Lipscomb University

Christian Scholars' Conference


Christian Scholars' Conference 2017

Memory, Tradition & the Future of Faith

June 7-9, 2017

The fourth annual Everett Ferguson Lecturer in Early Christian Studies will be Margaret M. Mitchell, the Shailer Mathews Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Her address will be, “John Chrysostom on Love, Marriage and Magic: Assessing the Evidence of a Previously Untranslated Homily (hom. in 1 Cor 7:2).”

Professor Mitchell is a literary historian of ancient Christianity. Her research and teaching span a range of topics in New Testament and early Christian writings up through the end of the fourth century. She analyzes how the earliest Christians literally wrote their way into history, developing a literary and religious culture that was deeply embedded in Hellenistic Judaism and the wider Greco-Roman world, while also proclaiming its distinctiveness from each. Special interests include the Pauline letters (both in their inaugural moments and in the history of their effects), the poetics and politics of ancient biblical interpretation, and the intersection of text, image, and artifact in the fashioning of early Christian culture.

Professor Mitchell is the author of four books including Paul and the Rhetoric of Reconciliation and is currently completing a volume, John Chrysostom on Paul: Praises and Problem Passages, to be published in the Writings from the Graeco-Roman World series (Society of Biblical Literature). 

The Third Annual J. J. M. Roberts Lecture in Old Testament Studies: Carol Newsom


Dr. Carol A. Newsom is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament at Candler and a senior fellow at Emory's Center for the Study of Law and Religion. Newsom came to Candler in 1980, only the second woman to hold a tenure-track position. In 2005, she became the first female faculty member appointed to a chaired professorship. 

Newsom's research focuses on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Wisdom tradition, the book of Daniel, and apocalyptic literature. She has written and edited 13 books and scores of articles, book chapters, translations, encyclopedia articles and reviews. She co-edited the acclaimed Women's Bible Commentary (Westminster John Knox, 3rd ed., 2012), now in its third edition, which explores the implications of and challenges long-held assumptions about the Bible's portrayal of women and other marginalized groups.

View the session page containing her plenary here and read her abstract here.

We are pleased to announce that Shaun Casey will be our second plenary speaker for 2017.

Shaun is U.S. special representative for religion and global affairs and head of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs. He is on leave of absence from his position as associate professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He has previously held positions at the Center for American Progress and Center for Strategic and International Studies. Shaun has written on the ethics of the war in Iraq, as well the role of religion in American presidential politics. He is the author of The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960 (2009); his in-progress works include co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Political Theology with Michael Kessler and writing a book on ethics and international politics tentatively titled Niebuhr’s Children.

Read his abstract here.

The CSC is pleased to announce that Greg Sterling will deliver the fourth annual Abraham J. Malherbe plenary lecture at The Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars’ Conference in June, 2017.

Read more about Greg here.

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 (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.*

Reflections on 2016 CSC

The 2016 CSC was a wonderful event with many exceptional sessions and plenaries. I’d judge the conference one of the best in our history and attendance broke all previous records. We’ll soon post videos of the plenaries and selected sessions. The conference was enhanced by overlapping events, with Advancing the National Conversation on Race bringing 330 folk from across the country who engaged Wednesday’s paper sessions, the inaugural Fred Gray plenary lecture and the John T. Willis Plenary theatrical performance, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” 

Landon Saunders Plenary in 2016 and Lecture in 2017

Watch 2016 plenary speaker Landon Saunders discuss four ways "to get to what really matters" here. Read more about Landon Saunder's plenary address from 2016 here

The CSC mourns the passing of Dwayne Van Rheenen

?He was the former Provost at Abilene Christian University and Dean of Faculty at Pepperdine University. Dwayne was an essential CSC board member during important transition years, providing the conference critical wisdom and insight. We send our deepest condolences to his wife Joan, their children and grandchildren.

Update on Tom Olbricht

Tom and Dorothy recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with family, friends and the church in Nashua, NH. Tom keeps abreast of scholarship and has recently written a timely essay, “What Makes America Great.” (Read the essay on the CSC Facebook page here.)

Update on CSC friend and 2014 plenary speaker, Phyllis Tickle

Phyllis Tickle, who delivered one of the more memorable and impactful plenary addresses in CSC history (2014), passed away on September 22, 2015. Her vibrancy, quick wit, and keen intellect impacted the spiritual lives of many people through her poetry, lectures, essays, and books. Read more here.