About

The Blog
“As pastors and leaders in the local church, we must be committed to nourishing both heart (“habits of the heart”) and head (“habits of the mind”) in our own lives, and also in the lives of those to whom God has called us to minister. My prayer is that both hearts and heads will be encouraged and challenged by the Strands of Thought blog as we are called to give ourselves more fully to a faithful ministry of the Word, for God’s glory and the good of His people. I am passionate about God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, Spirit-empowered ministry that is rooted in the Word.”–Greg Strand

The Author
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. 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.

Greg has two Masters degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and at present he is working with Evangelical Theological faculty, Heverlee, Belgium, Ph.D. toward his doctorate in Systematic Theology. He now serves as Director of Biblical Theology and Credentialing for the EFCA at the national office in Minneapolis, MN. Greg is husband to Karen, is father to three, and is a runner, biker and sports enthusiast

Ministry History
1982-1984 Youth Pastor, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Moorhead, MN
1989-1994 Associate Pastor of Adult Ministries, Bethany EFC, LaCrosse, WI
1995-2002 Senior Pastor, Trinity Evangelical Free Church, Minot, ND
2002-Present Director of Biblical Theology and Credentialing, EFCA, Minneapolis, MN

Education
1982 Concordia College, Moorhead, MN (BA)
1989 TEDS, M.Div.
1992 TEDS, MA-NT
Present Evangelical Theological faculty, Heverlee, Belgium, Ph.D. in Systematic Theology (ABD)

15 responses to About

  1. Hi Greg,

    I am Paul Slechta from Wayzata Free Church. My wife and I attended and participated in your Sunday school classes back in Dec 2015. Great classes.

    I have a question for you. I noticed that in the statement of faith for EFCA does not mention anything about marriage. Is there a reason for this?

    regards

    Paul Slechta

    • Hello Paul. I am grateful you found the class helpful. It was a joy and delight to be with you.

      Thank you for reading, for commenting and for asking an important question.

      Here are three brief reasons.

      First, in order for a local church to be a part of the EFCA they must adopted the Statement of Faith as is, with no additions or deletions.

      Second, as you consider this in relation to our Statement of Faith, consider two things. (1) In our SOF our intent was to focus primarily on soteriological essentials The biblical and theological teaching on marriage and its connection to the gospel is all true, right and good. But it is not a soteriological essential. (By the way, the other essential included in our SOF is an epistemological essential, i.e., how do we know what we know, which is stated in Article 2 on The Bible.) (2) If you look at confessions throughout church history, marriage and family do not make the list. This does not make it unimportant. However, it is recognized that as important as it is it is more fitting to include it in some other place.

      Third, in application, I would suggest that there are some key issues that must be addressed today because they are being undermined. Marriage is one of those. But I do not believe that it ought to be added to a SOF in general or our SOF in particular. If the purpose and intent of the SOF were changed, viz. it is to include soteriological essentials and contemporary issues, then it would be fitting. That, however, is not the intent of our SOF. Rather, it is best to include it in a list of policies. If you are interested in how a local church might go about that, let me know and I will be glad to share that as well.

  2. Hey Greg,

    I was wondering if the EFCA has a position regarding the “Old/New” nature believers currently possess. If so, does the EFCA see it as both or just one new nature?

    Thanks, Bro!

    -Corey

  3. Lloyd E Scott Jr March 28, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Hi Bro Greg, liked the referral article and comments on ‘old man’ and ‘new man’. Use of anthropological terms certainly are important to any Systematic Theology. Thanks for your comments, these terms certainly have colored my own Systematic Theology. Look forward to your follow-up to such.
    Blessings Bro, Lloyd Jr

  4. Hello Greg. I’ve just read your many threads on the “Significance of Silence”. I really enjoyed learning the historical basis and intent of this approach, of the concept of unity in essentials and dialogue in differences. I find this a strength of the EFCA.

    My question is this: Is it proper for an EFCA church to adopt theological distinctives that are anything but silent on the issue of Calvinism, infant baptism etc? Our EFCA Church leans towards Calvinism (as do I personally). I have reservations about formally adopting local theological distinctives to that effect, due to potential to create divisiveness or an unwelcome atmosphere to those who lean the other direction. Any thoughts from a denominational perspective?

    Thanks in advance, and regards,

    Todd

    • Hello Todd. Thank you for reading. Thank you, as well, for your comment and question.

