The Scripture and Church Seminar explores the interface between Scripture and church, covering the terrain that is normally referred to as Practical Theology.
In 2016 SACS had a great inaugural session in San Antonio. With approximately 70 in attendance, Dr Bill DeJong (McMaster Divinity College) presented on “Which Way Now? Pearls and Perils Along the Uncertain Path of Practical Theology.” Ken Herfst (Redeemer University College) presented on “Broad Brushstrokes for a Potential ‘Scripture and Church’ Agenda.” and Dr Michael Wagenman (Western University and Redeemer University College) presented on “Pondering Practical Theology: Proclamation and the Problem of Propaganda.”
In 2017 SACS met for the second time around the theme of The Kingdom of God and Everyday Liturgies. The following papers were presented.
Dr Vince Bantu, “Biblical Interpretation and Liturgical Performance in Global Christian Perspective” (Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri)
Dr Ryan O’Dowd, “Dark Things in the Depths: Wisdom Confession, and the Kingdom of God” (Cornel University, Ithica, New York)
Dr Ruth Padilla-deBorst, “The Kingdom and Everyday Liturgies in the New Testament” (PhD, Boston College).
Dr Dru Johnson, “Placebos, Elevator Buttons, and High Powered Lasers: How Ritual Ethics Enable Us to See the Kingdom of God” (The King’s College, New York City)
The 2018 theme for the Scripture and Church Seminar brought into focus the complex relationship between the church and the Kingdom of God. Questions which were considered with an interdisciplinary panel of presenters included:
How does Scripture shape a church of covenant subjects of, or partners with, the King?
How does Scripture disclose the church as the community gathered before the King?
What insight does Scripture provide for how the church is to live as dual citizens of the Kingdom of God and earthly political nation-states?
Since Scripture reveals to us the ever-present God who is King, what does it mean that the Church is the Worshippers of the King-Who-Is-Always-Present?
The theme for 2019 was "Communicating the Kingdom". Under this banner we heard papers and moderated a panel discussion on the following sub-topics, with their associated questions:
i. ‘Hearing the Gospel of the Kingdom’ – Jeannine Brown (Bethel University, St. Paul, MN): What does the gospel of the Kingdom have to say to the twenty-first century church? At what points do Jesus’s kingdom parables, discourses and signs offer encouragement and sustenance to a struggling post-Christendom church? At what points do they disrupt and destabilise the order that we have constructed or inherited?
ii. ‘Proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom’ – Koert Van Bekkum (Theological University, Kampen, NL): How are we to convey the meaning of Jesus’s Kingdom proclamation and its present implications, within a contemporary context in which notions of kingdom and kingship are alien to the experience of many, and there is deep and widespread suspicion of authority claims and totalizing narratives?
iii. ‘Dramatizing the Gospel of the Kingdom’ – David Starling (Morling College, Sydney, Au): How should the liberating incursion of the Kingdom of God be demonstrated and dramatized in the conduct of contemporary Christians and in the shape of our churches and the various other institutions that we create and maintain?
Committee: Dr. Bill DeJong, chair (Blessings Christian Church; Redeemer University College); Dr Susan Bubbers (The Center for Anglican Theology, Liturgy, And Spiritual formation, Inc.); Dr. Dru Johnson (The Kings College, New York City); Dr. Ken Herfst (Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario); Dr. Michael R. Wagenman, chair (Western University, London, Ontario) Genevieve Wedgebury (The Kirby Laing Institute for Theological Ethics, Cambridge, UK).
The 2019 Schedule was as follows:
1:05 Opening Liturgy
1:10 Paper 1: Jeannine Brown (Bethel University, St. Paul, MN), “Hearing the Gospel of the Kingdom”
1:35 Paper 2: Koert Van Bekkum (Theological University, Kampen, NL) “Proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom”
2:10 Paper 3: David Starling (Morling College, Sydney, Au) "Dramatizing the Gospel of the Kingdom"
2:35 Moderated discussion among panelists (pre-arranged questions)
3:00 Q & A
3:20 Closing Liturgy
3:25 Final announcements
Question for consideration at SACS 2020:
With a view to the institutional church as the primary recipient of the Scripture, how does biblical hermeneutics help with preaching and pastoral care?
Contact details: Bill DeJong: firstname.lastname@example.org