The continuing relevance of the Reformation will be examined in a lecture series at Fresno Pacific University.

On the 500th anniversary of the events that created the modern Christian church in the West, the 2018 Believers Church Lecture Series presents: “The Reformation and the Twenty-First Century Church” February 27-March 1, 2018, on the main FPU campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno.

Presenters and panelists

The series will revolve around two guest faculty, who will give presentations and take part in other events. Robert C. Saler, Ph.D., is research professor of Lutheran studies at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis IN. John D. Roth, Ph.D., is professor of history and director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism at Goshen College, Goshen IN.

Prior his present position, Saler was visiting lecturer in systematic theology at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church in Gary, IN. He is an ordained minister of word and sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Saler received his B.A. summa cum laude from Valparaiso University, his M.A. in theology from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago and his M.Div., Th.M. and Ph.D. (with distinction) from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.

Roth is editor of the Mennonite Quarterly Review and a member in the Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA). He received his B.A. from Goshen College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Early Modern European History from the University of Chicago. 

The Wednesday evening program will feature three panelists from the Valley. Monsignor Perry Kavookjian is pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Bakersfield and former pastor of St. Paul Catholic Newman Center in Fresno. Steve Varvis, Ph.D., is professor of history at FPU and an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church. Marshall Johnston, Ph.D., is associate professor of history at FPU and past-chapter member of St. James Episcopal Cathedral, Fresno.

Program

Tuesday, February 27

2:00-4:00 p.m.: “What does the Reformation have to say to the Twenty-First Century Church (outside North America)?” Robert C. Saler, BC Lounge, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary

7:00-8:30 p.m.: “What does the Reformation have to say to the Twenty-First Century Church (inside North America)?” Robert C. Saler, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary Chapel

Wednesday, February 28

8:00-10:00 a.m.: “Sacred Habits: Sabbath in the Life of the Pastor,” breakfast for pastors and church leaders, Robert C. Saler, BC Lounge, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary

1:30-4:30 p.m.: Christian thought course lectures and dialogue, Robert C. Saler and John D. Roth, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary

7:00-9:00 p.m.: “Reforming the Contemporary American Church,” dialogue with Robert C. Saler, John D. Roth and representatives of the Roman Catholic, Reformed and Episcopal faith traditions, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary Chapel

Thursday, March 1

2:00-4:00 p.m.: “What does the Reformation have to say to the Twenty-First Century Anabaptist/Mennonite Church (outside North America)?” John D. Roth, BC Lounge, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary

7:00-8:30 p.m.: “What does the Reformation have to say to the Twenty-First Century Anabaptist/Mennonite Church (inside North America)?” John D. Roth, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary Chapel

The Believers Church Lecture Series

The Believers Church Lecture Series is an ongoing exploration of the relevance of the Believers Church tradition for the shape of contemporary Christian thought and life. It is supported by an endowment established by Dr. Herbert and Jessica Penner of Bakersfield, CA.

The topic for the 2018 series was suggested by the late Paul Toews, Ph.D., professor of Mennonite history at FPU from 1967-2013. Series co-sponsors are the Fresno Pacific University Center for Anabaptist Studies and Council of Senior Professionals as well as the California Mennonite Historical Society.