Faith & Science

Symposia and conferences to bring together thought leaders, pastors and other christian leaders, and interested lay people to interact on the intersection of christianity and science. events focus on theology, science and philosophy of science.

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Common Descent

[2016, St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX]
Speakers: Joel Velasco (Texas Tech University) and Paul Nelson (Discovery Institute)

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.


Creation: Biblical Options
A Gracious Dialogue

[2011, Houston, TX]
Speakers: Todd Beall, Craig Blaising, Ligon Duncan, Walter Kaiser, John Mark Reynolds, John Walton, Bruce Waltke
Held in Houston, Texas, this event provided a forum for gracious dialogue imbued with mutual respect among thoughtful, prominent Christian theologians and teachers. In our present human state, we all “see through a glass darkly”; we are told that our minds cannot fully conceive what God is doing, and God tells us that some mysteries He is revealing to the Church and some He is not. There are hermeneutical tensions and theological “costs” for any position that we take.

What are the tensions and costs that we personally are most comfortable with? Creation: Biblical Options/A Gracious Dialogue was designed to be a safe place where loving, wise, discerning Christian leaders helped us see different possibilities regarding what God is revealing in His word and gain an understanding and appreciation for different tensions and costs that others are more comfortable with. We sought to understand the tensions, strengths, and weaknesses of each position, their relationships, and their alleged and real impacts on theology and doctrines.


The Vibrant Dance of Faith & Science - Symposium I
How Science Supports Christianity and Christianity Explains Science

[2010, Austin, TX]
Speakers: Andy Crouch, Ross Hastings, Dan Heinze, Hugh Ross, Fazale Rana, Darrel Falk, Stephen Meyer, Deborah Haarsma, Jack Collins, Rob Norris, Dinesh D’Souza, Alister McGrath
More than ever before, recent scientific discovery is both confirming and illuminating our Christian faith. From progressive-creationism to theistic-evolution, including intelligent design, there is a wide spectrum of interpretations of both science and the fact-and-mode of God’s creative activity.

Informed, gracious discourse will be a key to furthering the gospel of Christ and enriching the enterprise of science.

The Vibrant Dance of Faith and Science Symposium 1 was a series of symposia and online resources to inspire, equip, and unify the Church to transform cultures.


Why Science Cannot be God—The Limitations of Science Evoke an Expectation of Divine Revelation

Speaker: Dan Heinze, Geophysicist


Science and Faith: Complementary or in Conflict?
Current Topics in the Debate

Speaker: Dr. Walter Bradley, Professor Emeritus


The Great Debate: Was Darwin Wrong?



What Has Design Ever Done for Science?—
Considering the Intelligent Design Movement

Speaker: Dr. Angus Menuge


Faith & Art

Conferences to bring together thought leaders, pastors and other christian leaders, as well as interested lay people to interact on the topic of Art in the Church. events focus on the role of Art in the Church, care for the artists among us, and more.


Transforming Culture

[2008, Austin, TX]
Speakers: Jeremy Begbie, Andy Crouch, Barbara Nicolosi, Eugene Peterson, David Taylor and John Witvliet
This symposium brought together pastors, church leaders and artists to discuss the Church’s relation to the arts and to artists. There were three main areas we focused on:

1) art and the worship of the Church

2) artists and the community of the Church

3) art and the mission of the Church in the renewal culture



More Than Meets the Ear: What Does Music Have to do With God?

[2015, San Antonio, TX]
Speaker: Jeremy Begbie

Dr. Begbie presented a one-of-a-kind lecture series on the unique ways in which we can know and express God through music. Dr. Begbie, a well-known and greatly loved speaker and teacher whose messages bring hope, encouragement, and inspiration, used music to demonstrate Kingdom Truths.

Hill Country Institute co-sponsored this event with the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas' Commission on Liturgy and Music.


In Defense of the Eye II: The Reconstructive Role of Beauty in Our Public Places

[2007, First Evangelical Free Church of Austin, Austin, TX]
Speaker: David Taylor, Sandra Bowden, and Larry Linenschmidt


Faith & Culture

Conferences and seminars to bring together thought leaders, pastors and other christian leaders, as well as interested lay people to interact on topics related to faith lived out in our current culture.


The Death of Humanity and the Case for Life

[2017, Austin, TX]
Speaker: Dr. Richard Weikart
The long-held belief in the intrinsic value of human life is dying as the influence of our Christian cultural heritage is being eclipsed by the rising tide of secularism. In this presentation, Professor Weikart drew from his book of the same title to trace the rise of secular philosophies that have promoted the idea that humans are merely the chance outcome of impersonal forces and thus have no intrinsic purpose or value . . . These ideas have infiltrated our popular culture and our legal, educational, and legislature systems to the point where they devalue individual human life and deny objective morality.

