C. S. Lewis is often considered one of the foremost apologists of the Christian faith of last century. Lewis’ approach to articulating and defending the Christian faith has been influential to many Evangelicals. What was it that made him fruitful and inimitable?

Ben Witherington interviews Alister McGrath about his biography C. S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet. In this installment Witherington asks McGrath about Lewis’ approach to apologetics, particularly now that we have passed from a modern to a postmodern day.

The gist of McGrath’s response, which I include below, is that Lewis combines reason and the imagination to present a new view of the world which is centered in truth.

Lewis is probably the best apologist of the twentieth century. Nobody has arisen to rival him, although he has many imitators. Why was Lewis so successful? I think the answer lies in his unique combination of reason and imagination, which I find in very few other apologists. His Oxford colleague and fellow-apologist Austin Farrer, Warden of Keble College, once suggested that Lewis’s apologetic approach might initially look like a modernist rational argument; but when you look more closely, you realize that it is actually an encouragement to see things in a new way, and thus grasp the rationality of faith through the imagination. Lewis, Farrer suggested, makes us “think we are listening to an argument”, when in reality “we are presented with a vision, and it is the vision that carries conviction.”

Lewis helps us to see that apologetics doesn’t have to take the form of a rather dull modernist argument, but can be understood and presented as an invitation to step into the Christian way of seeing things. If worldviews or metanarratives can be compared to lenses, which of them brings things into sharpest focus? Lewis’s explicit appeal to reason involves an implicit appeal to the imagination. Perhaps this helps us understand why Lewis appeals to both modern and postmodern people. Yes, Lewis affirms the rationality of the universe, in a way that would please a modern thinker. Yet he does so without lapsing into the cold logic and dreary argumentation that so often accompany modernist apologetics. Yes, Lewis affirms the power of images and narratives to captivate our imagination. Yet he does this without giving up on the primacy of truth, which is one of my major concerns about some postmodern approaches. I think we can all learn from this.

What do you think? How do you approach the articulation and defense of gospel truth today? What can we learn from Lewis?

The “Proposed Replacement of the EFCA Policy on Divorce and Remarriage related to Ministerial Credentials by the Board of Ministerial Standing” (download here) is a decision before this summer’s Conference. Although the history of this policy is outlined in the document, here is a brief history of the presentation of this recommendation:

  • The DPE document was first posted this past January on the EFCA website in conjunction with the Theology Conference.
  • The document was presented and discussed at an evening session at the Theology Conference (January 29).
  • A reminder and request to disseminate the document throughout the districts was sent to District Superintendents in February. An email was included in this for anyone desirous to follow up with questions or comments (credentialing@efca.org).
  • The document was made available to be translated into Spanish in April (Español)

There is one more session scheduled to focus on this proposed replacement. Prior to the brief discussion and decision by the delegates during the Business Session on Thursday, June 18, there will be a time for Q and A on Tuesday, June 16 from 12:00-1:00 in The Edge (where the Forum on Expository Preaching is held).

If interested in this discussion, please pick up your lunch and join us. You can also communicate your questions, comments or concerns through credentialing@efca.org

 

Focus

This deeper learning track will highlight Jesus as the Son of God, his proclamation of the kingdom of God, his message to repent and believe the gospel, his call to discipleship, his death on the cross. The focus will be on understanding Mark with the end goal of being taught, guided and modeled how to preach and teach the text with faithfulness and fruitfulness. Having recently completed a commentary on Mark, Grant will have much to share. If you have not preached the Gospels for a time, or Mark more specifically, you will leave with resources for your next sermon series.

Sessions

This learning track will occur in three sessions: Wednesday, June 17 at 10:30-12:00 (Session 1) and 3:00-4:30 (Session 2); Thursday, June 18 at 10:30-12:00 (Session 3).

Instructor

Grant R. Osborne, Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, has taught at TEDS for over 30 years. During this time he has taught hundreds of pastors and written numerous commentaries and served as editor of a couple of commentary series. In addition, he has authored a classic textbook on hermeneutics. Osborne’s most recent works are Matthew (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) (2010), Romans (IVP New Testament Commentary) (2010), James, 1-2 Peter, Jude, Revelation (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary) (2011), and Mark (Teach the Text Commentary Series) (2014).

