On February 6, 2019 the EFCA is holding their next theology conference at Trinity International University. The conference lasts for three days and the theme is The Doctrine of Creation. This post is a review of the theology conference and its speakers.
“Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I believe God did intend, in giving us intelligence, to give us the opportunity to investigate and appreciate the wonders of His creation. He is not threatened by our scientific adventures.”
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.[a] 2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Genesis 1:1-3 NLT
Yosemite Valley at dusk
On February 6, 2019 the next EFCA Theology conference starts at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. The subject of the conference is the theme: The Doctrine of Creation. This post will give an overview of the speakers and what will be presented. My background is in history and analysis. As I am limited in science I will not attempt to perform in depth analysis in an area that I feel unqualified to do. Its important for one to know their limits and that also applies to myself. So what I will do is write a brief synopsis.
What Greg Strand Wrote at the EFCA Blog in Preparation for this Conference
In January of 2019 Greg Strand wrote a couple of blog posts that deal with the theme of the conference. Greg Strand is the executive director of theology and credentialing. The first post Greg wrote deals with the theological implications and significance. According to Greg in the Bible there are four unfolding of redemption within four acts. Those four are the creation, fall, redemption, and glorification. Creation is about the how the world was created and how it was very good. The fall deals with Adam and Eve sinning against God, and the rebelling that took place. Next comes redemption. The world is fallen, broken but through Christ rebirth takes place with a whole new creation. The final act of creation is glorification where the pain of creation will end and a new experience where sin and pain no longer exist. In the beginning of his summary Greg explains the following.
God created all things with a telos, a purpose and end-goal in mind. Sin affected God’s original plan, but it did not derail or destroy it. He was not surprised, neither did it catch Him off-guard such that He now needed to enact a salvage plan that was second-best. Sin was allowed in order to magnify God’s greatness and to manifest His grace and mercy as He fulfilled His plan through His divine decree of sending His Son and saving His people and restoring all things to himself. Justification is a critical truth in the Bible, for the Christian and for the church.
The conclusion to his summary ends with:
There will be at the end of the day a recapitulation, a renewal, to the point of being considered being made new—God’s original design and purpose, His telos, for all of creation (Genesis 1-2), will finally be realized (Revelation 21-22). God’s original creation is now recreated, not creating new things but the renewal of all things such that they reach their final intended purpose, their telos, such that it is described as “making all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
I would encourage you to read the entire post in, “The Doctrine of Creation: Theological Significance and Implications, Part 1.” The second post at the EFCA blog deals with how the doctrine of creation impacts our understanding of God, human dignity, origins, sexuality, creation care, work and our ultimate destiny. You can read about that in further detail in “The Doctrine of Creation: Theological Significance and Implications, Part 2.”
Overview of the Speakers at the 2019 EFCA Theology Conference
The speakers and their topics are written about in the second EFCA blog post. These are the breakdowns of the conference.
The Doctrine of Creation and God – Dr. Tom McCall
Tom McCall is on staff at Trinity Evangelical Divinity school where he is a Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology. He also directs the Carl F. Henry Center for Theological Understanding. Tom has published independently or helped write or even edit some of the following books. “Two Views on the Doctrine of the Trinity (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)” , “Forsaken: The Trinity and the Cross, and Why It Matters” , “Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith?: A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture” , “Christian Physicalism?: Philosophical Theological Criticisms” , “Knowing Creation: Perspectives from Theology, Philosophy, and Science” and “Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace.” At the conference Tom is going to address the doctrine of creation and focus on certain aspects of classical Christian theism to include the following. Divine simplicity, impassibility, immutability and natural theology.
The Doctrine of Creation and Human Origins – Dr. Hans Medueme
Hans Medueme is an associate professor of theological studies at Covenant College at lookout Mountain, Georgia. Hans has been involved in publishing two books which are, “Reading Christian Theology in the Protestant Tradition” and “Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin: Theological, Biblical, and Scientific Perspectives.” The subject of Hans talk is going to be on the issue of Adam and Eve, the age of the earth, and human origins as well as doctrine and ethics.
