EFCA Theology Preconference: Soteriological Essentials and the “Significance of Silence” (1): Introduction

Greg Strand – December 2, 2014 2 Comments

The pre-conference theme to our EFCA Theology Conference is “Soteriological Essentials and the ‘Significance of Silence’: Arminianism, Calvinism, Lutheranism and the EFCA.”

Our longer title, which is more descriptive, is “Soteriological Essentials and the ‘Significance of Silence’” or “Unity in Essentials – Dialogue in Differences”: Arminianism/Wesleyanism, Calvinism/Reformed (Baptist), Lutheranism and the EFCA.”


We will address the doctrine of salvation and how it is understood biblically, theologically and pastorally. This is particularly pertinent to those in the EFCA since we allow and welcome these various views on the doctrine of salvation and its application in the life of a believer. We will debate this doctrine but not divide over it. This position, we believe, allows us to thrive and flourish in a way greater than embracing one view denominationally. In this way we seek to reflect our unity in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that this truth is of “first importance” in doctrine, ministry and life.


Each of the three positions regarding the doctrine of salvation (Arminian/Wesleyan, Calvinist/Reformed, Lutheran) will be grounded biblically and theologically, with historical awareness and pastoral sensitivity. An overview of the position will be presented, along with strengths and weaknesses of the position. Each lecturer will, additionally, address caricatures of the position. The goal is to educate, inform and equip in an irenic and constructive manner. It will not follow debate format. This will manifest unity in essentials, dialogue in differences.


D.A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

David Luy, Assistant Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Thomas McCall, Associate Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Director, Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


Wednesday, January 28

1:00 – 5:15 pm Pre-conference – “Soteriological Essentials and the Significance of Silence: Arminianism, Calvinism, Lutheranism and the EFCA”

1:00 – 1:15 pm Welcome, “Framing the Issue” – Greg Strand

1:15 – 2:15 pm Teaching Session 1 – Arminianism/Wesleyanism, Tom McCall

2:15 – 3:15pm Teaching Session 2 – Calvinist/Reformed, D.A. Carson

3:15 – 3:30 pm Break

3:30 – 4:30 pm Teaching Session 3 – Lutheranism, David Luy

4:30 – 5:30 pm Panel


In the three main sessions, McCall will address the Arminian/Wesleyan perspective, Carson will address the Calvinist/Reformed (Baptist) perspective, and Luy will address the Lutheran perspective. Since it will be most helpful for attendees if a similar format is followed, the speakers will address their respective views using a similar outline:

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview/Summary of Your Theological Position
    1. Strengths and Weaknesses
    2. Sine qua non of the view
  3. Caricatures of Your View
  4. Conclusion: Why We Need Each Other


The panel will focus on these questions: How do we engage in life and ministry together, affirming the gospel in principle and practice, while embracing different views on soteriology? What is required to do this? Why is it important? What is gained and lost by it?

Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

2 responses to EFCA Theology Preconference: Soteriological Essentials and the “Significance of Silence” (1): Introduction

  1. I know this may sound really trivial, but why use the Latin “sine qua non” when “essentials” means the same thing? I have a Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and I have never really understood the insistence in theological circles of using Latin phrases like this. It seems like a useless academic practice that only serves to perpetuate the “white tower” caricature of theology and theologians, when in reality anyone who thinks about God is a theologian. Maybe there is some purpose I am not aware of? I would truly like to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Thank you for commenting, Luke. Two responses.

      First, I used this language in the outline I sent to the speakers so I just included it in my blog post.

      Second, I agree that all Christians are theologians in the sense that all seek to study, to know and to love God. But just because all Christians are theologians it does not mean that they cannot learn and grow. This is a setting to learn and to grow, including some technical terms used theologically.

      I trust you will be able to join us for this excellent Conference.

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