Evangelical Theology—Challenges and Opportunities

Many theologians, pastors, and lay people who have used the term “Evangelical” to describe themselves recently have become quite wary of the designation.

This is largely due to the way the media has hijacked the term to describe a certain segment of the American population who are typically identified with a narrow range of political and ideological views.

But “Evangelical” was not always a term with such a narrow meaning.

On October 20-21, 2017 (Friday evening, all-day Saturday) Northeastern Seminary will host a theology conference to explore the full-orbed meaning of “Evangelical.” This conference will be co-sponsored with the Canadian-American Theological Association.

Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Richard Mouw, Professor of Faith and Public Life at Fuller Theological Seminary (where he previously served as President for twenty years).

Dr. Mouw is the author of numerous books, including Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World (rev. ed. IVP, 2010), Called to the Life of the Mind: Some Advice for Evangelical Scholars (Eerdmans, 2014), and his autobiography, Adventures in Evangelical Civility: A Lifelong Quest for Common Ground (Brazos, 2016).

Dr. Mouw’s will give two lectures on the theme of the conference: Evangelical Theology: New Challenges, New Opportunities.

These lectures will explore the continuing value of the term “Evangelical” in the twenty-first century, while tracing the history of its meaning and usage over the past hundred years.

  1. A public lecture on Friday evening, October 20: New Challenges for Evangelical Theology
  2. The keynote lecture for the conference on Saturday, October 21: New Opportunities for Evangelical Theology

Besides Dr. Mouw’s lectures, we are expecting to have a wide range of papers related to the conference theme.

Our first such conference in 2013, on New Creation, had 65 papers presented; and our more recent conference in 2016, on Participation in God’s Mission, had 45 papers.

Interested scholars, pastors, and students are invited to propose papers for the conference. You may download the call for papers here. The deadline for proposals is June 1, 2017.

Once the conference program is decided, further information will be made available on the dedicated Northeastern Seminary website for the conference. The site will include online registration as we get closer to the conference.

Graduate students, post-docs, and pre-tenured faculty are invited to submit finished papers by September 15 for the Jack and Phyllis Middleton Memorial Award for Excellence in Bible and Theology.

In a follow-up post, I will describe something of the history and mission of the conference co-sponsor, the Canadian-American Theological Association, which began in 1990 (under the name the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association) specifically as an alternative to the narrowness of the way “Evangelical” was being used in the USA.

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Why Christians Don’t Need to Be Threatened by Evolution

A few months ago I posted briefly about my appointment as a theological fellow for BioLogos. In that post I explained a bit about the history of BioLogos and why they appointed three theology fellows this year (of which I am one).

My task as a theology fellow will be to write six or more blog posts on the topic of biblical faith and evolution—on topics ranging from cosmic creation and human distinctiveness to the origin of evil, divine providence, and eschatology.

The series is tentatively titled Biblical Faith and Evolution: Loving the Questions.

My first blog in the series, “Why Christians Don’t Need to Be Threatened by Evolution,”  appeared today on the BioLogos website.

You can read the whole post there and also post comments and questions in response.

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My next post in the series is called The Ancient Universe and the Cosmic Temple; it addresses the relationship of biblical creation accounts (especially Geneses 1) to what science tells us about the age and size of the universe.

The E-Word: Evangelicals and Evolution

I just watched an excellent TEDx Talk (17 minutes long) by a Christian biologist, April Maskiewicz, of Point Loma Nazarene University, on evangelicals and evolution.

She tells her own story of first rejecting Christianity because of the popular narrative that she had to choose between God and evolution (as competing worldviews), then coming to faith in Christ, while being an evolutionist.

She lucidly explains, then compassionately dispels, three myths often held by evangelical Christians about evolution.

Myth #1: All Christians think the same way as I do about evolution.

Myth #2: Evolution means “without a creator.”

Myth #3: If humans evolved from a common ancestor, this makes us less special.

It’s well worth watching.

This is the link to the talk.