W. Jackson Watts
(A previous version of this post originally appeared on May 21. For the benefit of those who did not see it, we are re-posting it in anticipation of our Symposium in October).
As Program Chair for the Commission for Theological Integrity, I’m responsible to promote our annual Theological Symposium. Typically we issue what’s known as a “Call for Papers.” This appears on our website and in print publications such as ONE Magazine. This is designed to generate awareness and foster interest in potential presenters and any who would attend and benefit from this free event. However, as potential presenters begin contemplating ideas for the Symposium, I thought it might be helpful to put together this Frequently Asked Questions post to help people make plans to join us this fall.
Where and when is the Symposium held?
The campus of Welch College in Gallatin, Tennessee. This year our event is a week later than usual: October 28-29.
How are presenters chosen?
We review the papers and proposals that are submitted each year and select those which are well-written and thematically suitable. Sometimes we solicit papers from people if they have recently completed some scholarly work that they are interested in sharing with a broader audience. The only other detail approaching a “requirement” is that presenters must be members of a Free Will Baptist church.
What can I write on?
Typically we will receive and consider papers on any topic that are broadly theological in nature—biblical studies, systematic theology, philosophy of religion, ecclesiology, etc. This year’s theme is “The Doctrine of the Church,” so preference will be given to papers that deal with some aspect of ecclesiology whether it be church government and polity, the ordinances, preaching, or a related sub-field.
Must I have an advanced degree to present a paper?
No; While most of our presenters have received graduate theological education, it is by no means a requirement.
Where can I stay?
There are several area hotels which provide a reasonable rate to those in town for Welch-affiliated events. Hotel information is available here.
Why attend in person when live-stream is available?
Two main reasons: First, we don’t guarantee live-streaming every year, and even if we do live-stream we may or may not post video content on our website after the event is over. We have done this in the past, but it is a year-by-year decision. Second, attending in person allows you the chance to ask questions in person to presenters, hear the discussion and dialogue following each presentation, and connect with other Free Will Baptist pastors, scholars, and laymen. I’ve seen many fruitful relationships form and develop as a result of this event.
If I am interested in presenting, what are the specific requirements and deadlines?
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a fuller list of what we’re looking for in terms of paper content and format. Concerning deadlines, all ideas and inquiries about presenting should be submitted to this email address prior to July 1. Abstracts/proposals should be submitted by July 15. Submissions for review should be submitted by August 15. The final draft should be submitted by September 15.
Thank you for your interest in this event!