) “Biblical Ethics and Bioethics”, (2) “Taking Life and Making Life”, and (3) “Faking Life or AI and Robots and Cyborgs, Oh My!” These are some of the more challenging issues the people of God face, meaning these are some of the challenging issues we will encounter in our pastoral theology and care.
- Conference: Our theme is timely: “Our Citizenship Is In Heaven: Exiles Who Are In But Not Of the World.” Our topics are pertinent: “Part 1: The World: Explaining the World to the Faithful”; “Part 2: The Christian: In But Not Of”; and “Part 3: The Church: A Manifestation of the Gospel – A Hope-Filled, Eschatological Apologetic.” And our messages are grounded in biblical-theological truth and are important for the present-day: (1) “Doctrinal and Moral Defeater Beliefs: Understanding the Times and An Apologia for the Hope In Us”; (2) “The World-and-Life View of the World: The Modern Self”; (3) “The World-and-Life View of the Christian: The Power of Hope in the Subversive Gospel of the Cross”; (4) “‘You Shall Be Holy’: Disciples, Sanctification (Transformation) and Catechesis”; (5) “The Challenges of the Church: ‘Keep Yourselves from Idols’”; and (6) “The Church: ‘The Pillar and Foundation of Truth’”
- Breakouts: In our breakouts, we will take a deeper dive by addressing four critical issues Christians and churches are encountering today: (1) “A New Evangelicalism?: Deconstruction (Deconversion or Reconstruction) Progressive Evangelicalism, and Neo-Fundamentalism”; (2) “Confronting Injustice and Contemporary Critical Theory: A Biblically-Grounded and Gospel-Guided Response”; (3) “Can Christianity Teach Us Anything Unique About Racism?”; and (4) “Human Sexuality in a Postmodern and Increasingly Post-Christian Culture.”
- Speakers: The Lord is gracious to provide exceptional speakers for our conference, being the right experts, with the right content, with humble character, grounded in the Scriptures: Mark Dever, JT English, Collin Hansen, Mickey Klink, David Pao, Keith Plummer, Carl Trueman, Thaddeus Williams, George Yancey, and Christopher Yuan.
- Worship: This has become a huge blessing during our conference. As we often say, theology is expressed in doxology, and doxology is grounded in theology. We gather to learn theology and to engage in worship. We do this through praying, singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, professing/confessing the faith, reading Scripture, which are the activities of the gathered people of God. In these we find joy, delight, and encouragement, those Spirit-empowered responses in which God is also pleased.
- Fellowship: This is one of the aspects of the Christian life that have been missed during the pandemic. Certainly, relationships have continued through phone and virtual gatherings. And thankfully there are ways risks have been minimized, so physical gatherings are happening once again, though not in full. For us as a family of churches and a fellowship of pastors and leaders in the EFCA, this has been absent. We are grateful and encouraged to be together once again. This is one of the things that makes our EFCA gatherings relationally special – we share in the rich fellowship created by the Holy Spirit and fostered in our family of pastors, leaders, and churches in the EFCA.
- Edification: Not only do we learn and grow through our speakers, but we also do so through everything else that happens during the Theology Conference. Considering the increasing challenges most have experienced the past couple of years, it will also be encouraging to be edified through the personal presence and ministry of and to one another. This is a means God uses to strengthen us for the present and future ministry he has for us. We encourage one another to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
This will be an incredible Theology Conference. The Lord has provided far and above what we have asked or imagined. The theme, topics, and speakers are all exceptional. If you have wondered if you should, or if you are delaying registering for any reason, this is intended to encourage you to attend and invite others to join you.
For those of you leading or serving on national ministry teams, please invite the other members of your team to join you. For those of you on district staff or district ministry teams, please invite the other members of your team to join you. For those of you serving as pastors in local churches, invite other staff members and elders to attend with you. These are wonderful times to learn, worship, and fellowship together.
One final comment, which I trust they will not mind. (I will say this and then ask for their permission or forgiveness!) When I looked through the list of registrants to the Theology Conference, I was grateful for all of them, but two stood out to me: Greg Scharf and Joe Bubar. Why? They were my mentors as a young pastor. I did my internship with Greg (1989) and I served with Joe for five years as an associate pastor (1989-1994). They modeled to me faithful pastoral ministry and the commitment and benefit of attending EFCA conferences. They are retired, still engaging in ministry, and still learning and participating in EFCA conferences. I give thanks to the Lord for them, my lifelong mentors, and dear friends.
Please plan to join us at The Orchard, February 9-11. Come prepared to learn, to be challenged, to fellowship, to be edified, to worship, and to be encouraged in so many other ways. And do not plan to come alone. Invite someone to join you.
The Conference schedule can be found here. Registration details are found here. Online registration is closing at noon on Friday, February 4, so register now. On-site registration is available as well.
I look forward to being with you and many others from our EFCA family!
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