Current Academic Year
D. A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
A Firm Foundation: Six Pillars of Faith in the midst of Suffering and Death
Without exception, human beings come face to face with suffering and evil. We may entertain only the vaguest and most cliché-driven grasp of such matters until we ourselves suffer, or until we ourselves recognize the sheer malignity of evil in ourselves or others—and then suddenly we swirl around and gradually sink into faith-devouring despair. Far better is it to build the mental and emotional structures, generated by Scripture itself, that train us how to think about suffering and evil before the evil day comes. This lecture seeks to establish six major pillars that together support a way of thinking about such matters—or, to change the metaphor, a kind of prophylactic medicine to ward off the most debilitating elements of despair.
Chapel (10/1): “The God Who Lifts Me from the Miry Bog” (Psa 40)
J. Todd Billings, Western Theological Seminary (Holland, MI)
Hope for Mortals: The Church’s Witness in the Midst of Dying and Death
Often Christians inhabit a theological vision guided by instrumental outcomes – a growth in the evangelistic and social outreach of the church, a revitalization of community and discipleship. But what happens to the church’s witness when all of our grand plans and visions for change stop short against the brick wall of death? In this lecture, J. Todd Billings reflects upon the way in which death, although the last enemy to be destroyed through Christ, also has the possibility of exposing the nature of a Christian hope which goes beyond trusting in our own efforts and plans.
Chapel (10/22): “Hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-4)
Matthew Levering, Mundelein Seminary (Mundelein, IL)
How We Die: From Sherwin Nuland to the Early Christians and Back Again
In his well-known book How We Die, the late medical doctor Sherwin Nuland influentially argued that death in our day has become dehumanized and depersonalized. As a consequence, he suggested, the dying process now involves unnecessary suffering as doctors try everything to save us from death. Worst of all, death has become consumed by the doctor-patient relationship, and often by a clinging to impossible hopes about the extension of our earthly life, rather than being a time to focus on our other relationships and on bringing our earthly lives to a close. In this light, Levering will ask what difference Christ makes. By examining stories about the deaths of early Christians (not including martydoms), he will consider how we die in Christ and how this should be combined with our legitimate desire for top-notch medical care.
Alan Torrance, University of St. Andrews (Scotland)
Alan Torrance is still crafting his lecture, please check back in later for updates, or subscribe to our E-newsletter in the top right of our homepage.