Lipscomb University

Christian Scholars' Conference


Christian Scholars' Conference 2016

Justice: Meaning and Practice

June 8-10, 2016


CSC mourns with its director, Dr. David Fleer


From Lipscomb University president Randy Lowry:

"It is with great sadness that I share the sudden and unexpected death of David and Mae Fleer's youngest son, Nate. Nate Mark Fleer was 25 years old and a resident of Rochester, Michigan. He was very bright having attended the Honors College at Oakland University. Nate's dad, David, has made a tremendous contribution to our university, both as a faculty member in the College of Bible and Ministry and as the creator of the nationally-impactful Christian Scholars Conference. He travels extensively, especially as part of his work in racial reconciliation. At this point in time, the Fleers would be encouraged by our prayers and expressions of concern. Please pray that David, Mae, Luke and Marianne, Josh and Megan will find the strength for the difficult days ahead and ultimately, a sense of God working in their lives, even through this tragedy."

We ask that you lift Dr. Fleer and his family to God in your prayers.



Registration for CSC16!

The 2016 CSC is fast approaching and registration goes live today, February 11
You’ll be pleased with the array of plenaries and sessions just now beginning to post as some of the nation’s finest thinkers and practitioners gather for essential conversation on scholarship and faith. 
The Landon Saunders’ luncheon will continue our fine tradition of celebrating our movement’s best minds and work. 
This year’s conference will feature some additional and exceptional interactive programs. When the conference begins, 250 participants in “Advancing the National Conversation on Race” will join us, as will the scores of college administrators attending the “Deans’ Conference.” After the conference concludes on Friday, trustees from several of our Christian colleges and universities will continue to meet to discuss issues of common interest and challenge. 
In other words, the CSC continues to be a venue for thoughtful interaction as it fulfills its mission, “to create and nurture an intellectual and Christian community that joins institutions and individuals to stimulate networks of scholarly dialogue and collaboration.”


CSC mourns Phyllis Malherbe

We are saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Phyllis Malherbe, but we are comforted to know that her departure was peaceful.
With her husband Abe, Phyllis was an essential mentor to hundreds of students, colleagues and friends whose journey took them through New Haven and the highest levels of the academic world. The Malherbes made an indelible mark on our fellowship with academic rigor and inclusive embrace that featured warm hospitality, thoughtful communication and cherished relationships. 
Their engagement with the CSC, at all levels, made the conference more substantive and enjoyable. We are a better people for their lives among us.


Michael Sandel: "Justice"

2016 plenary speaker Michael Sandel presents a profound and challenging series of lectures on ethics and morals.


Thoughts for the New Year

As we begin the new year, watch 2016 plenary speaker Landon Saunders discuss four ways "to get to what really matters":


Calls for Papers going up

CSC is posting calls for abstracts here and on our Facebook page. Check often for new calls and deadlines!

New Section Committee: “Cross and Crescent: Intersections of Christianity and Islam”

The Cross and Crescent session explores the historic interactions between Islam and Christianity. The session welcomes papers on a wide range of topics within this field: socio-political contact, holy books and sacred traditions, Islamic law, art and architecture, spirituality, historiography, debate and apologetics, philosophy, and translation movements, among others. The broad aims of Cross and Crescent are to bring scholars and communities into dialogue about sacred texts, faith, and traditions and to foster learning and deeper understanding of historic interreligious contact between Muslims and Christians. Inspired by the recent discovery in Birmingham, England of the oldest Qur’anic manuscript, this year’s focus is: “The Origin of the Qur’an: Questions, Problems, and Areas for Exploration.”

  • David Kneip, Abilene Christian University
  • Trevor Thompson, Abilene Christian University
  • Kelli Bryant Gibson, Abilene Christian University


2016 plenary speaker Linda Pastan publishes new book!

Linda Pastan, one of our four plenary speakers scheduled for the 2016 CSC, has just released a new collection of poems, Insomnia, published by W. W. Norton & Company. These poems chart the journeys of sleepless nights when whole lifetimes seem to pass with their stories: loves lost and gained; children and seasons in their phases; and the world beyond, both threatening and enriching life. This collection will make for the perfect Christmas gift in our preparations for June’s CSC!


Update on Tom Olbricht

We have heard that Tom is home, and that he has returned to church. We appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers!


Update on CSC friend and 2014 plenary speaker, Phyllis TicklePhyllis Tickle

Phyllis Tickle, who delivered one of the more memorable and impactful plenary addresses in CSC history (2014), passed away on September 22. Her vibrance, quick wit, and keen intellect impacted the spiritual lives of many people through her poetry, lectures, essays, and books. Read more here.



Status of Malherbe Papers and Holladay Address from the 2014 CSC

We have received notice from Troy Martin, editor of Biblical Research, that the journal will contain papers presented at the 2014 CSC.  

Biblical Research 59 (2014) will feature the manuscript of Carl Holladay’s plenary lecture along with the session papers presented by David Rankin, Johan Thom, and Clare Rothschild.  

Biblical Research is the official publication of the Chicago Society of Biblical Research, the second oldest biblical society in North America.  It was formed a few years after the SBL. Two of those who presented this summer are members, and Abe Malherbe embodied the philological, literary, historical, and cultural concerns of this society and its goal of reading biblical texts against their ancient contexts. Troy Martin writes, “I am so pleased that we can honor Abe in this way.”  

The issue will be out by the middle or end of this summer and will be indexed in the ATLA Database and available online in this database in full text sometime in 2017 or two years after the publication of the print issue.  To order a print copy of this issue (BR 59 - 2014), you may contact Richard Choi at


About the Christian Scholars’ Conference

The mission of the Christian Scholars' Conference is to create and nurture an intellectual and Christian community that joins individuals and institutions to stimulate networks of scholarly dialogue and collaboration.

The conference was created in 1981 under the direction of Dr. Thomas H. Olbricht, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Pepperdine University, and has since been hosted by several universities associated with Churches of Christ. The conference calls together scholars from a wide variety of disciplines in the liberal arts, sciences, business, law, education and medicine to develop their own academic research and to reflect on the integration of scholarship and faith. 

In service to its mission, the CSC has adopted a model wherein the conference is hosted at Lipscomb University and every fourth year rotates to  a supporting university. Our recent history and future plans:

Lipscomb University (2008-10)

Pepperdine University (2011)

Lipscomb University (2012-2014)

Abilene Christian University (2015)

Lipscomb University (June 8-10, 2016; June 7-9, 2017; June 6-8, 2018)

Lubbock Christian University (June 5-7, 2019)

Lipscomb University (2020-2022)

The conference is funded by registration fees and the Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars' Conference Endowment Fund.  If you would like to contribute to the Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars' Conference Endowment Fund, please click here.*