Notes Pt2: Sola Scriptura or Sola Cultura Conference @SWBTS

Today was the end of the Sola Scriptura or Sola Cultura Conference at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Overall the conference was very informative and a good time. I have included the rest of my notes below. Although I must confess that I could not get all of the information that was spoken about. Some of the presenters were moving through their material at light speed in order to fit the time frame allotted. (maybe next year they could make it longer :P)

Notes Pt1: Sola Scriptura or Sola Cultura Conference @SWBTS can be found here!

Session 3 _ Dr. Terry Wilder
Only Scripture or Only Culture? Is that a trick question? The answer is obvious to those of the faith but to the secular world this question is far more debatable.
Looking at the Biblical text to examine that contextualization of the Gospel into missions.

MATT 28:19-20

  • Our Vision, The Churches Vision For Reaching People
  • Christ’s authority is displayed at the Sermon on the Mount (v7 – the crowds were amazed because He taught with authority)
  • Paul declares Him as the Messiah delivered with Power (Romans )
  • Christ commands the church to GO & MAKE DISCIPLES!
  • Go – Not as you go, But GO NOW! a prerequisite before you can “make disciples”
  • Every Nation – All of them
  • Involves evangelism and making disciples
    • But what is a disciple? A follower of Christ and seeks to spread His teachings
  • Baptize Them – to make new in Christ
    • dead to sin and alive to Christ
    • immersed in the name of the trinity
  • Teaching them – teach them to obey and keep all things in which Jesus commands
  • I am with you always to the end of the age
    • Jesus is referred to as Immanuel “God with us”
    • We have Jesus with us at all times


  • We are commanded to make disciples of all nations
  • We are to teach and baptize them
  • God is with us in this effort

Acts 17
Purpose of Acts can be found in Luke 1:1-4 = “So that you may know the promise about the things which you have been taught”

  • The certainty that the Gospel will spread through out the Earth
  • Themes of promises made in Luke’s Gospel and then fulfilled in Acts
  • Bold proclamation of the Gospel by the early church in the book of Acts
  • Persecution will come for proclaiming the good news
    • (v3-9) The Gospel is proclaimed in Thessalonica and persecution comes. Paul goes to Berea before trouble hits.
    • (v10-15) The Gospel is proclaimed in Berea and the persecutors come after him. Paul goes to Athens before trouble hits.
    • (v16-21) Paul is grieved by the amount of idols in the city.
    • (v17) Paul preaches to the people
    • (v18) Epicurean and Stoic Philosophers come to question Paul
  • They thought that Paul was introducing a new male and female god and they had interest of adding them to their many gods
  • Paul knew what they were thinking and did NOT let them synchronize Jesus into their many gods
    • (v19-21) Philosophers request more teaching from Paul
    • (v22-34) Paul’s Response
  • (v22-24) The Unknown God
    • Paul uses the unknown god to bring attention to the culture
    • Paul was NOT saying that Jesus was this unknown god but was using this as a in road to bring truth to their life
  • (v24) God does not dwell among the people like what you believe about your idols
  • (v25) God sustains all things
    • Man is Not self sufficient
  • (v26) God created all things and is sovereign
    • Man is Not in control of his destiny
  • (v27) That man should seek Him
  • (v28-29) Paul takes a small amount of truth from their pagan philosophy and proclaims the truth of the Gospel
  • (v30) Paul calls them to repent of their evil ways
  • (v31) Because God will judge at the coming of the age through His appointed Judge (Jesus)
Application of Acts 17

  • We must be burdened for the ones who do not know God.
  • We must develop our skills in presenting the Gospel
  • We must learn to expose false ideas that are in contrary to the truth of the Gospel
  • We must learn   the cultures we are trying to reach.

