Background and Motivation
How Science Supports Christianity and
Christianity Explains Science
For Pastors, Christian Leaders, Scientists, and Skeptics
October 26-28, 2010
In Austin, Texas
Larry L. Linenschmidt, Executive Director
Hill Country Institute for Contemporary Christianity
W. Daniel Heinze, Ph.D.
“Christianity, far from hindering the development of science,
actually provided the womb for its birth and development.”
J. P. Moreland
Why a faith and science symposium for pastors, Christian leaders and scientists?
The default media and cultural message in the world today is that science refutes faith in a personal God. On the contrary, scientific evidence increasingly points to a loving, creator God as the best explanation of the nature of the universe. The mission of this conference is to communicate this “good news”, starting with pastors, who have tremendous impact on their local congregation’s perception of faith and science.
The goal of this symposium, then, is to provide pastors, Christian leaders, and scientists with a good foundation for understanding important current ideas in science, Christian theology, and the interaction between them. The plenary and breakout sessions by leading scientists and theologians will survey advances – and controversies – in science and theology. The subsequent dialog in panel discussions, combined with numerous opportunities for individual interaction, will further elucidate the ideas and issues at stake. As an enduring resource we also will place video and audio recordings of the proceedings online, distribute them in CD and DVD form, and provide selected links to related material by the speakers and others.
Understanding the interaction between science and faith is vital for the empowering of the Christian church to hold the Gospel out to our society with fearless, Christ-honoring integrity. We hope to equip leaders in the church to influence – even define – the terms of discussion between science and faith. The historic and oft used “two books” analogy of God’s revelation is helpful here; the “book” of nature and the “book” of the Bible. Since both “books” are from the Triune God, the information revealed in these “two books” will enhance our understanding of both, and ultimately will be acknowledged as consistent, though they may seem partially incongruent at times because of human limitations and misconceptions.
We seek to clarify these issues in this symposium and ask –
- How do we proceed in this gracious discourse?
- How do the broad categories of science and theology interact?
- What is science? What are its limits?
- How does science support Christianity?
- What are some key, current debates in science?
- How does Christianity explain science?
- What are some dangers in science?
- How does a pastor nurture and encourage
- the spiritual formation of technically oriented Christ-followers?
- How do we mobilize technically oriented Christ-followers to
- help the church witness with fearless, culture transforming integrity?
- What is a vision for the Church in 2030 and how we start on that road today?
The team organizing this symposium seeks to serve pastors, other Christian leaders, and scientists by bringing these key individuals together with leading scientists and theologians to interact, explore, and teach in this vital area of discovery and cultural engagement. Please join us on the journey.
To provide pastors, church leaders, and scientists with quality, accessible explanations of the relationship between science and Christianity. This information will have solid Biblical and scientific foundations and will enhance their comfort and effectiveness as they dialog in matters that touch on the scientific in their local settings.
Corollaries to the Primary Mission-
- Partner with churches and other organizations with related missions, to achieve unity in the Body of Christ and maximum impact for the event (“Partnering for the Kingdom”).
- Be catalytic within the Body of Christ in the dissemination of scientific understanding and of its relationship to Christianity.
- Move forward in overcoming Christ-follower’s insecurity and apprehension in dealing with scientific matters.
- Foster worship, fellowship and networking that will give glory to God and advance the cause of the Kingdom.
- Set the stage for continuing events for those interested in a more in-depth understanding of how science supports Christianity and Christianity explains science. We plan to aim these at two levels:
- pastors, church leaders, and lay Christians
- students of science and skeptics.
- Establish web based resources for use by the Body of Christ which will be accessible and helpful in the local church environment as well as more technical forums.
Values and Issues to Address
- Fidelity to orthodox Christian belief – all materials presented will be consistent with the creedal statements that have unified Christians across centuries and continents: the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed.
- Collegiality and Respect – irrespective of sincerely held differences, we will seek to promote collegiality, respect and community among symposium participants and attendees.
- Excellence in preparation, presentations (well rehearsed, not read), and hospitality.
- Quality scientific materials will be presented at non-scientist levels of complexity.
- Recognition of the limitations of science – in methodology and establishing values.
- Recognition that scientism and naturalism as philosophical systems stand in opposition to Christian thought, and that well developed, reasoned Christian thought should be offered in response.