EFCA Theology Conference 2014

I’ve decided to do things a little differently this year and just continually updating this page with the new sessions in order. Would love to hear any questions or comments you might have!

A World Absorbing Text or a Text Absorbed by the World?

Dr. Richard Lints

Introduction – Cultural Saturation

Interpreting Overlapping Realities: Gospel and Culture


Micro and Macro Stories

The Gospel as Theological Framework and Theological Vision

Culture as Macro and Micro Stories

Pre and Post – Modernity

Defining Narratives

Democratic Consumerism

Technological Rationalism

Social Pluralism

The Great Irony

Reading Our Times

Beginning Clues

Reading the Scriptures as a Canon

Being Read by the Scriptures

Christian Faithfulness in the Face of Ancient Cultural Challenges

Dr. D. Jeffry Bingham

  1. Christian Faithfulness in the Face of Persecution
    1. The Accusations of the Culture

1. Christians were being accused by a culture that was very religious, the culture saw Christians as atheists. This was the main motivation for Roman persecution.

2. Christians didn’t make good Roman citizens.

3. Romans viewed Christians as incestuous

4. Communion is viewed as cannibalistic

  1. The Faithful Responses of the Christians

1. They explained in literature and conversation. Showed how monotheism was something allowed even among the Romans, pointing to poets and scholars (Plato in particular) to show that monotheism was already accepted.

2. Pointed to their care for others (orphans, neighbors, hungry) as their appeal to how they were good citizens.

3. They said they were a family and that’s just the way they refer to themselves.

4. Eucharist was the reason they came together. They explained to the community what they were doing and why.

Christianity is a very gory religion, characterized by the sloppiness of blood.

  1. Christian Faithfulness in the Process of Scriptural Definition
    1. The Proposed, Erroneous Models of Scripture

On the one hand you had Marcion who cut most things out of the Bible, and then the other hand had add everything.

  1. The Faithful Responses of the Christians

The sacred text, if nothing else, included the Old Testament Hebrew Bible.

So they said nothing gets into the Bible unless it’s in harmony with the OT. And if they are universally embraced by Christians throughout the world. We don’t accept any text that doesn’t put the slaughter of Jesus as its’ focus.

Where is the Lord’s supper in your meetings?

The Opportunity to Learn from the Challenge of Race

Dr. Vincent Bacote

Mandela’s Death and movies like 12 Years a Slave show us the problem of apartheid and puts the legacy of racism right in front of us. Thought it may be in front of us, we may be tempted to avert our gaze.

  1. “Our” Issue and Our Mission: A commitment to Bible and the obligations of the gospel

Using the issue of race to enslave people is completely missing the idea of the greatest commandment: love God and love others. The Bible talks about it.

  1. Dancing with history: facing the world and society we have inherited in the modern West; why race remains a challenge for all of us in spite of improvements

These issues don’t simply disappear.

  1. Considering the Experience of Minorities: What can the church learn…and perhaps anticipate in the future.

The question of a lack of power. People become accustomed to accepting the fact that they are lacking in power. There’s also the question of hope.

  1. Considering Some Core Beliefs: How does our Christology, Soteriology and Ecclesiology lead us toward persistent and patient progress on the lingering question of race and the prospect of the evangelical church as a cultural minority?

Theology and ethics need to be seen together. Which Jesus do you emphasize? Which text do you go to when talking about Jesus? What do people experience at your church that helps deal with the issue of race?

If you’re going to be people of the book, are you considering all the book teaching us? Or are we just pragmatists?

  1. What Posture Should We Take: Faithful Presence, or something else?

Your context makes a huge influence as to what your suggestions can be.

  1. To Consider: What vision might we have for the future?

At one level, Christians out to be a counter-cultural people practicing a counter-cultural reality. People will notice this because it’s not typical for people to live with other people who are not like them.
Need to have a disposition of massive patience.

Regression happens within the church as well (the crisis of marriage is also taking place within the church)

A commitment to public engagement without messianic ideas.

Understanding the Times and Understanding the Places: Theological Localism

Dr. Fred Sanders

  1. Theology with a local accent

It’s just a matter of fitting in – the message of the cross should offend, not our way of talking about it (i.e. sports)

  1. Two methods: correlation and proclamation

Correlation: identified in Paul Tillick – philosophy raises the questions, theology answers them. Explains the contents of Christian faith using questions.

Proclamation: identified in Carl Barth

I suggest using theological localism.

  1. Taking action: Men of Issachar in every place

See 1 Chronicles 12:32. Seen in Augustine’s City of God.