The Doctrine of Creation and Human Dignity – Dr. Paige Comstock Cunningham
Dr. Paige Comstock Cunningham leads The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity at Trinity International University. She will speak about how the “image of God” gives dignity to human life. Human beings after all are made in God’s image. This has implications for bioethics, human rights, and social justice,
The Doctrine of Creation and Human Sexuality- Dr. Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson is the President and Co-Founder and President of Pastor Theologians. Todd has published, co-authored, or edited a large number of books over the years. Some of those books include the following. “Mere Sexuality: Rediscovering the Christian Vision of Sexuality” , “Daniel: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible)” , “Creation and Doxology: The Beginning and End of God’s Good World (Center for Pastor Theologians)” , “Beauty, Order, and Mystery: A Christian Vision of Human Sexuality (Center for Pastor Theologians)” , “Becoming a Pastor Theologian: New Possibilities for Church Leadership” , “The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision” , “Galatians: Gospel-Rooted Living (Preaching the Word)” and “Real Christian: Bearing the Marks of Authentic Faith.” Just to be clear there are many other works that Todd Wilson published. At the EFCA Theology conference Todd will be speaking about how God made man and female, and how God created them each uniquely. This talk will also discuss issues in current debate. From my perspective I imagine that will also include the trans-gender issues in the news.
The Doctrine of Creation and Human Stewardship – Dr. Jonathan Moo
Dr. Jonathan Moo is an associate professor at Whitworth College at Spokane, Washington. Jonathan has written a couple of books about God and the environment to include, “Let Creation Rejoice: Biblical Hope and Ecological Crisis” , “Creation Care: A Biblical Theology of the Natural World (Biblical Theology for Life)” and “Creation, Nature and Hope in 4 Ezra“. People are made in God’s image and God also made the creation that humans inhabit. This talk is going to be about the theological issues as it relates to stewarding and caring for God’s creation.
The Doctrine of Creation and Human Work – Dr. Tom Nelson
Dr. Tom Nelson leads Made to Flourish and is the Senior Pastor of Christ Community Church in the Kansas City, Missouri area. This blog has written about Christ Community Church in Kansas City, Missouri in, “Tyler Chernesky of Christ Community Church in Kansas City on Friendship and Proverbs. Seeing What was Taught in a Sermon Play Out in Kansas and Missouri.” Adam and Eve were designed to work in the Garden. This talk looks at the issue of creation and work and God;s design for the subject of work.
The Doctrine of Creation and Human Destiny – Dr. Michael Wittmer
Dr. Michael Wittmer is a Professor of Systematic Theology and Historical Theology at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is also the Director for the Center of Christian Worldview. Mike has published a number of books, co-authored or edited several. This is what Michael has published. “Heaven Is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God” , “Becoming Worldly Saints: Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life?” , “Christ Alone: An Evangelical Response to Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” , “The Last Enemy: Preparing to Win the Fight of Your Life” , “Despite Doubt: Embracing a Confident Faith” and “Don’t Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough.” This talk deals with the purpose of creation and understanding creation for the coming eschatology dealing with the new heavens and new earth.
Thoughts on the Subject and the 2019 Theology Conference
I honestly hope that all who attend have a good time and that old friendships are renewed and that new ones are born. This conference seems to be both very complex and yet fascinating. The bioethics section would be neat to listen. When these talks are eventually released I plan to listen to them online. My view on some of these topics is heavily influenced by science. After all the Catholic church which I grew up in heavily embraced science and that still influences me today. I am encouraged to see that the environment will be discussed. Last year I wrote a post asking why evangelicals ignore the environment and if its due to many belief’s in the rapture and end times theology. You can read that post in, “Evangelicals and the Environment: Some Thoughts After Visiting Glacier National Park in Montana.”
I have no doubt the transgender issue will probably come up. I am still studying it and reading up on it and what science teaches about the topic. As for the creation issue I myself an an old earth creationist. I do not subscribe to the young earth theory as I believe the earth to be millions of years old. Again this influence comes from my Catholic upbringing. Having said that I don’t have issues with Young Earth Creationists. The problem occurs when Young Earth Creationists force it on others and put it in the claim that you have to be a Young Earth Creationist or you can’t be a Christian. Ken Ham is one of the most harmful people in the evangelical world. This blog has toyed with the notion of starting a GoFundMe to purchase Ken Ham a one way plane ticket back to Australia. Even if its just humorous I thought it good be a good statement. You can check the multiple articles I have written on Ken Ham in the directory.
In closing there is one topic I find missing on the agenda that I wish the EFCA would consider. If man is created in the image of God I wish Greg Strand and the EFCA had a session to deal with spiritual abuse inside the church. How issues like domestic abuse or child sexual abuse are also not a part of creation and that the church should be very much concerned with that topic. If people are precious and created in the image of God learning and addressing that topic is one that must be on the EFCA agenda of the future. That is it for the day guys, please take care.