It’s already here. The annual Symposium on the Theological Interpretation of Scripture hosted by North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago on September 27-29, 2018. The symposium has always been on the nose about choosing themes that reflect some of the burning questions and issues of our time. But this year’s theme seems especially relevant in light of current events domestically (#blacklivesmatter, or even a typical summer on Chicago’s south side) and internationally (the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the armistice between a divided Korea, human trafficking which is equally a domestic issue, the Middle East). The 2018 Symposium theme is on human violence. 

     What is violence? Is violence ever a Christian option? If so, under what conditions? If not, what are the alternatives? How do we pastoral care for those traumatized by violence?

     When a person just a few years ago was gunned down in front of my flat, and I had to go out and scrub the blood from my sidewalk, I became even more personally invested in this topic. And I think many pastors and leaders of the church will be as well. I’m hoping our symposium will be a packed house where those thinking biblically and theologically about the problem of violence and the gospel’s radical solution to it will find some answers and even more important questions.

     The poster has the roster and names of those scholars across the disciplinary fields of theological education (biblical studies, theology, church history, ministry and missions) who will be giving our plenary addresses (click on the poster above for a larger view). A special shout out to my academic mentor Dr. Seyoon Kim, Emeritus Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, who sent me an early copy of his paper entitled “Paul and Violence.” 

     If interested in attending the Symposium, the 1st Thursday session is always free for visitors. After that, we ask that participants register officially for the symposium. North Park community members, students, and alumni, of course, receive a discount. More information is found here. Hope to see you there! MJL