This event was cosponsored with The Lakeway Church of Austin.

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Celebrating the Way of St. Patrick

[2017, Fredericksburg, TX]
This event was held at the beautiful home of Dan and Judith Heinze, La Hacienda Te Damos Gracis, just down the road from the Enchanted Rock State natural Area. We looked at Patrick's model of reaching beyond the church with courage and a culturally sensitive message.

Like Joseph sold into slavery to one day save Egypt and his brothers, so God sent Patrick into slavery to ready Ireland for a coming salvation. God arrested him with severe mercy. He was kidnapped at age 16 by Irish raiders and taken back to Ireland, where he served as a slave for six years under a tribal chief, who was also a druid. While a slave in Ireland, God opened his eyes to the gospel of his childhood. It was as a captive that he came to understand the Irish Celtic people, and their language and culture, with a kind of intuitive profundity that is usually possible only, as in Patrick’s case, from the underside. When he eventually escaped from slavery, he was a changed man, now a Christian from the heart. He studied for the ministry, and led a parish in Britain for nearly 20 years.

He wanted to see the gospel penetrate deeply into the Irish culture and produce an indigenous movement. Having lived among the people and gained understanding of how they believed, what was important to them, how they lived, what their issues were, and what they cared about, he was able to show them he understood them and loved them and thus gained their trust. People knew he genuinely cared about them, so they listened to him. And they learned about the God who loves them.


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

[2015, Austin, TX]
Speaker: Andy Crouch

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?

In this presentation, Andy Crouch helped us think about what it really means for humans to flourish, both as individuals as well as societies, and what the implications are for our own lives.


Explore Truth Summit with Os Guinness

[2015, Austin, TX]
Speaker: Os Guinness

If you're thinking about our society and the direction we're going in; if you're wondering how it's all going to work out; if you're interested in thinking about the meaning of life; if you ponder how to navigate the streams of contemporary culture . . . or, if you just enjoy hearing a well-known speaker with profound insights on current cultural and societal issues . . . then Explore Truth Summit is for you!

Co-sponsored by Hill Country Institute and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), Explore Truth Summit took place over three days with a series of five events in multiple venues. Os Guinness presented several talks on topics related to current issues of our culture and society and how Christians should think about and respond to them


Conversations on Faith: Uncovering God’s Masterpiece in Ourselves and in Others

[2014, Camp Allen Conference Center, Navasota, TX]
Speaker: Dr. Eric Bryant, Dr. Darci Hill, and Dr. Susan Quiring

Set in the beautiful piney woods of East Texas, this event was a weekend of reflection, engagement, discovery and renewal. The speakers helped us explore how to see ourselves and others as the masterpieces God made us to be. Topics included:

* Engaging the people in our spheres with more "Christ-likeness" and less "Pharisee-likeness"
* Touching the longings of the human heart by using the beauty and power of story to convey Truth
* Recovering the lost art of conversation*Listening - the skill that communicates interest and honor
* Language—the God-given link between us. How do we converse with the diverse people who cross our paths every day?

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Groundhogs, Chariots, Red Pills and Jesus—Using Movie to Stimulate Conversations About the Big Questions of Life

[2014, Zhi Tea House, Austin, TX]
Speaker: Walter Bradley

This was the seventh of 7 events we called “Conversational Sundays”, or “Family Dinner Conversations” based on the book "Mud and the Masterpiece" by John Burke, Pastor of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas. Walter Bradley lead a discussion of how we can use film to initiate fun, non-threatening conversations about the big questions of life.


Love THAT Neighbor, too? Building Friendships with People who Have Different Worldviews From Our Own

[2014, Zhea Tea House, Austin, TX]
Speaker: Dave M.

This was the sixth of a series of seven "family dinner conversations" based on the book "Mud and the Masterpiece" by John Burke, Pastor of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas. Our guest speaker was a friend of HCI who has spent many years living amongst Muslim neighbors in North Africa. He lead us in a discussion of how we love our neighbor even if they have a different worldview from that of our own.


Who is My Neighbor?

[2014, Zhea Tea House, Austin, TX]
Speaker: Kirby Holmes

In this casual dinner at an East Austin Tea House, we explored what it means to love as Jesus loved, to treat people the people in our lives as the extraordinary masterpieces they are, even if they come from a different worldview from our own.

