(Photo: The Christian Post/Napp Nazworth)
CHICAGO – Christians need to recognize the primacy of Scripture in their lives and not be drawn to fads, a theologian told CP at the Pastorum Live conference this week.
Dr. Te-Li Lau, professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, told The Christian Post in an interview that, "If we lose the sense that scripture is authoritative for our lives, then we are going to be buffeted by every wind of the culture."
Another advantage to being grounded in scripture, Lau said, is that it helps unify Christians globally. Conversely, if Christian faith is grounded by issues unique to culture, then other Christians around the world will fail to identify with it.
Lau, who is from Singapore, noted that today Christianity is mostly centered in Asia and Africa.
"We need to be outward looking," Lau advised, not "thinking that America is the center of Christianity, because it's not."
Lau was one of the last speakers of the Pastorum Live conference, hosted by Logos Bible Software at Park Community Church in Chicago. The two-day conference ended on Wednesday.
During his address to attendees, Lau spoke about the book of Ephesians for a segment called "Connecting the Dots," which brought together many of the broad themes of the conference.
The purpose of Ephesians, Lau told those in attendance, is to function as a manifesto for the Church, and its central theme is to establish peace and unity for the Church under the headship of Christ. Ephesians provides instructions on how the Church should conduct itself so that people of diverse economic and racial backgrounds can come together into one community, the New Testament professor said.
Besides Lau, Dr. Mark Strauss, professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary in San Diego, spoke about how pastors can use, or abuse, biblical languages in their teaching and preaching.
"Authority lies in the message of the text, not the 'hidden meanings' of individual Greek or Hebrew," Strauss advised.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jonathan Pennington, professor of New Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke about how to use, and not use, biblical narratives for the application segment.
"Our goal when reading scripture," Pennington reminded, "should be transformational, not simply informational."
If the primary focus of a sermon or study is how God reveals Himself, it will help pastors avoid the mere moralism that is not the Gospel, said Pennington.
This was the first Pastorum Live conference, but Logos Bible Software is planning on making it an annual event.