Biblical Interpretation for Caribbean Renewal—Theology Conference in Kingston, Jamaica (September 8-9, 2017)

The Jamaica theology conference that I’ve been helping to plan is coming up in just over a month (I had posted a final Call for papers a while back).

KEYNOTE SPEAKER – DR. STEED DAVIDSON

The keynote speaker is Dr. Steed Davidson, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible / Old Testament at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.

Dr. Davidson, who is originally from Tobago, will kick off the conference with a programmatic lecture on Friday evening (September 8) entitled “The Hazards and Opportunities of Sola Scriptura for Caribbean Biblical Interpretation.” Then on Saturday (September 9) there will be papers on a variety of topics related to the conference theme: “Biblical Interpretation for Caribbean Renewal.”

PAPER TOPICS FOR SATURDAY

We have papers lined up from a variety of theological disciplines and perspectives, especially focused on the Bible and Caribbean renewal. Here are some of the paper titles:

  • The Parable of the Good Samaritan: A Political Reading from a Caribbean Perspective
  • The Inclusive Vision of Isaiah 56 and Contested Ethical Practices in Scripture and the Church: Toward a Canonical Hermeneutic of Discernment
  • Food for Thought: The Work of the Spirit and the Dynamics of Disgust in Acts 10
  • Word, Sound, and Power: The Religious Imagination of Rastafari Hermeneutics
  • Chiastic Contours, Caribbean Hermeneutic, and the Book of Acts
  • Black Identity in Light of Slavery, God’s Sovereignty, and Scripture
  • Pastoral Priorities for Biblical Interpretation in the Caribbean
  • Contextual Interpretation and the Canonical Narrative: Toward a Holistic Understanding of the Bible
  • The Anatomy of a Church Healing
  • The Biblical Interpretation of Demonic Possession and Voodoo-Like Possession as the Identity of Evil In Haiti

You may register on the conference page at the Jamaica Theological Seminary website by clicking on the form at the bottom of the page (discounted registration is available up to August 15). Questions about registration can be directed to Dr. Winston Thompson, Vice-president of JTS. The registration page will be updated with detailed information about the conference schedule as soon as it is available.

You can find my report on the conference here.

CONFERENCE CO-SPONSORSHIP

The theology conference is sponsored by the Jamaica Theological Seminary and will be held on their campus, at 14-20 West Ave., Kingston 8, Jamaica, W.I..

The conference is co-sponsored by the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology and the United Theological College of the West Indies.

This interdisciplinary theology conference celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals and the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

February 1 Discount Registration Deadline for Michael Gorman Conference

This is a reminder to those interested that registration is open for the theology conference at Northeastern Seminary with Michael Gorman (entitled Participation in God’s Mission), and that there is a discount available for those registering by February 1. Further details about the conference can be found in my previous blog post.

You can register for the conference online here.

A full schedule of the conference, including descriptions of Dr. Gorman’s lectures, can be found on the Northeastern Seminary theology conference page.

 

Jesus and Social Engagement (in Jamaica)

This Sunday afternoon (September 13, 2015 at 4:00 pm) my friend Dr. Eric Flett, Professor of Theology and Culture at Eastern University (in Philadelphia), will deliver the fourth annual Zenas Gerig Memorial Lecture at Jamaica Theological Seminary (JTS), in Kingston.

Dr. Zenas Gerig was the founder of JTS (in 1960), and its first Principal (then, its first President). I got to know him when I attended JTS in the seventies, and he taught the first formal Bible courses I took at JTS (on the Pentateuch and the Historical Books). Not only was he a prime mover behind the Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association, but he founded the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology in Kingston in 1986. He was an amazing man who had a significant impact on the church and on theological education both in Jamaica and in the rest of the Caribbean.

Dr. Gerig passed away September 14, 2011 and I had the privilege of delivering the first Zenas Gerig Memorial Lecture in September 2012.

Like Zenas Gerig, Eric Flett is an American. But whereas Zenas lived 43 of his years in Jamaica, Eric’s knowledge of and love of the Caribbean comes from his marriage to a Trinidadian and his extensive travel in the region.

Eric accompanied me to Jamaica in January 2010 to participate in the Forum on Caribbean Theology, sponsored by JTS, at which I presented a paper entitled “Islands in the Sun: Overtures to a Caribbean Creation Theology.”

Although Eric’s participation in the Forum was limited to a panel discussion, he later wrote an invited essay that was included in A Kairos Moment for Caribbean Theology, the volume of essays from the 2010 JTS Forum that I edited with Garnett Roper.

Eric’s essay was entitled “Dingolayin’: Theological Notes for a Caribbean Theology.” Trinidadians will know what Dingolay means; but the rest of us might need to look it up.

In this year’s Zenas Gerig Memorial Lecture Eric Flett will address the implications for social engagement that flow from Christian orthodoxy, particularly the doctrine of the Trinity.

Dr. Flett summarizes his topic this way:

“Here is the argument I would like to make: that Christology and creation, salvation and social engagement, are all of one piece . . . , and are sustained harmoniously by a robust doctrine of the Trinity.”

In the context of this Trinitarian doctrine, the lecture will focus on the identity of Jesus, as:

  • The Son of the Father;
  • The Messiah of the Jews;
  • The Image of God; and
  • The sender of the Spirit.

Dr. Flett explains:

“When the doctrine of the Trinity becomes marginalized or misunderstood it threatens the intellectual coherence of the Christian faith and, subsequently, the effectiveness, faithfulness, and endurance of its social witness. There’s no divide here between orthodoxy or orthopraxy . . . .”

I wish I could be in Kingston this weekend to hear Dr. Flett’s lecture in person.

If you are interested, and in the area, I encourage you not to miss this opportunity to be engaged by this significant theologian in serious reflection on “Jesus and Social Engagement,” a vital topic for the Caribbean church and the wider society.