Fruitful, Faithful Presence in the Academy: Part I

Alan G. Padgett, DPhil (Oxford), Professor of Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN).

Fruitful, Faithful Presence: Living Theologically in the Midst of the Academy, the Midwest Faculty Conference is just around the corner (Cedar Campus, MI, June 22 – 28).* On Monday, I had the opportunity to interview Alan G. Padgett, DPhil (Oxford), Professor of Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN), regarding the material he will be presenting. This is the first of two posts.

As we talked, I appreciated Padgett’s commitment to “represent classic Christianity” and for theology to be “a way of loving God with all your mind. . . . a natural expression of Christian belief because it’s thinking about God. And that means that Christians – including Christian academics – are doing theology all the time.” I’m looking forward to learning more about his “mutuality model,” which explores how theology overlays with other disciplines instead of serving as the queen of the sciences or the irrelevant fifth wheel.

At Fruitful, Faithful Presence, Padgett will present various “niches” in Christian life and practice wherein theology can live and thrive, then turn to “theology as scientia and Christian Scholarship” to discuss academic theology and the way this plays a part in Christian scholarship in general. He will also probe, “Why have Christians engaged in academic theology over the millenia?  What common & spiritual Christian practices are the natural home and ‘soil’ for vital theology?” For those interested in more specifics . . .

  • Session 1: Love God with All you Are (mind included).  What is Theology anyway? Theology as Prayer.
    • Lessons (Pericopae):  Matt. 6:5-15, 22:35-40 (with ref. to Deut. 6:4-5 & Lev. 19:18); Ex. 32:7-14;
  • Session 2: Theology as Worship and Mission
    • Lessons: Rev. 4:7-11.  Matt. 6:5-15, 28:16-20;  Is. 6:1-8 (with reference to whole chapter).
  • Session 3: Theology as Wisdom and Beauty
    • Lessons (Pericopae) : Prov. 8:22-36; Phil. 2:1-18, 4:8-9; Ps 96:1-13.
  • Session 4: Theology as Scientia and the place of theology in Christian Scholarship
    • Lessons: Prov. 1:1-8; I Cor. 1:18-25, I Cor. 2:1-5; I Cor. 2:12-3:1

If you are like myself and wish that you could be there, post-conference material will be available! AND that is particularly important. Why? Because when I asked Padgett if he had material which I could link to regarding the topic, he responded that this is his “first stab” at presenting the material to other scholars. As a matter of fact, Padgett’s using the speaking opportunity to refine material for a future publication on why Christians should engage in the theological enterprise at all, “The idea that there is an organic connection between the regular core Christian practices and theology. Theology naturally rises out of prayer, witness, apologetics, hymn-writing, building cathedrals. . . .” The book will be a short and readable piece by an academic theologian 🙂 What a joy to be part of the learning community known as InterVarsity‘s Faculty Ministry/Emerging Scholars Network. To God be the glory!

*Note: If you’re a faculty member and desire to participate in Fruitful, Faithful Presence (families welcome!), but have not registered, please click here.

To learn more about a Faculty Conference, which not only provides space for academic discussion and quiet reflection, but also welcomes and provides great time for singles, couples, and family, click here. To God be the glory!

Update: 6/12/2013, 8:46 AM.

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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