In less than two weeks, on Feb 5-7, hundreds of EFCA pastors and leaders will gather together at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, for the 2020 EFCA Theology Conference. The main focus of the conference, "Contending for the Faith—7 Critical Contemporary Doctrinal Challenges: A Biblical, Theological and Pastoral Response," follows up on our 2018 Doctrinal Survey to address seven doctrinal challenges for the purpose of retaining biblical and theological fidelity.
Before we begin the main sessions of the conference, however, we will address another important topic in our Theology Preconference: "Women and Ministry Matters."
Women and ministry matter
It is foundational and foundationally true to affirm women and ministry matter. Both women and ministry matter! It is also important to focus on and discuss women and ministry matters, that is, matters associated with and related to the practices of women and ministry. This will be the focus of our session.
Women and ministry matters
We affirm women, we affirm women for ministries, and we affirm ministries for women.
We are focusing on matters associated with and related to the questions and practices of women and ministry. This is a family discussion, with no outside speakers. Our 2012 Theology Conference discussion, “Understanding the Complementarian Position,” focused primarily on the biblical and theological exposition of our Conference decision regarding ordination (1988). Our focus in this Preconference session is a family discussion about living out the view practically in the context of a local church.
As stated in numerous comments in our Doctrinal Survey, many acknowledged the need to have a discussion, to have some guidance of how practically to apply and live out the complementarian position. While affirming the foundational principle of this position, there are numerous questions raised and various ways it is applied in local churches, without compromising convictions.
Our family discussion
In our family discussion, it is important to remember these three matters:
- First, we acknowledge and recognize there is strong agreement on the principle, yet there are differences of opinion among our pastors and in our churches regarding application and implementation.
- Second, we are committed to help pastors, ministers and leaders to think through what the issues are and the pathways there might be to engage women in ministry faithfully and fruitfully.
- Third, we affirm women, we affirm women for ministries, and we affirm ministries for women; and in this context, we seek to expand and broaden what can and should be encouraged and fostered in ministry. This includes leadership and teaching roles, without compromising convictions, on the one hand, and without unnecessarily limiting expressions of ministry, on the other.
As we engage in discussion, we will reflect love for God and love for others (Matt 22:37-39). In fact, we will do this as we “give preference to one another," “honor one another above yourselves,” and “outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom 12:10). We pray that we will be led by the Spirit (Gal 5:18), bearing the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23), and exuding an aroma of Christ (2 Cor 2:14-17). And based on our experience of living out this truth in our family discussion, might this be a model for how this can also be done in the context of the local church.
Might it be so, to the glory of God, for the honor of Christ, the Head of the church, for the spiritual vibrancy and spiritual well-being of local churches, and for our good.
Please join us for our EFCA Theology Conference and plan to participate and learn in our important Preconference session on the topic of “Women and Ministry Matters,” held February 5, 2020, 1:30-5:15 PM, on the campus of Trinity International University, Deerfield, Illinois. Today (Jan 27) is the final day to register online, so please plan to register now.
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