C.S. Lewis and the Divine Presence - Panel Discussion

Five panelists discuss the works of C.S. Lewis and what he had to say about the Holy Spirit living in us. Moderated by Larry Linenschmidt, the panel members are Lyle Dorsett, Joel Heck, Darci Hill, Marjorie Mead, and Jerry Root. Lyle, Marjorie, and Jerry were plenary speakers at the conference called "C.S. Lewis and the Divine Presence" on Saturday, April 13, 2013, at Laurie Auditorium at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Darci and Joel joined them for the panel discussion in the afternoon of the conference. The plenary talks are available on this website as well.

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C.S. Lewis on Spiritual Formation

Dr. Lyle Dorsett has been the Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in Birmingham since 2005, and teaches courses in evangelism, spiritual formation and church history. He also serves as the pastor of Christ the King Anglican Church, a mission oriented church in Birmingham which he founded in 2007 with his wife, Mary Hayes Dorsett. Lyle holds an M.A. in history from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has engaged in Post-Doctoral Studies at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. He has taught history (specializing in urban history) and has served as the director of the Wade Center in Wheaton, Illinois (1983 to 1990). He is the author or editor of twenty books, including biographies of Dwight L. Moody and A. W. Tozer and several works on C.S. Lewis including: Seeking the Secret Place: The Spiritual Formation of C.S. Lewis, The Essential C.S. Lewis, and Surprised by Love, a book about Joy Davidman and her marriage to Lewis. His most recent book is Serving God and Country: U.S. Military Chaplains of World War II.  Lyle and his wife, Mary, have two children and four grandchildren.

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In What Way is Art a Gift, a Calling, and an Obedience

In what way, that is, does art tell us about the nature of God (that everything is gift), the nature of human beings (that we are made in the image of a Gift-giver), and the nature of earth-tilling and Gospel-living (that we are responsible servants who have been commissioned to make artistic culture in the context of a fallen world)?

Our desire here is to help pastors understand the relation of art to God, to ourselves as humans, and to our calling as culture-makers, filling the earth with artistic goodness one square inch at a time. This talk is foundational in nature and is presupposed by the remainder of the plenary talks in the Transforming Culture recordings.

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What is an Artist and How Do We Shepherd These Strange Creatures?

What is the anatomy of an artist? What is their peculiar nature? What do artists need to be healthy, mature persons? What do artists need but don’t immediately realize they need? How can we provide spiritual formation as well as community and opportunities for expression for the artists in our care?

Our desire here is to help pastors understand the way God has created artists. Artists don’t need to be idolized or marginalized—often the two primary ways our culture treats them—they need to be loved with understanding, appreciated for the often non-useful, non-marketable but glory-bearing work they create, and invited into the gracious lordship of Christ and the protective, generous care of His Body, the Church.

Our desire, more fully then, is to help pastors understand artists so they can shepherd them well, with skill and wisdom, with love and joy, whether the artists are serving the liturgy or the community or the culture at large or perhaps just needing to sit in the pew and be loved for who they are, not for what they can do.

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How is the Pastor an Artist and the Artist a Pastor?

How can a pastor see himself as an artist? How can he learn to think artistically, or live artfully, or grow in the art of the shepherding of words and people which is also the art of love? On the other hand, how can the artist see him or herself as a shepherd? How can artists see themselves as uniquely anointed shepherds of the imagination, of emotions, of ideas, of physical matter, of beauty?

Pastors and artists are both in the business of shepherding. Both are called to live their lives artfully. The work of pastoring is both a science and an art. The work of art-making is both a provocation and a care-taking. Our desire here is to help the pastor and the artist grow in their understanding and appreciation of their kindred work: of shepherding, of art-making.

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What is the Vision of the Evangelical Church in 2058?

Where was the evangelical Church with the arts back in 1958? What movements, trends, forces ought we to be aware of? What concerns face us? What are the hopes and possibilities that lie before us?

The sons of Issachar of 1 Chronicles 12:32 were men who understood the times, knew what to do, and then did it. Our desire here is to help pastors and artists become far-sighted Christians. We want to understand the spirit of the age, not become married to it. We want to be immersed in the culture but not trapped inside it. We want to be present to our contemporary times, careful students of history, and keen observers of the cultural currents—social, political, technological, commercial, religious and so on—that carry us, sometimes forcefully, into our common future.

Our desire is not only to learn from our past mistakes but to anticipate the brokennesses that lie ahead so that we can be clear-headed and nimble-footed in our gospel work. How can we as the church release our artists to make shalom-bearing art with the weighty wisdom of past generations and the welfare of future generations in mind?

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What Are the Dangers of Artistic Activity?

How can the arts undermine the calling and mission of the Church? What are the possible excesses and misuses of the arts in a church setting: in the worship, in the discipleship, in evangelism and service?

Our desire here is to help pastors anticipate potential dangers in their use of the arts. What works at the playhouse may not be suitable for the sanctuary. The experience of art can become a substitute for an experience of God. The stirring of emotions may simply be that: emotions, not a stirring towards transformation. There can be too much wow factor, or technological whiz-bang, or spectatorship instead of participation in the worship of God.

More art is not necessarily better. What is old can be deadening. What is new can be inappropriate and disruptive. What brings life to one congregation may bring death to another. All of this compels us to seek wisdom from above so that we may be as shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves in our shepherding of the artists among us.

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How Can Our Actions and Spaces be Artfully Shaped?

How can our corporate actions (the liturgy) and physical spaces (the architecture) be informed by an artistic perspective? How, in fact, can the arts reinforce and enliven our theological convictions about worship?

