Lipscomb University

Christian Scholars' Conference


     Theme for 2019 CSC:

         Pursuing Wisdom:

Goodness, Truth, and Beauty

   June 5-7, 2019

The CSC distinguishes itself through its mission and by enacting the bold claims that we are:

  • Committed to meeting and exceeding national conference standards in each academic discipline,
  • interdisciplinary (science dialogues with the arts and social sciences interact with theology, for example) and,
  • people of faith. What we mean by “people of faith” is better described than pronounced. So, I include for your consideration (and use) the following prayer, by Professor Leslie Reed, from a recent conference:

A prayer by Leslie Reed

Merciful God, who is both Lord and loving parent, we bow before you today. We acknowledge your presence and your power.

You are the Faithful One. You are One Who Sees. You are One Who Acts.

From generation to generation you have raised up those whom you have called to action – women and men through whom your hand has moved, bringing about reformation, release, restoration, relief, reconciliation, renewal.

We bear witness to those who have gone before us. We honor them, and give thanks for the works you accomplished through them.

We are grateful today for the opportunity to be here, engaging with our brothers and sisters, seeking to enliven our minds and refresh our spirits in community with one another.

We thank you for this opportunity and for the gifts of the mind. But even as we rejoice in the community around us, we see beyond it. We see the brokenness, the poverty, the racial tension, the ideological conflicts round about us. We see wrath, powers, cruel hate. We see injustice. Give us your eyes that we may see indeed.

Convict our hearts and embolden our spirits that we might be agents of change. Let us not only see and know, but bring us to action. Show us how to use the gifts and privilege you have lent us to work your restoration in the world around us. Let us bring your renewal to our universities, our communities, and our churches.

We long to see your will done and your peace reign.  

We look to your hand and await you.

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day. Preserve us with your mighty power that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity, but in all we do direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray,


2018 Plenary Speakers

Tracy K. Smith

We were pleased that Tracy K. Smith delivered the Willis Plenary Address at the 2018 CSC. Smith is the 2018 Poet Laureate, having earned in 2011 a Pulitzer for Life on Mars. She is currently a professor of Humanities and Director of the Creative Writing program at Princeton University. We were honored to hear her plenary lecture, "Metaphor, History, Myth & Belief." 

Tobias Wolff

We were pleased to have Tobias Wolff present the Pack Plenary for the 2018 CSC. The acclaimed author has received numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Academy Award in Literature. He is Professor of English, Emeritus, at Stanford and in 2015 he received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. At the CSC Tobias Wolff presented his lecture titled, “The View from the Bottom of the Well.”

Dr. Molefi Kete Asante

We were happy to have Dr. Molefi Kete Asante as the 2018 Fred D. Gray Plenary lecturer in Human and Civil Rights. Dr. Asante is Professor and Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Temple University. He has written hundreds of essays and scores of books. Much of Dr. Asante’s work is on African culture and philosophy and African American education. We enjoyed engaging with Dr. Asante, who believes it is not enough to know; one must act to humanize the world. Dr. Asante delivered his Plenary titled, “The Divine Moment in the Discovery of Maat: Social and Cultural Justice as Marks of Spirituality.”

Dr. Cilliers Breytenbach

We were pleased that Dr. Cilliers Breytenbach delivered the fifth annual Abraham J. Malherbe Plenary Lecture at the 2018 CSC. Breytenbach is professor for the literature, history and religion of Early Christianity at the Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin. His most recent publications include Early Christianity in Lycaonia: From Paul to Amphilochius of Iconium (Leiden 2017) and “Narrating the Death of Jesus in Mark: Utterances of the Main Character, Jesus”, ZNW 105/2 (2014) 153-168. Dr. Breytenbach delivered his lecture titled: “Christianity and Philosophy in Athens”

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.*