Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion to Present Symposium on World Christianity

Oct. 8, 2010

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Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) will host a Symposium on World Christianity on Monday, Oct. 11, on the Baylor campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The symposium will include a panel discussion at 10:30 a.m. in the Armstrong Browning Library classroom.

The discussion will feature:

• Dr. Paul C. Freston, ISR Distinguished Senior Fellow and professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario

• Dr. Paul Froese, ISR Resident Scholar and professor of sociology at Baylor

• Dr. Virginia Garrard-Burnett, professor of history and religion at the University of Texas

• Dr. Robert Woodberry, ISR Non-Resident Scholar and assistant professor of sociology at the University of Texas

"The focus of the panel discussion will be the current and future state of world Christianity, with particular emphasis on places such as Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa," said Dr. Thomas Kidd, ISR Senior Fellow and associate professor of history at Baylor.

Afterwards, Dr. Philip Jenkins, ISR Distinguished Senior Fellow and the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Humanities at Pennsylvania State University, will give a special presentation at 2:30 p.m. in Draper Academic Building 116.

Jenkins will lecture on "The BRICs of Faith (Brazil, Russia, India, and China)."

"Dr. Jenkins' lecture will examine the religious dynamics of the BRIC nations," Kidd said. "These are a much-discussed quartet of countries, but analysis of them is almost always in business and economic terms."

The leading themes of the symposium are:

• the role of Christianity in economic development

• the experience of Christians living as small minorities in hostile or barely tolerant societies

• Christianity and its fluid relationship with other religions

• religion and the demographic patterns of respective countries

The symposium will be held in conjunction with the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa, to be held Oct. 16-25.

"The Institute for Studies of Religion decided to host this event because of the timeliness of the topic," Kidd said. "The Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization is the world's largest Christian assembly for assessing and planning the future of world missions and evangelism."

The Third Lausanne Congress will include 4,000 leaders from more than 200 countries who will confront critical social issues, including other world faiths, poverty, HIV/AIDS and persecution, as they relate to the future of the Church and world evangelization. The first congress was in 1974.

"ISR-affiliated scholars have written some of the most influential books and articles about world religion, and we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to showcase their work and have a wide-ranging discussion about the global future of faith," Kidd said.

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by Katy McDowall, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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