Category Archives: Symposium

Virtual Symposium Schedule: First Glance

Jackson Watts

After much planning and preparation, the Commission for Theological Integrity is pleased to announce the schedule for our presentations at our virtual Symposium next week:

Monday Evening

7:00–7:15   Welcome & Prayer

7:15–8:05 The Role of Spirituality in Sermon Preparation and Delivery (Ben Campbell)

Tuesday Morning

9:00–9:05   Welcome and Prayer

9:05–9:55  Exploring the Influence of Helwys’s Religious Liberty Ethic on the English Toleration Act and First Amendment (Matthew Steven Bracey)

9:55–10:05  Break

10:10–11:00 Paul’s Telos in Romans 10:4: Understanding the Unity of Jews and Gentiles (Jeffrey Cockrell)

11:00-11:05  Break

11:10–12:00 Jacobus Arminius and the Diversity of  Reformed Theology Prior to the Synod of Dort (Matthew Pinson)

12:00–1:15   Break

Tuesday Afternoon

1:15–2:05 Does Arminianism Lead to Legalism? (Matthew Honeycutt)

2:05–2:15   Break

2:20–3:10 Matthew Caffyn, Thomas Monck, and English General  Baptist Creedalism (Jesse Owens)

3:10–3:20  Break

3:25–4:15 A Free Will (Baptist) Defense: Reformed Arminianism and the Evidential Problem of Evil (Chris Talbot)

4:15–4:25   Break

4:25–5:15 Prevenient Grace and the Word of God: A Reformed Arminian Perspective (Joshua Colson)

A digital download of the paper digest is available for purchase. Paper digests can be ordered after the event by contacting fwbtheology@gmail.com or here. Our program can be accessed using Zoom. Log-in instructions can be found below. We hope to see you there!

Please click the link below to join the symposium:
https://zoom.us/j/95984188626?pwd=M0s2TzMxNERRV1k0dVpkMGZLSTYzQT09
Passcode: Symposium

Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +13017158592,,95984188626#  or +13126266799,,95984188626#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 301 715 8592  or +1 312 626 6799  or +1 929 436 2866  or +1 253 215     8782  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 6833  or 855 880 1246 (Toll Free) or       877 853 5257 (Toll Free)
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/adQcR3hR7H

Zoom ID: 959 8418 8626

 

 

Virtual Symposium Set

by Jackson Watts

2020 has been a year of changed plans, but the Commission for Theological Integrity is committed to fulfilling its mission despite the obstacles created by the current pandemic. For this reason we will be continuing with our annual Theological Symposium as a virtual event. It will still be held on October 5-6, with the schedule to be available soon. We are making every effort to make this event both accessible and interactive, so we will be hosting the event as a live Zoom webinar, which participants can access using the information below. While we know this is less than ideal, we’re hopeful that this format will make the content and discussion more available for those who, in years past, have been unable to travel to Welch College or Randall University for in-person events.

We have a solid slate of papers that you won’t want to miss! We’re preparing a digital version of the paper digest for participants to purchase from our website prior to the event. Print copies will be available to purchase and have mailed following the event.

EDIT: Digital Digest and Paper Digest

Below are our presenters and paper titles:

Matthew Bracey: Considering the Influence of Helwys’s Religious Liberty Ethic in England and the United States

Ben Campbell: The Role of Spirituality in Sermon Preparation and Delivery

Jeff Cockrell: Paul’s Telos in Romans 10:4: Understanding the Unity of Jews and Gentiles

Joshua Colson: Prevenient Grace and the Word of God: A Reformed Arminian Perspective

Matthew Honeycutt: Does Arminianism Lead to Legalism?

Jesse Owens: Matthew Caffyn, Thomas Monck, and English General Baptist Creedalism

Matthew Pinson: Jacobus Arminius and the Diversity of Reformed Theology Prior to the Synod of Dort

Chris Talbot: A Free Will (Baptist) Defense: Reformed Arminianism and the Evidential Problem of Evil

To participate, you can click on the link below at the time of the first scheduled presentation, or at the time of any presentation you may want to hear and respond to. Despite the challenges of this present moment, we look forward to continuing to live for and serve the Lord in a theologically faithful way.

Please click the link below to join the symposium:
https://zoom.us/j/95984188626?pwd=M0s2TzMxNERRV1k0dVpkMGZLSTYzQT09
Passcode: Symposium

Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +13017158592,,95984188626#  or +13126266799,,95984188626#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 301 715 8592  or +1 312 626 6799  or +1 929 436 2866  or +1 253 215     8782  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 6833  or 855 880 1246 (Toll Free) or       877 853 5257 (Toll Free)
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/adQcR3hR7H

Zoom ID: 959 8418 8626

2020 Theological Symposium: Update

by Theological Commission

Many of our readers have communicated with us in recent weeks inquiring about the status of our 2020 Theological Symposium, originally scheduled for October 5-6 on the campus of Welch College.

Due to the significant rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, and the overall uncertainty created for events like our Symposium where guests come to town from multiple states, we have decided to hold a virtual Symposium this year. Our intent is to still hold this event on the originally-scheduled dates. However, all of our event’s features will be taken online.

Many details are being worked out still, but we will be sure to keep you posted on how you can participate in this free, intellectually enriching event. While we completely acknowledge the undesirable nature of an online meeting versus an in-person event, we do anticipate that the event will be accessible to a broader array of people who, in the past, would not have been able to make the trip to Gallatin, Tennessee or Moore, Oklahoma for our event.

