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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Monday, June 24, 2024
The Echo

Renewing the supremacy of Christ

By Kristin Schwartz | Echo

Nearly 1,500 students gathered in Rediger Chapel on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and about 700 on Monday and Tuesday evenings, for Spiritual Renewal this week. Dr. Erik Thoennes, professor of biblical and theological studies at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., spoke at the event for the fourth time.

"There are some speakers that every generation of Taylor students should know," Campus Pastor Randy Gruendyke said. "Dr. Thoennes is one of them."

Thoennes preached a four-message series titled "The Supremacy and Sufficiency of Christ."

"I think there is a way of approaching Jesus that I'm hoping to bring a little bit of a corrective to," Thoennes said. "He's not only sufficient for meeting our needs, he is supreme and Lord of our lives."

Thoennes began his series in Monday's chapel with a message focused on Jesus' question to his disciples in Matthew 16: "Who do you say that I am?" The question has been answered in many different ways since Jesus asked it, but Thoennes pointed his audience back to the Bible to see Jesus as he really is.

"One of the reasons we can struggle with really understanding and believing who we are in Christ is because we don't know him well enough," Thoennes said. He believes answering Jesus' question correctly is the beginning of a right relationship with Christ.

On Monday night, Thoennes shifted to the main Scripture passage for the series, Hebrews 1:1-4. He said that after we know who Jesus is, we all still need to know him better. Thoennes said that Christ is both sufficient and supreme, adding that we often have trouble submitting to his supremacy.

"It seems we put a lot of emphasis on going to Jesus to meet our needs, but the need to bow the knee before him as our Lord can get a little less emphasis than that," Thoennes said.

After the Monday night session, Thoennes spent some time on stage answering questions from the audience on a range of theological topics. He covered everything from prayer and the Trinity to the doctrine of Jesus' ascension

"Personally, I thought that the Q-and-A was a great time to interact with students, especially (for students) to actually respond and engage with the speaker and . . . take what he said to heart," sophomore Landon Stuart said.

During the Tuesday night session, Thoennes spoke in more depth about Jesus' identity and how Christians react to it. He used the account of the paralytic in Mark 2, emphasizing the revelation of Jesus' equality with God. Thoennes said the response to this revelation must be worship and obedience.

"I thought it was an interesting way of putting the story," junior Abby Fisher said. "We often kind of glaze over it." She added that she liked the way Thoennes encouraged students not to get used to the Bible, but to instead let it continually move them to worship Jesus.

Thoennes concluded the series on Wednesday morning in chapel. He challenged students to reach out to others based on their knowledge of Christ. He said believers should have a posture of life that ushers others into the presence of God.

"Out of Christ's sufficiency and supremacy we should feel able to be ministers and represent Jesus before others," he said.

The series never ceased revolving around the question of Jesus' identity. Thoennes shared his personal answer to the question.

"He's God," Thoennes said. "He's one of us as well. And in that he becomes our Savior and our Lord."