Truett Marks 400th Baptist Anniversary with Parchman Lecture

Oct. 9, 2008

by Jaime Bates, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary will mark the 400th anniversary of Baptists with the Leo and Gloriana Parchman Endowed Lecture Series at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 14-16 in the Paul W. Powell Chapel at the seminary.

This year's featured speaker will be Dr. Bill J. Leonard, founding dean and professor of church history at Wake Forest University Divinity School who will give three lectures on "Baptist Believing: What Then? What Now? What Next?"

He received a masters of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Boston University. He has held teaching posts at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Samford University and Seinan Gakuin University, in Japan. Leonard was the recipient of the 2007 W.O. Carver Distinguished Service Award from the Baptist History and Heritage Society, and currently serves on the board of the American Academy of Religion's religion and disability group.

In addition, Leonard is the author or editor of 15 books, including Out of One, Many: American Religion and American Pluralism, A Dictionary of Baptists in America, Christianity in Appalachia: Profiles in Regional Pluralism, and Baptist Ways: A History, A Survey of Baptist History from 1600 to 2000.

Leonard was chosen as the speaker because he is widely recognized in scholarly circles as the foremost Baptist historian living and writing in North America today, said Dr. Todd Still, associate professor of Christian scriptures at Truett.

"Given that this year marks the 400th anniversary of Baptists, the Truett Seminary faculty thought it timely to have a premier Baptist historian deliver the prestigious Parchman Endowed Lectures," Still said.

On Tuesday, Leonard will address Baptist understandings of biblical interpretation in a lecture on "Biblicists, But Not Always Biblical?: Revisiting Baptists' Hermeneutics." His lecture on Wednesday is titled "Once Saved, Almost Saved?: Revisiting Baptists' Conversionism." He will conclude the lecture series on Thursday with "A Postmodern New Testament Church?: Revisiting Baptists' Ecclesiology."

"These lectures, while scholarly, will not be overly technical and will provide those in attendance a greater understanding of ongoing Baptist dialogs and developments," Still said. "For Baptists and non-Baptists alike, these lectures will enable a fuller and clearer picture of the Baptist landscape--past, present and future."

The Parchman Endowed Lectures bring world-renowned theologians to the Baylor campus and enable George W. Truett Theological Seminary to make a significant contribution to the realm of theological dialogue and the life of the church. The lectures were established in 1999 by Leo and Gloriana Parchman to encourage dynamic discussion on topics related to theological studies.

Past lecturers include:

    • leading evangelical New Testament scholar Ben Witherington III,
    The Story of Christianity author Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez,
    • theologian and The Message author Eugene Peterson,
    • Riverside Church (NYC) minister James Forbes Jr.,
    • New Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann,
    • Templeton Prize winner John Polkinghorne,
    • Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey (now Bishop of Durham) N.T. Wright,
    • theological ethicist Lewis B. Smedes, and
    • preeminent theologian Jürgen Moltmann.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information contact Dr. Todd Still at (254) 710-7347.

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