We are still receiving paper proposals at this time, and welcome your questions and submissions. As presenters will not need to be physically present to share their paper, we suggest you take this into account as you consider participating.

Please direct any questions or proposals to fwbtheology@gmail.com, or the comment thread to this post.

2020 Theological Symposium FAQ

W. Jackson Watts

As Program Chair for the Commission for Theological Integrity, I get the privilege to oversee the planning and preparation for our annual Theological Symposium. I’ve been so gratified to see interest in this event grow over the last few years, and we’re looking forward to another great one later this fall.

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 notice is designed to generate awareness and identify prospective presenters, as well as any who would attend and benefit from this free event. However, as potential presenters begin contemplating ideas for the Symposium, I want to offer this post of Frequently Asked Questions 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 bit earlier than usual, so take note of this date: October 5-6.

 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. However, we generally have interested parties contact us. 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 is broadly theological in nature: biblical studies, systematic theology, philosophy of religion, ecclesiology, etc. This year we have an open program, so any paper on any topic, broadly theological, will be considered. If you’d like more information about what might be perceived as appropriate, just ask!

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 will be published later this year.

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. This is a great chance to network with many of our thought leaders.

If I am interested in presenting, what are the specific requirements and deadlines?

You can email fwbtheology@gmail.com 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. Abstracts/proposals should be submitted by July 7. Submissions for review should be submitted by August 7. The final draft should be submitted by September 7.

Thank you for your interest in this event!

Cultural Analysis and the Dynamics of Leading Change in the Church: A Review

Jackson Watts

In his Symposium presentation “Cultural Analysis and the Dynamics of Leading Change in the Church,” Rev. Dr. Jackson Watts tackles the tough topic of implementing change in a congregation. Noting shifting demographical factors like the graying and shrinking of the evangelical church, Watts draws a correlation between these factors and an inability to change. He then seeks to wed biblical principles of change with socio-cultural concepts to assist church leaders in more effectively leading change in their churches. Such change will require “critical listening, thick description, and pastoral sensitivity” (57).

Watts points out that each church is best understood as a culture. This means that a congregation has its own “unique set of beliefs (spoken and unspoken, practices (symbolic and practical), values (inherited and derived), dispositions (conscious and subconscious), and artifacts (religious and mundane)” that define individual roles and responsibilities in the fulfillment of the institutional mission (59). This means that any change, even a small one, will have significant impact on every aspect of the church’s self-understanding. Because of this, change must always be tethered to the culture and values of the congregation.

Thus, the process for change begins with listening and loving one’s congregation. One must become a part of the culture and be a student of the history, traditions, and relationships present in a church body. All of these factors define meaning and determine value in the organization of relationships gathered together for a common goal. Only after such listening and learning, can one effectively begin the process of leading change. This is the first step of developing a “thick description” (an interpretation of the way relationships, rituals, and rhetoric interact to define a community, 61) whence a leader can cast a vision for change.

Watts then introduces the sociological concept of liminality. Liminality is a reference to a process of transition (usually of individuals but also organizations) from one set of identifiers to another. Similar to a sixteen year old getting his driver’s license, the process of liminality describes the period of the young person being unable to drive, obtaining a permit, receiving instruction, and eventually becoming a licensed driver. Even after such a change, it takes some time for the young driver (and especially his or her parents) to get accustomed to the idea. It is precisely this type of process that a church undergoes when implementing change. Change introduces ambiguity and must be understood as a process that leads to a new reality, thus impacting the culture. People become naturally uncomfortable in the liminal, in-between stage, of change.

A pastoral perspective will remember that congregants in this liminal phase are not simply “selfish, unyielding, rebellious, ignorant, unrepentant traditionalists” (63). Rather they are complex cultural creatures, spiritual beings embodied in time and space (63). This means that our attempts to lead change must always take a “total personality approach.” We must be sensitive to their needs as thinking, feeling, loving, worshiping beings. Watts then mines Forlines’ “total personality approach” of theology for important implications for the process. Such an approach to change will mean that a “one-size-fits-all approach” will never be adequate (65). Each individual and each congregation is unique.

Watts then turns to a discussion of the types of change in a congregation. He sums them up in three categories of 1) addition, 2) alteration, and 3) subtraction (65). Changes 1 and 2 can be difficult because congregations don’t perceive the need. In these cases careful consideration, description, and consensus are paramount. He notes, “as a general rule, the degree of listening, prayer, planning, communications and implementation is proportionate to the extent of the reforms to occur” (67). The final form of change, subtraction, can often be more difficult because even when congregants intellectually understand the need for change, they are often emotionally and experientially connected to previous forms and identity.

With these principles in mind, Watts offers a paradigm for leading change in the local church. Leaders must take the time to see what is going on. Leaders must then investigate why these things are the way they are. Finally, the leader is called to respond. He or she asks the question, “what should be happening?” Applying evaluative judgments to the current culture, changes must always be proposed with sensitivity to the spiritual, social, emotional, and physical needs of individual congregants and the body. Such reflection and care mirror the “ministries of Jesus, Paul, and the apostles” and exemplify the biblical principles of “wisdom, compassion, and courage” (70). May all our attempts to lead change in our congregation be characterized by this pastoral heart. The full presentation can be seen here.