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From Abolitionism to Environmentalism: The Power of the Gospel in Cultural Transformation



How Children Raise Parents: Dan Allender on Parenting

Speaker: Dan Allender


Law and Clergy Conference



Renovaré International Conference



Finding God at Harvard & Texas

Speaker: Kelly Monroe Kullberg


Ron Jensen Leadership Presentation


Presented in conjunction with Austin Christian Executives and Peter Strople


The Hill Country Renovaré Conference

[2006, First Evangelical Free Church, Austin, TX]


Christian Scholar’s Forum

[2006 - 2008, The University of Texas at Austin]

Ethics in a Post Enron Age

[2004, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX]
Speakers: Bishop Gregory Aymond, Dallas Willard, Peter Kreeft, Jay Budziszewski, Frederica Mathewes-Green. and UT’s Dean Powers


Faith and Education

Conferences and seminars on issues related to education and how Christians should think about and respond to them.


Irrigating Deserts: C.S. Lewis on Education

[2007, Concordia University, Austin, TX]
Speaker: Pascal Forgione, Joel Heck

Conference title is from the book by Joel Heck of the same title which is a quote from C.S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man.


Christian Scholar’s Forum

[2006, 2007, 2008], The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX]
Speakers: Jean Bethke Elshtain, Francis Beckwith, Walter Bradley, and others

Assisted graduate students of UT and other universities in originating a forum for graduate students to prepare for academic careers by presenting papers.


The Works of C.S. Lewis & Friends

Conferences and seminars in which we look at issues of concern to the Body of Christ today through the lens of the works of C.S. Lewis and the Inklings


A Day with C.S. Lewis

[2016, San Antonio, TX]


Mere Education: C.S. Lewis as Teacher for Our Time

[2014, Austin, TX]
Speaker: Dr. Mark Pike

Held at Regents School of Austin and at Concordia University, Dr. Pike spoke on Lewis’ educational vision and how it applies to issues of critical importance for parents, students, teachers and school leaders. Pike’s book, Mere Education, clearly describes the boundaries Lewis perceived that will protect schooling from an incoming tide of ideological assumptions that threaten to erode and undermine excellence.


A C.S. Lewis Celebration Dinner: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of C.S. Lewis

[2013, Fredericksburg, TX]

Presented at a Hill Country Estate near the base of Enchanted Rock, this event included a beautiful, plated dinner and a live presentation of Lewis’ “The Weight of Glory”.


C.S. Lewis and the Divine Presence: Living the Mystery of the Indwelling God

[2013, Trinity University, San Antonio, TX]
Speakers: Lyle Dorsett, Marjorie Mead, Jerry Root

Five C.S. Lewis scholars, a panel discussion, live music performances, capped off by a moving concert by The Brilliance.


Worldview Unplugged: C.S. Lewis’ Discarded Images and Changing Paradigms

[2012, Austin, TX]
Speaker: Jerry Root

In the beautiful setting of St. Luke’s on the Lake Episcopal Church in Austin, TX, we converted a fellowship hall into a replica of The Eagle and The Child, the favorite pub of C.S. Lewis and the Inklings. Dr. Jerry Root helped us look through the lens of Lewis’ The Discarded Image to consider what it means to think as a Christian about the landscape of ideas which surround us today and, most importantly, “how shall we then live?”


C.S. Lewis on Imagination and Truth

[2009, Concordia University, Austin, TX]
Speaker: Angus Menuge


A Day With C.S. Lewis

[2008, Austin, TX]
Speakers: Dr. Garry Friesen and Dr. Joel Heck

Drs. Friesen and Heck lead an exciting time of considering how the works of C.S. Lewis can assist us in integrating faith and reason.


Irrigating Deserts: C.S. Lewis on Education

[2007, Concordia University, Austin, TX]
Speaker: Pascal Forgione, Joel Heck

Conference title is from the book by Joel Heck of the same title which is a quote from C.S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man.


Third Austin C. S. Lewis Conference
Goodness, Truth and Beauty: Apologetics and the Winsome Christ

[2006, St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX]
Speakers; Joel Heck, William Lane Craig, Peter Kreeft, and Frederica Mathewes-Green


The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

[2005, Concordia University and Redeemer Lutheran Church, Austin, TX]


First Austin C.S Lewis Conference
The Rediscovery of Evil: A Christian Response

[2002, St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX]
Speakers: Peter Kreeft, James Houston, and Dan Davis

Church sponsors included Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, Westlake Bible Church and All Saints Episcopal Church. Other churches and individuals provided financial and volunteer support.