This is an important week in both the academic and publishing world of evangelicals. It is the week of the 67th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). Each year about 5,000 professors and educators meet to discuss theological issues that are pressing in not only the evangelical world but also all of Christendom. Grace School of Theology will be represented by our President Dr. Dave Anderson, Professor Dr. Ken Wilson, and me. Dr. Wilson will be presenting a paper on his favorite topic: “The Theology of Augustine.”
This week (Tuesday-Thursday) there will be hundreds of workshops, along with four plenary sessions by leading evangelical scholars addressing a variety of topics through a biblical and theological lens, as well as the impact these topics have on ministry to the church and the world. By the end of the convention, I will have sat through thirty hours of biblical and theological information and instruction. There will also be scores of publishers selling hundreds of books. The week also provides great opportunity for school reunions, seeing old friends, and making new ones.
At the end of the conference I will have heard all I need to hear for the week and will have spent all my discretionary cash on some great book buys. One of the reasons I go is for the books and interaction with publishers. Many of the talks are very good, but there does come a point of diminishing return! (The mind can only absorb as much as one’s backside can endure.)
It is sad to say that those from a Free Grace perspective will not have much opportunity to present papers. Most in the Free Grace movement do not go, and for those of us who do, it seems the ETS is not that interested in hearing from us if we speak to the soteriological issues that we feel are so central to evangelicalism. Those who hold to a Reformed Theology perspective always dominate the conference, although there are many from the Arminian camp. But we of the Free Grace perspective are definitely in the minority.
So why go to ETS you may ask? First, to learn today’s theological trends in evangelical theology and the cultural issues that are tied to them. Second, as one of the only accredited schools that have a fully integrated Grace Theology in our Masters and Doctoral level courses, it is important that Grace School of Theology interacts and participates with the theological academy. This participation will allow us to expose some of our colleagues in the theological guild to what Free Grace Theology really means and hopefully clarify our views and clear away caricatures often communicated by our critics. Third, as Richard Weaver said in 1948 in his landmark book “Ideas have Consequences”, it is still true today that ideas have consequences. Therefore, we at Grace Theology Press desire to provide books that will communicate biblical ideas that will have eternal consequences. ETS will have over fifty venders and publishers of books and electronic software. It is the best one stop shopping to see and handle hundreds of products and get a feel for the quality and quantity of the evangelical market and the ideas that will be making an impact.
GTP is committed to be a presence that provides resources to clarify the glorious grace of God, an idea that will have a good consequence.
Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, Ph.D.
Grace Theology Press