It has been a busy and fruitful semester, and year, at the Henry Center.
Our Scripture and Ministry series brought several incisive speakers to wintry Deerfield. In January, we welcomed to campus Dr. Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. Dr. Dever delivered a lecture on church membership that surveyed the biblical, historical, and theological case for membership. In April, Dr. Craig Blomberg of Denver Seminary covered a biblical theology of wealth and possessions in a stimulating and wide-ranging lecture (see the above link to access the resources of each speaker). With both of our distinguished speakers, the Center was pleased to host question-and-answer sessions with area pastors in addition to dinners with friends of the Center. In the year to come, the Center anticipates an intellectual and spiritual harvest from lectures by pastor Dr. Phil Ryken of Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, PA (October 1, 2008) and theologians David Wells (October 29, 2008), Thomas Oden (January 21, 2009), and Esther Meek (March 18-19, 2009). Click here to read more about these future lectures.
The Center kicked off its Timothy Series in January with a visit from Pastor Scott Chapman of the Chapel in Grayslake, IL. Following Chapman’s profitable visit, we hosted Lee Eclov of the Village Church of Lincolnshire (IL), Steve Farish of Crossroads Church in Grayslake, IL and Stan Archie of Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in Kansas City, MO. Each of these events featured Tuesday and Thursday chapel sermons, followed by a free lunch featuring discussion of the call and responsibilities of the pastor. Click here to listen to these resources. The Center staff has been especially encouraged by the response of our MDiv students to the Timothy Series. At a recent event, two students remarked that the series had afforded them the best guidance related to ministry of their seminary experience. This was a rewarding assessment for a program began just four months ago.
In April 2008, the Center hosted a debate on religious pluralism between Dr. Harold Netland of TEDS and Dr. Paul Knitter of Union Theological Seminary (NY). Viewed by a crowd of nearly 300 people that stretched into the adjoining hallway, the debate was live-blogged, webcasted to a live audience, and a major success. Here is the link to the detailed and helpful live-blog. Future debates are in the works and will feature the same brand of high-level conversation that is at once engaging and provocative.
The Center is pleased to sponsor symposia in which we consider issues related to the theological and intellectual life of the TEDS community. These discussions, which take shape from a presentation, lecture, or question-and-answer session, allow the Center to supplement its regular programmatic calendar with opportunities to sponsor conversation based in the thought-life trends of the seminary. The first iteration of the Trinity Symposia was a discussion between Center Director Doug Sweeney and TEDS MDiv student Collin Hansen on Hansen’s new book, Young, Restless, Reformed (Crossway, 2008). Find the audio and video of the event here. The Center desires to consider the key trends among the evangelical community in the current day, and this event yielded helpful reflection on movements among the younger wing of American evangelicalism.
Through the Christ on Campus Initiative, the Center sponsored the publishing of two articles in the past year. Intending these articles to be of wide-ranging utility, we do hope that you will consider perusing Craig L. Blomberg’s “Jesus of Nazareth: How Historians Can Know Him and Why It Matters” and Graham Cole’s “Do Christians Have a Worldview?” It is our particular concern that these materials reach the hands of students encountering crucial questions of faith and theology. We encourage you to pass them on to any who may benefit from them.
Faculty members gathered at four separate times in the school year to discuss papers submitted by their colleagues. The Deerfield Dialogue Group, sponsored by the Center, allows seminary professors of varying disciplines to avoid academic hyper-specialization and to learn from one another over a meal. We are pleased at the attendance this program has drawn since its inception and anticipate it bringing similar enrichment to the TEDS faculty in the coming year.
In the coming weeks and months, the Center will sponsor international conferences in Hong Kong, China (May 27-29, 2008) and Nairobi, Kenya (August 12-14, 2008). HCTU staff will travel with TEDS faculty members to these distant locales for important discussion with other Christians about the challenges of evangelical identity and theological education. Read descriptions of these conferences here. In the spirit of our namesake, Dr. Carl F. H. Henry, we desire to serve and learn from theological educators from all corners of the earth. These conferences will allow us to accomplish these aims as we form ministry partnerships of a value that are difficult to quantify.
Following its internationally oriented summer calendar, the Center will inaugurate a fresh season of on-campus events. Please do consider joining us for them. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the TEDS community, our friends beyond the campus, and the broader Christian community. We give thanks for a profitable 2007-08 calendar year and are hopeful that the coming year will bring kingdom partnership and advancement of greater magnitude and glory to God.