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Christian Scholars' Conference

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 1:00 PM-Friday, June 11, 2021 7:00 PM

Lipscomb University, main campus

Ibram X. Kendi

The CSC is an annual gathering for more than 500 Christian scholars to create an intellectual and Christian community and to stimulate scholarly dialogue and collaboration. The entire three-day conference includes hundreds of sessions on topics from scholarly disciplines from engineering to New Testament studies.  

The June 9-11, 2021, conference, themed “Recovery of Hope,” will feature a variety of thought leaders from across the nation as featured plenary session speakers.

The Fred D. Gray Plenary in Human and Civil Rights will feature Ibram X. Kendi, one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist scholars. Kendi, author of How To Be an Antiracist and Antiracist Baby, is the founding director of Boston University’s Center on Antiracist Research, Kendi won the National Book Award for his nonfiction work Stamped from the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. At age 34, he was the youngest National Book Award winner ever. He will be presenting his plenary session via webinar from his home near Boston. 

Through his columns in The Atlantic, his June 2020 TED talk on antiracism and the rest of his work, Kendi argues that antiracism isn’t just about acknowledging injustice, but acting against it. His speeches expose the racist roots of modern society and provide audiences with the tools to dismantle them, said David Fleer, director of the CSC.

“Dr. Kendi defines the transformative concept of antiracism to help us more clearly recognize, take responsibility for and reject prejudices in our public policies, workplaces and personal beliefs, He will help us actively use this awareness to uproot injustice and inequality in the world — and replace it with love,” said Fleer. 

The Abraham Malherbe Plenary will center on the question: "Biblical Studies: Asset or Liability for People of Faith?” The session will feature four speakers — Carl Holladay and Amanda Pittman speaking for the values of biblical scholarship and Richard Hughes and Raymond Carr speaking on its liabilities — engaging in a modified debate format that was moderated by Greg Sterling, Yale Divinity School. 

The John T. Willis Plenary features three of the nation's premier American Religious History scholars: Randall Balmer from Dartmouth College, John Fea from Messiah College and Molly Wharton of the University of North Carolina. The panel explores the topic of white evangelical alignment with political forces of our time.

The Frank and Della Pack Plenary examines the Covid-19 disruption of every aspect of life and the lost hope that resulted. This session features three physicians sharing their thoughts on the reemergence of hope after the pandemic and lessons learned. Featured speakers include Lisa Piercey, Tennessee Commissioner of Health and Lipscomb Board of Trustee member; Kevin Fickenscher, President of CREO Strategic Solutions; and Suzanne Olbricht, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

Robert E. and Bonnie Cone Hooper Plenary continues a 13-year partnership by offering a presentation of Tokens Show, the longstanding show hosted by Lipscomb's own professor of theology and ethics Lee Camp. 

Steven McKenzie, Rhodes College professor, will present the J.J.M. Roberts Lecture in Old Testament Studies. He has appeared on the Discovery and History channels and in radio interviews as a consultant on King David and on reading and interpreting the Bible. 

Miroslav Volf, professor at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and author of Exclusion and Embrace which was included on Christianity Today’s 100 most influential religious books of the twentieth century, will present the Landon Saunders Lecture entitled "Meaning and Dimensions of Flourishing."

In addition, conference attendees will have an opportunity to participate in nearly 75 peer-reviewed paper, panel and performance sessions that convene academics to advance scholarship, develop collaboration and engage dialogue. Sessions cover a wide range of topics including American religion; business and economics; Christianity, literature and language; civil rights; faith and learning; health sciences; mission and world Christianity; practical theology; theology and philosophy; congregational science; creative writing; patristics; teaching, learning and technology; and Old Testament studies among others.  

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