Beeson Divinity School
Mark DeVine, associate professor of divinity
Beeson Divinity School joined the Oikonomia Network in August 2013. We seek to engage students, pastors, and faculty in reflection upon human flourishing according to the witness of Holy Scripture in order to address contemporary challenges. Our efforts focused on several areas of engagement:
- Chapel Speakers The heart of Beeson Divinity School is in our weekly community worship service each Tuesday in Hodges Chapel. Our faith and work sermon series has included messages from Tom Nelson (Christ Community Church, Kansas City) Gene Veith (Patrick Henry College, Purcellville, Va.), Greg Gilbert (Third Street Baptist Church, Louisville), and Cole Huffman (First Evangelical Church, Memphis). We look forward to visits from Russell Moore (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention) and Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City)
- Conferences Select chapel speakers also lead a two-day conference in conjunction with their leadership in community worship. Nelson led such a conference in spring 2013. We look forward to upcoming conferences led by Moore (February 2015) and Keller (fall 2016). These conferences involve several messages delivered by our keynote speakers, Q&A sessions with students, and special working sessions and meals with our pastor symposium (see below). During Keller’s visit, faculty from Beeson and the business school at Samford University will offer an array of workshops for Beeson students.
- Symposiums A select group of strategic pastors participate in an ongoing symposium dedicated to exploring the significance of faith, work, and economics for pastoral leadership. The symposium first met in spring 2014 and heard presentations from Greg Forster (Kern Family Foundation) and Dan Scott (Christ Church, Nashville). Select pastors from five states participated in this two-day event. The experience included sessions led by our two guest speakers, discussion of shared reading, and exploration of how pastors might give new and relevant focus to faith, work, and economics within their congregations. The symposium is designed to include an ongoing commitment to shared learning. Participants look forward to the next installment in connection with Moore’s upcoming visit in February 2015, a conference and symposium in spring 2016, and the Keller visit in fall 2016.Symposium participants have begun to incorporate learning in the area of faith, work, and economics into the lives of their respective congregations through preaching, teaching, and engagement of members in connection with their work-a-day lives and business endeavors. These efforts provide opportunities for focused consideration among symposium attendees. The pastors and I are finding that congregations welcome the attention given to faith and work in preaching and teaching, and are eager to learn more.
- Courses. Each academic year, I offer a course focused on faith, work, and economics. So far, two courses have been offered: Wealth, Poverty, and the Church (spring 2013) and Between Sabbaths: Faith, Work, and Economics on the Other Six Days (fall 2014). These courses stirred significant interest among Beeson students and have proven to be an effective means for spurring conversation, reflection, and engagement of the focal issues that animate our program. Required texts for these courses include: John Schneider’s “The Good of Affluence,” Keller’s “Every Good Endeavor,” and Michael Novak’s classic “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism.”Located within Samford University, Beeson shares a campus with the Brock School of Business. Dean Howard Finch of the Brock School has shown interest in our program and has offered guidance and insight as we developed it and planned our approach. At his suggestion, we invited several professors of economics to serve as guest lecturers in courses to help us navigate the complicated but essential insights from the world of economics, understanding how they impinge upon matters of human flourishing and biblically grounded ethics.
- Blog Posts I author a blog though Beeson’s website dedicated to faith, work, and economics issues.
- Podcasts I interview various speakers and authors committed to the exploration of faith, work, and economics from an orthodox and evangelical Christian perspective, and make the interviews available as podcasts. These are available through the blog.
We believe that this program addresses vital, much-neglected areas of biblical teaching and contemporary experience. We find that students, faculty, and congregations exposed to quality teaching and reflection upon faith and work issues respond with gratitude and a desire to learn more.