The shape of Christianity in the world today will be explored during a forthcoming conference on the campus of Georgetown College. “World Without End: The New Shape of World Christianity” is the theme for the two-day conference featuring world-class scholars discussing issues related to church growth, immigration, and pluralism. Scheduled for Thurs, Jan. 26 and Fri, Jan. 27, it is hosted by the school’s Center for Christian Discernment and Academic Leadership and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
This conference seeks to explore the changing landscape of how the world looks in terms of Christianity both near and far away. Organizers note that while the American church is struggling and shrinking, the rest of the world is growing. The southern hemisphere is experiencing huge growth in Christianity, for example, as are many other areas around the globe.
Conference coordinator is Georgetown College philosophy professor Roger Ward, Ph.D. “The challenge at this time is understanding our role as Christians in this new landscape of religion in the world,” said Ward. “Discussions will focus on how we best join and participate with our Christian brothers and sisters in Asia and Africa.”
Scheduled speakers include these highly regarded professors of religion and historians: Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University and Co-Director for Baylor’s Program on Historical Studies of Religion in the Institute for Studies of Religion; Jehu H. Hanciles, the D.W. and Ruth Brooks Associate Professor of World Christianity at Candler School of Theology; Xi Lian, Professor of World Christianity at Duke Divinity School; and Raquel Contreras, the General Director for the Baptist Spanish Publishing House/Editorial Mundo Hispano in El Paso, Texas. Dr. Minlib Dallh, O.P., the H.M. King Abdullah ibn al-Hussein II of Jordan Fellow for the Study of Love in Religion at Regent’s Park College of the University of Oxford will also speak.
While there is a small registration fee for the overall conference, three of the sessions on Thurs, Jan. 26 are open to the general public at no charge. These include the 11 a.m. McCandless Lecture by Br. Minlib; the 4 p.m. Redding Lecture featuring Philip Jenkins; and a 7 p.m. ‘Community Conversation’ with all panelists. No advance registration is required for these sessions which will be held in the Ward Room of the Ensor Learning Resource Center.
About the Named Lectures
The McCandless Lecture was established when Georgetown College and Regent’s Park College in the University of Oxford formed a partnership in 1999. Each year, the schools exchange lecturers. The lecture series was started with a donation from the late Mrs. June McCandless in memory of her husband O. Carlysle McCandless. Both were alumni of Georgetown College.
The Redding Lecture is a joint presentation of the Marshall Center for Christian Ministry and the Department of Religion. George Walker Redding – for whom this lecture is named – was a much-loved member of the Georgetown faculty for 30 years (1943-73). Dr. Redding taught courses in Bible and chaired what became the Religion Department. After retiring from the College in 1973, he continued to teach until his death in 1989.
About the Speakers
Philip Jenkins has published more than 25 books including The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity, and Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years. He is a contributing editor for The American Conservative, writes a monthly column for The Christian Century and has also written articles for Christianity Today, First Things, and The Atlantic.
Jehu H. Hanciles has lived and worked in Sierra Leone, Scotland, Zimbabwe, and the United States. His research surveys the history of global Christian expansion through the lens of migration, the African experience, and globalization. His books include Euthanasia of a Mission: African Church Autonomy in a Colonial Context, and Beyond Christendom: Globalization, African Migration and the Transformation of the West. He serves as associate editor of Missiology, one of the premier scholarly journals of mission studies, and on the editorial advisory committee for Baylor University Press’s Studies in World Christianity.
Xi Lian’s work focuses on the history of Christian mission in China and the contemporary emergence of Protestant elites in Chinese civil society. His books include The Conversion of Missionaries and book Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China, winner of the 2011 Christianity Today Book Award, examines the development of missionary Christianity into a vibrant, indigenous faith of the Chinese masses. Professor Lian currently serves as editor of the Studies of Christianity in China, a book series published by Lehigh University Press.
Raquel Contreras is the former pastor of a Baptist church in Temuco Chile and past president (first woman to hold the position) of the Chilean Baptist Union. In 2010 she was elected as vice president of the Baptist World Alliance and later named as president of the Baptist Union of Latin America. In 2010, she was elected president of the Women’s Department of the Baptist World Alliance. Contreras is a highly sought after speaker about women in Christian mission and issues related to Christianity in the Hispanic world.
Dr Minlib Dallh, O.P., is originally from Burkina Faso (West Africa), Br Minlib is a Dominican friar and a member of the Southern Province of the USA. Educated as a jurist in Burkina Faso, he arrived in the USA to pursue doctoral studies in constitutional law. While preparing for the Law School Admission Test at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, he encountered the Dominican friars in the area. In 2000, he joined the Province of Martin de Porres. Br Minlib’s primary research is on comparative mysticism: Christianity and Islam.
For more information, please contact Dr. Roger Ward, 502-863-8080, or email CDALConference17@georgetowncollege.edu.