More personally, Grant is a dear friend who has served the Lord faithfully for many years, including not only at TEDS, our EFCA seminary, but also in our EFCA churches. It is a special treat to have him with us this year (again!) since Bill Hamel and Grant are friends that go back to their days as fellow students at TEDS.

Please plan to join us for this focused time in the Gospel of Mark!

Faith at Work: Made to Flourish

Explanation

Disciples of Jesus Christ have been and are being transformed as they live under the Lordship of Christ. These disciples proclaim the gospel with their lips and their lives.

This training track will focus on the implications of worship and life specifically at the intersection of faith and work as we connect Sunday with the rest of the week. This training will:

  • Raise awareness about human flourishing under the Lordship of Christ through the integration of faith and work
  • Develop a theology of work to provide contextualized resources for pastors, leaders and congregations
  • Illustrate this theology of work in action through testimonies
  • Cultivate rich and catalytic conversations to engage churches
  • Provide an opportunity for a grant to implement a strategic ministry plan integrating faith and work in the local church where you serve

This track is intended for pastors, leaders and all others who desire to live faithfully and fully where God has placed them vocationally. Although each individual session can be attended as a stand-alone session, the greatest benefit of learning and implementation keys will be gained by attending all sessions.

Sessions

Session 1 – Wednesday, 10:30-Noon

Biblical/Theological (with a pastoral application focus) – Constantine Campbell, TEDS, Associate Professor of New Testament

Session 2 – Wednesday, 3:00-4:30

 Pastoral Practice (with a biblical/theological grounding) – Tom Nelson, Senior Pastor, Christ Community

Session 3 – Thursday, 10:30-Noon

Implementation: Testimonies and Kern Grants – Gary Hoag, Generosity Monk

Donald Guthrie, M/C Facilitator, TEDS, Director of the PhD (Educational Studies), Professor of Educational Ministries and The Jeanette L. Hsieh Chair of Educational Leadership

Please plan to join us for this wonderfully rich time of learning!

 

EFCA One: Forum on Expository Preaching

Date

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 (9:00 AM – 3:00 PM)

Title

“Preach Not Ourselves, But Preach As Ourselves.”

Explanation

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:5 that though we do not preach ourselves, we preach Christ, and we preach Christ as ourselves, with our own unique God-given gifts and voice.

Speakers

We are encouraged to have Phil Ryken, President of Wheaton College and David Dockery, President of Trinity International University serve as our speakers at our Forum on Expository Preaching. Both of our speakers have served faithfully as pastors of local churches and now as presidents in Christian education settings. Both are extremely gifted as preachers of the Word of God. With their unique gifts, and as they preach Christ, not themselves though as themselves, one approaches preaching as more of a preacher-teacher while the other approaches it more as a teacher-preacher. These differences are represented well in the Free Church. There will be much to learn from these godly and gifted expositors.

Goal of the Forum on Expository Preaching

The goal of the Forum on Expository Preaching is to encourage and equip expository preachers in the EFCA who are God-centered, Christ-focused and Spirit-empowered, who are biblically faithful, theologically informed and pastorally sensitive, and who have a passion to proclaim God’s Word to God’s people with the goal of glorifying God, nurturing God’s people and building up the church of Jesus Christ.

Schedule

9:00 – 9:20 Greg Strand – Welcome and Introductions; Worship and Prayer

9:20-9:40 Greg Scharf – “Expository Preaching: A Few Reminders”

9:40-10:00 Discussion in Triplets and Feedback on Challenges Participants are Facing in Their Preaching

10:00 -11:00 Phil Ryken – Preaching: “Crucifixion and Resurrection in the Ministry of the Gospel” (Philippians 3:10-11)

11:00–11:30 Q and A

11:30-1:00 Lunch

1:00- 2:00 David Dockery – Preaching: “Our Glorious Salvation” (Titus 3:3-8)

2:00 to 2:30 Q and A

2:30 –3:00 Panel – David, Phil and Greg (moderated by Greg Strand)

Please plan to join us for this excellent Forum on Expository Preaching!