Karam Forum will gather at Doxology Bible Church in Ft. Worth, with an option to join via Zoom, this November 18-19. We will continue tilling new soil in the fields of justice and discipleship in theological education, and our signature “TED-style” talks will explore key insights on this topic from Christian history. Join us to stay on the forefront of this emerging conversation! Chris Brooks, Jennifer Powell McNutt, Gavin Ortlund, David French, Michael Wear and more will lead our time as we connect and collaborate to prepare future leaders for the challenges they will face in their service.
Below you will find important new information about hotels, Zoom participation, our van to San Antonio and more.
Register for Karam Forum today! You can gather with us LIVE and in person in Ft. Worth, OR join via Zoom from wherever you are!
We’ll be drawing deeply from the wells of Christian history at Karam Forum. Whenever the church has difficulty building effective connections between our theological knowledge and our current situation – when we know what we believe, but it’s still hard to get traction where the rubber hits the road – turning to history is almost always helpful. That’s not because we can simply pick up what Christians said and did in the past and plunk it down unchanged in the present. It’s because history is the most integrative of the theological disciplines, training us to see the connections between timeless truths and timely applications.
Here are some of the catalytic conversations we have in store:
Slavery has been a central subject of Christian thinking about justice as far back as history records. Gavin Ortlund of First Baptist Church of Ojai will zero in on how this played out during one crisis period in Christian history – the tumultuous 4th century. He’ll explore how Gregory of Nyssa connected the biblical testimony to God’s justice with opposition to the practice of slavery in the Roman empire. With the ongoing legacy of slavery front and center in our current debates, Gregory’s witness can help us rethink our own witness in fresh ways.
The Reformation was about justice, not just justification. Jennifer Powell McNutt of Wheaton College will walk us through how the leaders of the Reformation stood up to injustice and created new forms of poverty alleviation in their communities. They saw these efforts as the necessary consequences of their distinctive doctrines of justification – as a practical walk that their theological talk demanded. Since we are a community that stands firm for Protestant doctrine, we look forward to exploring how that doctrine illuminated the challenge of justice for the Reformers, and how it can do so for us as well.
One of the thorniest historical problems for thinking about justice in our polarized moment is how we understand the Industrial Revolution, especially its relationship to religious developments like the Wesleyan movement. Today, some emphasize the liberating power of the Industrial Revolution, which overthrew arbitrary aristocratic power in society and opened up much wider access to economic participation by protecting property and contract rights – rights that were justified by Christian arguments about the dignity of the human person and the doctrine of vocation. Others emphasize how the Industrial Revolution is associated with the emergence of a new, materialistic social ethic, the disruption of traditional forms of community, and the introduction of new evils like child factory labor – developments that were and are opposed by churches and Christian movements. Jennifer Woodruff Tait of St. John’s Episcopal Church and Charlie Self of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary will put their heads together and explore how we can do justice to both sides of this story, recognizing the ways in which the Industrial Revolution has been liberating, while also recognizing the serious new problems it has introduced.
Don’t miss out on the historic opportunity to be with us for these insightful talks!
Not to mention the other inspiring and equipping you’ll experience at Karam Forum:
- Chris Brooks, pastor of Woodside Bible Church in Detroit, will join Vincent Bacote of Wheaton College to discuss how disciples of Jesus can seek justice in a polarized and chaotic culture. Brooks continues his long tradition as a leader in our community, helping us think carefully about these difficult issues.
- David French, author of Divided We Fall and senior editor of The Dispatch, and Michael Wear, author of Reclaiming Hope and co-founder of the AND Campaign, will join us digitally to help us think about the present situation in American politics, and how the church’s mission and social role can be better stewarded in these acutely difficult times.
- We’ll be holding another Karam Forum Global Session, following the success of our first session in January, to compare notes with colleagues around the world.
- For the first time, we’ll discuss original scholarly papers in breakout groups, building toward our new peer-reviewed journal on theology for human flourishing, launching in Spring 2022. We also plan to release an open call for papers to be discussed at the Forum next fall.
- And of course all the connecting and networking with colleagues that’s essential to the Karam Forum experience!
If you’re in Ft. Worth, our event will be starting shortly after ETS ends, and we’ll be done with plenty of time to get to San Antonio for those who are heading to SBL/AAR. The current schedule starts at 7pm Thursday and ends at noon Friday. Those times may shift a bit, but we don’t expect any big changes.
We’re going to have a van departing directly for San Antonio from the conference location at Doxology Bible Church. Our very limited seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. We’ll be sending an announcement about that to Karam Forum ticket holders soon, so register now if you want to be first in line to get a seat!
If you can’t be there in Ft. Worth, you can join us via Zoom for these provocative presentations. Those who join us via Zoom will get to see and hear the whole conversation, and submit their questions during discussion periods in each session. That includes the breakout sessions discussing scholarly papers – you’ll be able to select a breakout to join remotely – as well as all our plenary sessions.
So don’t delay – register for Karam Forum today!
We look forward to being with you as Karam Forum returns!