1Corinthians 9:19-23

  • Written to unify the church by informing them that they are Christ’s and belong to Him through the blood on the cross
  • All things are lawful for us in Christ. However Not all things are profitable for progressing the message of truth. (1Corinthians 8)
  • Do Not do anything that will cause another brother to stumble or to fall into sin but do everything to build and unify the church and the message of Christ.
  • I will do all things in the name and support of the Gospel even if it costs me my rights as a person or believer in Christ.

Session 4 _ Dr. Keith Eitel

Is there an “Only” in Only Scripture or Only Culture? Or is it Scripture and Culture?
-Somehow there should be a lead into the culture with the text

Text and Context Tensions in Doing Theology
-We must love people more than escorting them straight to hell by not sharing the Gospel
-Salvation is the transformation of social structures
-Every culture is tainted by sin, yours mine and ours
-The only standard is God’s standard, not the white man, the black man or any other man

Session 5 _ Dr. Malcolm Yarnell _ Globalized Theological Choices for the 21st Century

Understanding our Choices depends upon a Proper Terminology


  • Reveals the principles by which God judges us and therefore remains the center standard for all human contact (BFM)
  • Scripture is the Judge (Romans 10:17)
  • The Dynamic, Sufficient Word of God = Isaiah 55:10-11; Romans 10:5-10; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Hebrews 4:12-13
  • The Word of Christ generates personal faith in the hearer (the preacher is merely a tool of God to speak the word of God)
  • The Word of God does NOT need to be made relevant to the masses in order to save the lost
  • The Word is sufficiently powerful. The preacher is instrumentally dependent. The Word works through the preacher, not because of the preacher.


  • The distinctive ideas, customs, social behavior, products or way of life of a particular society, people or period.
  • This in reality is NOT a Biblical term. However, it is a term we can use in a Biblical way.
  • ”He who can read the style of a culture can interpret and insert a religious style”
  • Is Culture a Scriptural Term? NO but there are 2 Near terms in Scripture
    • ”Ethnos” – People Group (more about the people and not culture)
    • ”World” or “Age” -Doesn’t discuss ways or thoughts but time period
  • All Nature/Culture is under Divine condemnation and judgement  because of universal sin
    • God has wrath for ALL NATIONS
  • All Nature/Culture has the grace of God for restoration available for them from their universal sin
    • Christians should have concern for the culture
    • Christians should engage the culture (Do Not remain separate, even though we are resident aliens)
    • Christians should be intent about evangelizing the culture
  • Syncretism is a constant threat to the Christian that is engaged in sharing the Gospel

3-Christ & Culture

  •  H.Richard Neibuhr
  •  Craig Carter, Rethinking Christ and Culture
    • Both liberals and evangelicals agree with the Neibuhr paradigm
  • Yoder, A Free Church Response
    • God works through the Culture more than the church – God working through cultural heroes
    • Celebrity being an ambassador for Church
  • The Church finds it relevance in the Culture – meaning of God is found in the cultural setting
    • Army commander claiming a sign from God to support a campaign (Divine approval wrapped up in the culture)
      • You would not want to baptise an entire nation because of victory
  • Yoder finds the way to impact culture is to be outside the power structure of the culture. However, the only way to impact the culture is to preach the Gospel.


  • Relevance is a temporary phenomenon. Because information, society and culture are always changing.
  • Should we synchronize with the culture? No we must hold to the scripture that never changes
  • Bonhoeffer “the way the church speaks to the world must..form a profound knowledge of the world, be relevant to its present day reality”
  • For Bonhoeffer, speaking to the relevant word to the world required hearing the words “against us” demanding repentance to receive forgiveness of sins

5-The Cultural Mandate

6-The Great Commission

  • There is NO command for us to over take the culture
  • The Great Commission is our mandate => To hear the Word and be the agent by the Word. Not the Culture!

7-The Global Options Before Us: The Cultural Comprehension

  • We are Not to go out an transform the culture
  • We are to go out and speak the Word
  • Holiness must be preserved in the church while engaging the culture

If you are interested these Professors and Theologians have several books out on the market right now and can be purchased at your local Lifeway store.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: