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Resources for Wheaton Theology Conference on N. T. Wright

2010 Conference Update: APT, Wheaton, AETE, ASM, Barth, Duke, AAR, ETS, and SBL

Here are a bunch of conferences in 2010 that I am attending or would like to attend.  I have put them in chronological order. I have also pasted some of the paper proposals that I have submitted to various conferences.  I am for sure presenting a paper at SBL and ASM.

The Association for Practical Theology (April 2010)

I would have liked to attend The Association for Practical Theology meeting.  It is being held this weekend April 9-11 in Boston.  Thomas Groome, Bryan Stone, Nancy Ammerman, and Dorothy Bass would all have been fun to hear. 

Wheaton Theology Conference (April 2010)

I am going to the Wheaton Theology Conference April 16-17 that focuses on the work of N.T. Wright.  The wonderful array of speakers includes Wright himself, and other theologically-interested New Testament scholars: Markus Bockmuehl from Oxford University, Edith M. Humphrey from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Marianne Meye Thompson from Fuller Theological Seminary, Sylvia Keesmaat from the Institute of Christian Studies, Nicholas Perrin from Wheaton College, and Richard Hays from Duke.  It also includes theologians Kevin J. Vanhoozer from Wheaton College and Jeremy Begbie from Duke as well as Keesmaat’s husband Brian Walsh, the Christian Reformed campus minister at the University of Toronto.  All of these people will be a delight to hear.  No wonder 1100 people are coming. 

Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education (June 2010)

I am also returning to Chicago (after baby #3 is born around May 12th) to The Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education (AETE) meeting (June 17-18).

The American Society of Missiology (June 2010)

I will be presenting at The American Society of Missiology (ASM) meeting (June 18-20) at the Techny Towers Conference & Retreat Center in Northbrook, IL near Chicago.  Here is my proposal: 

Bio: Andy Rowell is a third year Th.D. student at Duke Divinity School.  His work focuses on new ecclesial formation with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lesslie Newbigin and John Howard Yoder as his principal interlocutors.  His committee includes Curtis Freeman, Stanley Hauerwas, Richard Hays, Geoffrey Wainwright, and Laceye Warner.  At Duke Divinity School, he has been the teaching assistant for Geoffrey Wainwright's course "The Theology of Lesslie Newbigin"  and twice for Ken Carder's course "The Local Church in Mission" in which David Bosch's Transforming Mission was the foundational text.  Andy is presenting a paper on John Howard Yoder at the Gospel in Our Culture Network forum at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting in November 2010.  Before coming to Duke, he served as the Associate Pastor of Granville Chapel in Vancouver, British Columbia and then taught for two years as Visiting Instructor of Christian Educational Ministries at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.    

Proposal: Recovering Bonhoeffer's Life Together for the Missiologists 

Bonhoeffer's book Life Together is usually thought of as a spiritual formation text, not a missiological one.  This paper argues instead that like a missiologist, Bonhoeffer wrestles with the contextualization of the gospel in a particular time and place in Life Together.  For Bonhoeffer, the focus of his missiological reflection is the witness of the Christian community.  Bonhoeffer writes Life Together for the purpose of furthering discussion about what it might mean to be the church in Germany in 1938.  He begins the Preface (omitted from the earlier English translations) with these words, "The subject matter I am presenting here is such that any further development can take place only through a common effort" (25).  He goes on to explain that the entire German church needs to engage in a discussion about what faithful "new ecclesial forms" (25) might look like.  Bonhoeffer is attempting to navigate what Lesslie Newbigin calls the "three-cornered pattern of relationship" (The Open Secret, 185, Cf. 149, 153) of missiological reflection: (1) ecumenical theology, (2) local culture, and (3) Scripture.  With his father being the leading psychiatrist in Germany and his frequent international travel, Bonhoeffer had become a keen observer of local culture.  He offers the underground seminary in Finkenwald which had been necessitated by and uniquely adapted to local circumstances as "one individual contribution" (25)--one particular synthesis--of what it might mean to be a faithful Christian community in that time and place.  However, he is also particularly concerned to trouble simplistic accommodation with local culture and he employs a rigorous theological filter and fresh readings of Scripture to do so.  In particular, he stresses the difference between Christian "spiritual" (geistische / pneumatische) community and shallow, carnal, sentimental "psychological" (seelische / psychische) community.  In missiological terms, Bonhoeffer is attempting to warn the Christian community of over-contextualization which leads to syncretism while also trying to further the missiological discussion by proffering concrete practices of faithful Christian community adapted to that context.  

Karl Barth Conference (June 2010)

There is also an interesting conference that starts right after ASM that I wish I could go to. Karl Barth Conference is “The Church Is As Such A Missionary Church”: Barth as a ‘Missional’ Theologian. The conference will take place in Princeton, NJ from June 20 to June 23, 2010.  Eberhard Busch, Barth’s biographer and friend, will present. 