Our desire here is to help pastors and church leaders understand the peculiar nature of the arts as epistemological aids to our knowledge and experience of God as well as media to support our theological commitments as a community; but also to challenge and expand them when necessary. The arts are not neutral. They can aid or hinder our corporate experience. They can conserve, confront, grow and revive our traditions. And each artistic media will do so in unique ways.

For us as pastors to become wise stewards of the arts we need to have a basic understanding of the “liturgical” function of the arts and a basic sense of how the different arts perform this function in unique ways. The purpose of this talk, in short, is to offer a basic landscape of understanding about artfully shaped actions and spaces.

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Flourish: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk, and True Power

What does human flourishing look like? Is it possible today? If so, how? How can power be used to help others flourish?

We all know how power can be used to tear down others. Can it be used to build up? To bring life and freedom to others? If so, how?

What hinders human flourishing? What are the idols that we set up in our own lives and in our societies that snatch away all that is good and beautiful?

How does power lead to injustice and yet be used to defeat injustice?

Andy Crouch talks about these issues at this talk given in Austin, Texas.

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C.S. Lewis on the Presence of God and the Holy Spirit

Dr. Jerry Root is an associate professor at Wheaton College where he teaches graduate courses in the MA in Evangelism and Leadership Program as well as courses in the undergraduate Christian Formation and Ministry Department. In addition, Jerry is a visiting professor at Biola University and Talbot Graduate School of Theology (La Mirada, Calif.). He is also the director of the Evangelism Initiative at Wheaton College and associate director of the Billy Graham Center Institute of Strategic Evangelism. He has pastored three different churches over twenty-three years. Nineteen of those years were invested in student ministry, and for four years he served as a senior pastor. While pastoring he taught courses in Philosophy and on C. S. Lewis for ten years at the College of Du Page in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Jerry has written C. S. Lewis and a Problem of Evil: an Investigation of a Pervasive Theme, co-authored The Sacrament of Evangelism, and also co-authored and co-edited The Soul of C. S. Lewis: A Meditative Journey through Twenty-six of His Best Loved Writings. He is co-editor, with Wayne Martindale, of the best-selling and award-winning The Quotable C. S. Lewis. Jerry has authored numerous articles and contributed many chapters to other books on topics related to C.S. Lewis. Jerry is also the consulting editor of the new Harper Collins C. S. Lewis Bible. He has lectured on C. S. Lewis at 52 college or university campuses and in 15 countries around the world. He has taught college and graduate courses on C. S. Lewis for 32 consecutive years. Jerry and his wife, Claudia, have four married children, seven grandkids, and a Welsh Corgi. They live in Wheaton, Illinois.

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Common Descent Debate

Science carries great authority in our culture. For much of the public, however, aspects of the scientific enterprise are marked by controversy. Near the top of that list is evolution, a theory widely held by scientists to be the cornerstone of modern biology. Yet over the past decade, in the face of unexpected genetic discoveries, even some evolutionary biologists have openly questioned Darwin's "Tree of Life" — the theory of common descent of all life on Earth from a single organism.

In this forum, two philosophers of biology with expertise in the area debated the current status and the future of Common Descent. Velasco defended the mainstream evolutionary position; Nelson challenged it.

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Not Like Me

Eric Bryant talks about what it takes for us to make an impact in this world. What's most important? What has to happen in our own hearts? What matters and what doesn't? Can we keep doing what we've always done? This talk was presented at a retreat at Camp Allen - Conversations on Faith: Uncovering God's Masterpiece in Ourselves and Others, sponsored by Hill Country Institute and Camp Allen, on Nov. 21-23, 2014.

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Time for Truth: Living Free in a World of Lies, Hype and Spin

Is there something bigger than ME worth living for? How can I be fulfilled when the world is hurtling toward more chaos? Is there any foundation I can stand on other than my own conscience? Os Guinness talks about the plumb line we all need and how we can find it. This talk was presented at The University of Texas at Austin as part of Explore Truth Summit 2015.

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What is at Stake? A Call For Gracious Discourse

Creation is a central doctrine in Christianity, connecting to several key theological issues. However, for the past several decades, most of the attention given to this doctrine has been focused on the correct reading of Genesis 1-11, specifically with respect to contested claims about the age of the earth. For evangelicals committed to inerrancy, it is important that we clarify hermeneutical boundaries and options in which this matter can be discussed. Examples and insights from earlier Christian thought can guide us here. Most importantly, as grace and truth cohere in Christ, they must be correlative in our dialogue and debate.

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The Cosmic Temple Inauguration View of Genesis One

Understanding an ancient text such as Genesis 1 requires us to consider issues the way they would have. A foundational issue is how they thought about existence. Ancient peoples believed that something existed when it had a function. This is in contrast to our belief that existence is tied to material properties. This position views Genesis 1 as an account of functional origins rather than an account of material origins. We must also recognize the cosmos functions as sacred space a cosmic temple concept, which conveys the idea that God has established order in the cosmos which has become his dwelling place. The seven days concern the inauguration of the functional cosmic temple rather than the time over which the material cosmos came into existence.

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Six 24-Hour Days, A Reformed View

The six 24-hour day view of the creation days of Genesis 1 (variously called the normal day view, the literal view, the calendar day view, etc.) that is, the view that we are to understand God's creation days as recorded in Genesis 1 to be calendar days of the sort we now regularly experience is the default view of Christianity, historically and confessionally. That is, the historic Christian tradition has always in the main viewed these days as calendar days, because it has viewed the Genesis account as historical. This talk will explain the history and hermeneutics of this issue from a Reformed perspective.

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