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American culture is in crisis. Whether it is the latest comments by a presidential frontrunner or the most recent stories in the news, evangelicals are confronted by a culture that is increasingly hostile to the gospel. 

So, what does it look like to engage the culture as Christians without losing the gospel? How can Christians apply the gospel to everyday life? Believers must be equipped to take the unchanging truths of the Bible and engage the shifting culture around us.

Join us for the third annual ERLC National Conference on the theme “Onward” as we prepare you for gospel-centered cultural engagement. On August 25-26, this event will welcome key speakers including Russell Moore, Matt Chandler, Andy Crouch, Bryan Loritts, Andy Stanley, Jackie Hill Perry, and Gabe Lyons.

Through plenaries, panel discussions, and breakout sessions, this conference will equip you to apply the gospel to many aspects of cultural engagement: pop culture, the arts, politics, sports, race, sexuality, parenting, millennials, and everyday life.

LifeWay Christian Resources will provide a full service on-site bookstore throughout the conference, packed with resources to equip attendees to engage culture while maintaining gospel fidelity.

Also, ERLC will be hosting a free post-conference, “2016 and Beyond: Politics, Religious Liberty, and the Future of the Church,” on Saturday morning. More details to come.



The event will take place at the iconic Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN. Single/double occupancy rooms are $189/night plus a daily resort fee of $18/day. Rooms can be booked online here or by calling 615-889-1000 and mentioning you are attending the ERLC National Conference. Check in is 3:00 p.m. CT with check out at 11:00 a.m. CT.


Q: Can I get a refund if I am unable to attend?

A: If you need to cancel before July 15, 2017, please visit the registration page or contact us at [email protected] and you will receive a full refund. If you are cancelling on or after July 15, 2017, no refunds will be provided.

Q: I cannot attend the conference. Will you offer live-streaming of the event?

A: We are planning to live-stream the plenary addresses on erlc.com and post those sessions on our site shortly after the event.

Q: Can my church simulcast the event?

A: A simulcast of the National Conference will be available for free. A simulcast is a live internet broadcast of an event from a single venue into multiple venues – such as your own environment. Thus a simultaneous event occurs in both the origin venue and in many satellite locations — your church, home or laptop. Learn more about the simulcast here.


Check-in will occur Thursday, August 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The ERLC National bookstore and exhibit area will also be open during this time.

The following schedule is subject to change.

Thursday, August 25 | Afternoon Session | 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Keynote | Bryan Loritts | Right Color, Wrong Culture: Pursuing Multi-ethnic Cultural Engagement

Talk | Mike Cosper | The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long for and Echo

Talk | Trip Lee | The Good Life: Christian Hip Hop and Cultural Engagement

Round Table | State of the Art: How the Gospel Shapes our Engagement with the Arts | Mike Cosper, Alissa Wilkinson, Karen Swallow Prior, Steven Bush

Talk | Ben Stuart | God, Guys, and Girls: Pursuing Sexual Purity in a Porn Culture

Talk | Gabe Lyons | Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme

Panel | 2016 and Beyond: Reshaping Evangelical Political Engagement | Andrew Walker, Bruce Ashford, Jennifer Marshall, Steven Harris

(Dinner Break)


Thursday, August 25 | Evening Session | 7:00-9:20 p.m.

Talk | DA Horton | For the City: Race, Urban Ministry, and Cultural Engagement

A Conversation with Russell Moore & Andy Stanley | Leadership, Preaching, and Cultural Engagement

Navigating the Law While Engaging the Culture | Erik Stanley and Nathan Lino 

Panel | Shepherding the Flock: Pastoral Ministry and Cultural Engagement | Dan Darling, Robby Gallaty, Bryan Lorrits, David Prince, Jimmy Scroggins


Friday, August 26 | Morning Session | 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

First Breakout Session | Option 1 | Sexuality, Religious Liberty, and Cultural Engagement | Andrew Walker, Barrett Duke, Jennifer Marshall, Erik Stanley

First Breakout Session | Option 2 | Parenting and Cultural Engagement | Daniel Patterson, Nicole Lino, Randy Stinson, Jimmy Scroggins, David Prince

Keynote | Andy Crouch | Authority, Vulnerability, and the Drama of Leadership

Panel | Every Square Inch: How Cultural Engagement Intersects with Everyday Life | Daniel Patterson, DA Horton, Jared Wilson, Matt Anderson, Trevin Wax,  Jackie Hill Perry

Keynote | Matt Chandler | Unbuckling the Bible Belt: Cultural Engagement in the Capital of Cultural Christianity

(Lunch Break)


Friday, August 26 | Afternoon Breakout Sessions | 2:15-5:00 p.m.

Second Breakout Session | Option 1 | Millennials and Cultural Engagement | Dean Inserra, Ben Stuart, Mike Glenn, JR Vassar, Jackie HIll Perry

Second Breakout Session | Option 2 | Race and Cultural Engagement | Steven Harris, Trillia Newbell, Jemar Tisby, DA Horton, Matthew Hall

Third Breakout Session | Option 1 | Sports and Cultural Engagement | David Prince

Third Breakout Session | Option 2 | Women and Cultural Engagement | Lindsay Swartz, Trillia Newbell, Karen Swallow Prior, Jennifer Marshall, Jackie Hill Perry, Alissa Wilkinson

(Dinner Break)


Friday, August 26 | Evening Session | 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Keynote | Russell Moore | Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel

Talk | Greg Thornbury | Cain, Abel, and Kanye: The Gospel and Pop Culture

Talk | Robby Gallaty | Making Disciples who Engage the Culture


Saturday, August 27 | Post Conference | 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Post Conference | The 2016 Presidential Race, Religious Liberty, and the Future of the Church

Keynote | David French

Panel | 2016 and the Future of Evangelical Politics | Phillip Bethancourt, Russell Moore, David French, Mike Cosper, Erik Stanley

Keynote | Religious Liberty and the Future: The Human Cost | Erik Stanley and Kelvin Cochran

Questions and Ethics | Russell Moore

Keynote | Rod Dreher

Panel | Houston, We Have A Problem: Does Religious Liberty Have a Future? | Andrew Walker, Christiana Holcomb, Rod Dreher, Jennifer Marshall, Steven Harris, Trevin Wax



Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24