2010 Convocation & Pastors’ School at Duke Divinity School (October 2010)

N. T. Wright, Rob Bell and Andy Crouch will be at Duke’s Pastor’s Conference--the 2010 Convocation & Pastors’ School--on October 11-12, 2010 in Durham, NC.  The audio is up at this iTunes link (Oct 28 2010) or look at Duke's iTunes podcasts at: http://itunes.duke.edu/

American Academy of Religion (October-November 2010)

My paper proposal for American Academy of Religion (AAR) meeting was not accepted.  I have not decided if I am going to AAR.  It is October 30-November 1, 2010 in Atlanta.  Here was my proposal:

Letters and Papers from Prison as Gifford Lectures: Bonhoeffer’s “a religionless time,” Taylor’s A Secular Age, and Hauerwas’s “Constantinianism.”

Program Unit: Bonhoeffer: Theology and Social Analysis Group

Abstract

From April to August 1944, after being in prison for a year, Dietrich Bonhoeffer unveiled to his friend Eberhard Bethge a constellation of generative terms: “the world come of age,” “the godlessness of the world,” “a non-religious way,” “a religionless time,” “secular interpretation,” and “this-worldliness of Christianity.” The June 2010 release of the critical edition of Letters and Papers from Prison in English will pique further interest in these phrases. Taking into account Bonhoeffer’s earlier forays with these terms, this paper argues that these nine theological letters present a response to secularization not fundamentally in conflict with those of Charles Taylor (1998) and Stanley Hauerwas (2000) fifty years later in their Gifford Lectures. This paper will describe the roots of these phrases in Bonhoeffer’s earlier work and then note how Taylor and Hauerwas confirm and extend Bonhoeffer’s work at the analytical and social levels.

Evangelical Theological Society (November 2010)

I am also planning on attending the Evangelical Theological Society meeting which meets before SBL November 17-19, 2010.  I have not yet heard back about my paper proposals to them.

Here they are:

Bonhoeffer’s non-religious, concrete, worldly ecclesiology: Letters and Papers from Prison as a resource for evangelicals

From April to August 1944, after being in prison for a year, Dietrich Bonhoeffer unveiled to his friend Eberhard Bethge a constellation of generative phrases: “the world come of age,” “the godlessness of the world,” “a non-religious way,” “a religionless time,” “secular interpretation,” and “this-worldliness of Christianity.” The June 2010 release of the critical edition of Letters and Papers from Prison in English will pique further interest in these opaque phrases. This paper argues that the letters contribute to an ecclesiology that is fundamentally consistent with Bonhoeffer’s earlier work and can serve as a paradigm for evangelicals as they encounter secularization.

“One, holy, catholic, and apostolic” nondenominational churches: John Howard Yoder’s ecclesiology as a resource for evangelicals

An Anabaptist teaching at the University of Notre Dame, who studied in Basel with Karl Barth, John Howard Yoder (1927-1997) argued that free church ecclesiology can indeed conform to the Nicene Creed’s description of the church as “one, holy, catholic and apostolic.” Evangelicals, especially nondenominational, baptist, and pentecostal evangelicals, are frequently criticized for their weak ecclesiology. Yoder’s ecclesiology has the potential to shore up theologically shallow ecclesiology in free churches and to inspire renewed faithful practices in the local church throughout the ecumenical world.

Society of Biblical Literature (November 2010)

I'm going to the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) meeting in Atlanta from November 20-23, 2010 and presenting a paper at the Gospel in Our Culture Network (GOCN) Forum on Missional Hermeneutics.  I have pasted the abstract below. 

John Howard Yoder’s Missional Exiles and Jeremiah 29: A Case Study for Missional Hermeneutics

In my doctoral work at Duke with ethicist Stanley Hauerwas, New Testament scholar Richard Hays, and missiologist Laceye Warner, I have been exploring John Howard Yoder’s missional ecclesiology. At the 2008 and 2009 GOCN forums at SBL, there has been significant discussion about what constitutes a missional hermeneutic. This paper argues that Yoder’s use of Jeremiah 29 represents the potential and pitfalls of a missional hermeneutic. Mennonite theologian, ethicist and biblical interpreter Yoder (1927-1997) argued forcefully that the church should establish an identity distinctive from the surrounding world. He argued that God’s people should always see themselves as people in exile but that this stance has often been lost since Constantine. However, the church is not distinctive for its own sake. Rather, it is “For the Nations” as he titled one of his last books. The people of God are told by God to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile” (Jer 29:7). The distinctiveness of the Christian community’s life together will embody the good news of the reign of God to the world. This set of ideas constitutes a missional exile hermeneutic which has fueled rich and evocative readings of Scripture by Yoder which New Testament scholars like Hays have praised. Furthermore, the Christian ethics Yoder promoted continues to inspire; at least seven books were published in 2009-2010 on Yoder. However, Yoder’s emphasis on the exilic character of Christian identity has begun to receive significant criticism. His critics argue that Yoder’s presupposition that the church is always to be on the move in mission has led him to downplay biblical texts that seem to support settling down, institution building, structure, and formation. Peter Ochs, Paul Kissling, and Michael Cartwright have noted how his use of Jeremiah 29 is a particularly egregious example of the imposition of his presuppositions on the text. Yoder’s example suggests the vitality of a type of missional hermeneutic and cautions against its potential excesses.

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