On March 8, 2013, Joni Eareckson Tada, founder and chief executive officer of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, pulled the curtain back on her own heart, marriage, and life journey, speaking on ”Disability and the Gospel” to a packed-out chapel on March 8. This conference is part of Biblical’s Conversations on Christianity & Culture lecture series. Jerry Borton, director of Joni and Friends Philadelphia; Dr. Michael Beates, Biblical alum and author; and Dr. Diane Langberg, psychologist and Biblical clinical faculty, joined Joni and advocated on behalf of those with disabilities.
Joni, who became paralyzed from the shoulders down as a result of a diving accident at 17, has allowed God to use her suffering as a platform for evidencing His love, goodness, sovereignty, and glory. She spoke of the rich, intimate relationship she shares with her husband, but also of the long, painful journey they’ve travelled. She transparently spoke of how her disability, recent battle with breast cancer, and chronic pain are a ”bruising of a blessing” and have ”driven her into the arms of [her] Savior.” She referred to her wheelchair as an instrument of her own sanctification and exhorted those in attendance with the truth that God will remove anything that stands in the way of relationship with Him, and how on this side of heaven, that is true healing.
Joni, Jerry, Mike, and Diane imparted a deeper theology of suffering and confidence in God’s goodness in the midst of suffering while challenging those in attendance to consider how they might develop reciprocating relationships with brothers and sisters with disabilities. There were not many, if any, who walked away from the conference unchanged.
Why Missional Theology is Right for the Church of the 21st Century
On November 12, 2012, Chris Wright was here and spoke to a packed house. If you were unable to join us for the evening or would like to listen again, check back here soon for our mp3 of the lecture.
The Rev. Dr. Chris Wright, Langham Partnership's International Director, is an Irishman who lives in London, with his heart firmly planted in the Majority World! Chris has pastored a local parish church, taught at a top seminary in India, served as President of a key Christian college, and authored 20 books including Old Testament Ethics and The Uniqueness of Jesus, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative, and The Mission of God's People (The Biblical Theology for Life).
Faithful Presence: Engaging Our Culture in the 21st Century
On Friday, December 2, Biblical Seminary held its fourth lecture in the series, Conversations on Christianity & Culture, featuring Dr. James Davison Hunter, author of To Change the World: the irony, tragedy, and possiblity of Christianity in the late modern world, and LaBrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Social Theory at the University of Virginia.
Faithful presence is not about changing culture, let alone the world, but instead emphasizes cooperation between individuals and institutions in order to make disciples and serve the common good. "If there are benevolent consequences of our engagement with the world," Hunter writes, "it is precisely because it is not rooted in a desire to change the world for the better but rather because it is an expression of a desire to honor the creator of all goodness, beauty, and truth, a manifestation of our loving obedience to God, and a fulfillment of God's command to love our neighbor."
The conference also featured special guests, Pennsylvania State Senator Stewart Greenleaf, and Katherine Leary Alsdorf, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Faith and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC. Senator Greenleaf shared his thoughts on a Faithful Presence in politics, and Ms. Alsdorf duiscussed Faithful Presence in the meaningful integration of people’s faith and their professional work.
The Biblical Call: A Christian Response to Human Trafficking and Sexual Abuse
Imagine a group of women held against their will after being gathered from all over the of world to be sold off like merchandise at a department store. Their only hope is the arrival of a hero to free them from their captivity.
Think this is a farfetched idea?
Human trafficking is not only a real problem in other parts of the world, but also in our own neighborhoods. It may not look like what you see on TV or in the movies, but human trafficking rings do exist. Unfortunately, they will often go unnoticed by almost everyone within the community.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to help those that are in need. Biblical Seminary hosted a three day conference entitled “The Biblical Call: A Christian Response to Human Trafficking and Sexual Abuse” which dealt with this very issue. Dr. Diane Langberg, Bethany Hoang, Pearl Kim, and Bob Morrison all delivered pertinent information on how this issue should be handled. The impact of the conference was felt by all of the attendees, and prompted the President of Biblical Seminary, Dr. Dave Dunbar, to state:
Proclaiming "freedom for the captives" is an essential part of the gospel according to Jesus (Luke 4:16-21). This conference challenged all of us to make that a serious part of our discipleship.
Playing God: Christian Reflections on the Use and Misuse of Power
On Wednesday, May 26, 2010, a capacity crowd enjoyed an interactive lecture with author Andy Crouch. The topic was "Playing God: Christian Reflections of the Use and Misuse of Power" which included a presentation by Andy Crouch followed by a spirited question and answer session.
Andy is the author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, winner of Christianity Today’s 2009 Book Award for Christianity and Culture and named one of the best books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly, Relevant, Outreach, and Leadership. A senior editor at Christianity Today International, he has served as executive producer of the documentary films Where Faith and Culture Meet andRound Trip and was editorial director of the Christian Vision Project from 2005 to 2008.
Click on the links below to view the video presentation from the event:
On Monday, February 1, 2010, numerous attendees enjoyed an interactive session discussing the role of theology in worship with Dr. Jeremy Begbie. The topic was "Theology & the Arts" and was moderated by Dr. Ron Matthews. Along with a discussion and luncheon during the afternoon, Dr. Begbie presented a musical performance and lecture on theology and the arts that evening.
Dr. Begbie is known for his writing and lecturing in the subdiscipline of theology which examines the relationship between theology and the arts. In September 1997 he founded the Theology Through the Arts project, whose primary aim is "to discover and demonstrate ways in which the arts can contribute towards the renewal of Christian theology". Aspects of the project include conversation amongst artists and theologians, academic lectures, publications, and arts festivals.