Thinking Theologically Conference
Scripture does not come to us in the form of a systematic textbook, but it is nothing if not coherent in its content. It is the reality of all truth involving words that even heretics have used the Scripture to say what it should not be used to say. Thus we see the importance of 'theologically sound' reading of Scripture. That is, it is both the mind which is in accord with 'sound doctrine' that will read and interpret Scripture rightly (1 Tim 4:16), as well as the accurate exegesis of Scripture that will lead to 'sound doctrine'. The Reformers understood this relationship well, with Calvin a leading example of someone who wrote the Institutes (all 4 volumes of it!) as an aid to the reading of Scripture, an intention well borne out by the fact that he led in the referencing of Scripture in his arguments and he showed a close contextual understanding of Scripture in his exegesis.
The Thinking Theologically Conference (TTC), therefore, is an acknowledgement of the importance of sound theology in the life of Christ's church. Not only is the coherent expression of our faith at stake in a confused world, it is also the reality of a post-modern world where propositional truth is frowned upon as being dogmatic and unreliable that calls urgently for the Christians of today to learn to 'think theologically'.
Christians need to learn again (or for the first time) the clear expression of truth as arrived at by their denominational confessional forebears, to seek to understand the strengths and weaknesses of these arguments for the present work of ministry, and to apply it with vigour to the life of the church's ministry.
"When a denomination begins to consider doctrine divisive, theology troublesome, and convictions inconvenient, consider that denomination on its way to a well-deserved death."
R. Albert Mohler, Jr.; President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southern Baptist Convention meeting, July 1995
Who goes to TTC?
All sorts of people! Young, old, students, retirees, businessmen, businesswomen, engineers, car mechanics, mums, dads, grandparents and even a few babies. For the good of our churches, the glory of God and the Christlikeness of believers, learning to think theologically should not be something reserved for the select few. As many have found, it is something that we all can and should do – age, upbringing and intellectual ability are no barrier.
What happens at TTC?
- Challenging talks on the main topic
- Seminars for guided interaction
- Smaller groups to work hard at reading the Bible for ourselves
- Electives and Network time to get our minds into gear for ministry
- Free time and outdoor games for a break with God's people
- Q & A to wrestle with important questions together with the speaker
- Prayer in dependence on God's teaching
Dr Stephen Wellum: Why should you go to TTC?
Transcript of video:
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
I greet each of you in Malaysia and I am encouraging you to attend the conference TTC – Thinking Theologically Conference.
Theology is not an option for the church; it's really a command of the Lord. When he sends us out in the Great Commission he tells us to teach all of our disciples, to teach those that we witness the gospel to and bring into the church, all that he has commanded. Repeatedly in the New Testament we are to refute error and sadly error often creeps into the church – there are those who want to undermine the gospel – so we have to teach contrary to the error, teach and put in its place the truth. Theology enables you to do that.
Theology is not just a command; it's a joy. To think God's thoughts after him, to love him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength is the task of theology. If you do not do this, ultimately we will be unfaithful to our Lord, we will be led by every wind of doctrine, tossed to and fro as a ship on the sea and we will not have stability in our lives.
It is crucial that we think through the huge doctrinal areas of the Christian life and TTC allows you to do that. It is a privilege to be part of such a conference where men and women come around from all over to think for a few days about God and about ourselves and about sin and about the glorious work of the Lord Jesus – to set it in context with some of the error of the day and put in its place the truth of God's word so that we truly are faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I strongly encourage you to spend time, devoting time to going to the conference, to thinking about these matters, to putting them into practice, to then become more effective ministers of the Lord Jesus in our day. I hope that you'd be able to attend the conference. I know that it'd be an encouragement to you and I pray that God will richly bless you as you gather together, as you think about these matters and as you seek to take the gospel to Malaysia.
J.I. Packer on "What is Systematic Theology and why do we need it?".
D.A. Carson on "Why Can't We Just Read the Bible?".