  1. “Theological Engagement with California Culture”


Evangelicals in 21st Century American Culture

Dr. Leith Anderson


  1. Living in challenging times

We get caught up in our time and forget about previous times issues

  1. Theology of Culture

Do you consider culture to be the friend, or the enemy of Christ?

  1. Matthew 13:24-30 – parable of the weeds

Looking back – where we came from

  1. Liberalism & Fundamentalism

Scopes vs Monkey trial in 1925, fundamentalists increasingly marginalized. Most of the world didn’t even think of fundamentalists, then along came Billy Graham

  1. Billy Graham & today

Evangelicals are now ¼-1/3 of all people in the US, so what do we do with that?

Looking around – where we are

  1. Globalization of Christianity

Now the largest & fastest growing religion. 20,000 new believers in China every day

  1. Evangelicals in America

We are the dominate Christian force

  1. Demographics

Segregation in America remains strong

  1. Theology

Homosexuality and the exclusivity of Christ

  1. Church in adversarial circumstances

Conclusion: How then shall we live?

Speak the truth, but always in love

Don’t be quick to come to conclusions


As long as people have the Bible and the Holy Spirit they’ll be ok.

EFCA Theology Conference 2014 Pre-Conference Part 2

The final part of the Pre-Conference from Dr. Fred Sanders

Tacit Trinitarianism

God has no unmet needs – there are no needs outside of the divine life

  1. Getting saved – an evangelical practice. The eternal son becomes the incarnate son to make others an adopted son bringing them into relationship with God.
  2. Knowing Jesus personally – generally trying to point to a deeper reality of communion with God. “ask Jesus into your heart” (Eph 3, being strengthened in your inner man) Puritans used that heart language, book My Heart, Christ’s Home. Jesus is present from heaven, it’s the Spirit who is indwelling. This means being indwelt by the Holy Spirit who makes Christ present here on earth being poured out from the right hand of the Father.
  3. Devotional Bible reading – this comes from a high view of Scripture, we know the Bible is God’s message to us.
  4. Understanding Scripture’s big story – the big story of Scripture is very evident, about how the Father sends the Son and the Spirit
  5. Conversational prayer –
  6. Evangelism –
  7. World mission –
  8. Daily spirituality –

EFCA Theology Conference 2014 Pre-Conference

The pre-conference at this years EFCA Theology Conference is on the doctrine of the Trinity and is done by Dr. Fred Sanders from Biola. Here are the first two lectures and links to the Prezi slides that were used.

Approaching the Doctrine of the Trinity

The Trinity-try to understand it and you’ll lose your mind, try to deny it and you’ll lose your soul.

  1. Teaching the Trinity as an inviting doctrine

The word of the Trinity is not far away, you don’t need to get advanced degrees to understand.

Trinity is primarily for categorization and building up the understanding of believers.

  1. The basic component of the doctrine

One being in three persons, we don’t say God is one person and three persons, or God is one person and three persons

  1. Three key texts

Trinity is not in the Old Testament because the OT was a time of promise, we don’t find the doctrine of the Trinity revealed in the OT, but we see shadows of it. Then the New Testament is the time of fulfillment, the Messiah and the Spirit already came. The revelation of the Trinity is in the events of the Father sending the Son and the Spirit.

  1. John 1:1-3 – takes you from the beginning of the Gospel to the beginning of the whole Bible. What we have in Jesus Christ shows us what happened before creation, which leaves us with God.
  2. Matt 28:18-20 – doctrine of the Trinity is in Scripture, even if the word itself is not. Trinity just means “threeness”
  3. 2 Cor 13:14 – the revealed character of these three persons (see also 1 John “our fellowship is with the Fathe rand the Son”

Overall idea: salvation is by & from & in & with the Triune God

  1. Heresies to avoid
    1. Tritheism – three gods (kind of Mormonism)
    2. Modalism – 1 god doing 3 things, manifests himself in 3 ways (oneness Pentecostalism)
    3. Subordinationism – 1 real god, a couple lesser gods (Arianism, Jehovah’s witness)
    4. Illustrations
      1. There’s nothing like God or God’s trinity
      2. Most illustrations are a little helpful, but mostly just show Trinitarian heresies
      3. The main things are the plain things: God the Father saved us by sending the Son and the Spirit.

The Trinity is not a distraction from the gospel, but a super-condensed explanation of it.


The Deep Things of God 

  1. Grace as God’s gift of himself

Grace as free forgiveness, grace as power for service (John 3:16, Gal 4:4-6, Eph 1:3-14)

  1. The two hands of God

The incarnation and atonement are the means to the end of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

  1. The economy of salvation

God gives himself as the gift of salvation

  1. The happy land of the Trinity