      I am grateful you found the material on the “significance of silence” helpful. As you read, I concur this is a strength of the EFCA. However, your question also acknowledges the challenge of applying in practice what we affirm in principle. It is not wrong for a church to lean in a theological direction related to soteriology, be that Calvinist/reformed or Arminian/Wesleyan (on the doctrine of soteriology, there is also a Lutheran emphasis). The key is that you are not only aware of but welcoming to the other view. That is why the EFCA is unique and different from either those churches (and denominations) that are exclusively one or the other these soteriological views. For those who prefer or demand one view, the EFCA’s view will be considered wishy-washy, a lowest-common denominator approach. As you read, this is anything but the way we understand this in the EFCA. For me, I lean strongly in one way on this issue. But I also knew the other view better than anyone else in the church. This is not intended to be an arrogant statement. Rather, as a vocational elder/pastor, it recognizes that I have the privilege of being able to study these matters in a way that other non-vocational elders are not. So if others are going to hold a view different from mine, then I wanted them to know that view well, with biblical, theological and historical support. Often when the view other than my own is not known well, it is easy to caricature and demean. As I often say, in the EFCA this is not only not helpful, it is hurtful. The reason is because we believe the oneness of the gospel is manifested in our living and serving together in the same local church, even though we have different understandings soteriologically. Those denominations who are one or the other can get away with caricatures and straw-men. We cannot not, which I think is a strength.

      So in practice, it is not wrong for a local church to lean in a certain direction soteriologically, be it Calvinist/reformed or Arminian/Wesleyan. But that local church must also provide a welcoming place to those of the other perspective, and we believe it is the gospel, not pragmatics, that compels us to that. This is the broader EFCA perspective on the issue. When I served as an a pastor in local EFC churches, I always considered it healthy that I served together with some elders who leaned in the other direction soteriologically since the perspective was helpful to bear in mind as a more complete picture of theology, it modeled the significance of silence principle in the EFCA and the breadth of this in practice, it prevented caricatures and it, most importantly, manifested our oneness in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

      I trust this helps, Todd.

  5. Hi Greg,
    Hey brother – thanks for your message on Friday night to ANACEFC and response to my material. Would you be so kind as to e-mail both puts on that or notes. I loved the critique.
    Also, I will send you a brochure of the retreats, seminars and other resources I have for pastors. Cheri and I have done a marriage retreat titled, The Transforming Marriage: Changing the Story of your Relationship… that covers the four stages and cycles of married life so that Marriage which will change you for better or worse is for the better in Jesus.
    What is your e-mail if I can have it?
    Keith Meyer

    • Thank you for your encouraging words, Keith. It was a joy to be able to speak at this conference together to/with our wonderful brothers and sisters in ANACEFC. I appreciated your messages. I was sorry I was only able to hear your last message. I will pick up this dialogue via email. May the Lord bless you and keep you, by his grace, for his glory and for the good of his people!

  6. Would like your thoughts of the importance of The Baptism of The Holy Spirit & having the ability to pray in the spirit. I have lived all of my life in ‘neutral’. Never really excited like others seem to be. I know that I know, if I were able to pray in the spirit, things would be brought to light (unknown to me), & open up my spirit to give God, Jesus & The Holy Spirit the praise I now find hard to put into words. I hope this makes sense to you. This is a very, very important issue on my heart, & really, really need HELP! Thanks for reading this. Donna Schwartz

  7. Greg, Someone has asked me about the “contemplative prayer” movement. Have you done much study on this? Does the EFCA have a stance? I have noticed on-line some criticism of the EFCA in including some of their authors in our resources. https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=14455 Just wondering if we have an official position on this. If you haven’t, love to have you write an article! Always appreciate your insights. Mike

    • Thank you for your comment, Mike, and your question. Here are a few comments in reply.

      First, the EFCA does not have a formal, official policy or statement regarding contemplative prayer.

      Second, it is important contemplative prayer is defined, because definitions, or at least the person’s personal definition/understanding, are important to know. Furthermore, there are various definitions/understandings among people. Knowing the definition/understanding of the person asking the question allows one in response to clarify some misunderstanding before giving a more faithful, clarifying and helpful response. Most asking the question have a definition/understanding in mind, and based on what is said in response a judgment will be made.

      Finally, I can say this: the EFCA does not endorse mystical, new age spirituality. The EFCA is concerned for and committed to the inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word of God being read, known and lived by God’s people. This is God’s Word, God’s revelation to us. And it is the basis of our prayers. By God’s grace, we stand on and earnestly contend for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3), for God’s glory and the good and well-being of his people.

  8. Hi, Greg!

    We in the EFCA do not teach the Pentecostal doctrine of subsequence. But the filling of the Spirit is something that happens after one is regenerate, and it needs to be continually renewed. So is the real sticking-point on subsequence the dogma that speaking in tongues (at least one time) is a necessary proof of Spirit-filling? Since even a non-Pentecostal view of Spirit empowerment puts it after the new birth (at least logically, as well as chronologically).

    There are credible theologians, like Doug Moo, who say that “baptism in the Spirit” in Luke-Acts is one phrase among several that refer to Holy Spirit empowerment, yet at the same time they deny that one must speak in tongues.

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