Published on August 1, 2018 by Andrew Russell  
Daniel B. Wallace
Daniel B. Wallace

Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School continued its commitment to enrich the spiritual life and enhance the educational experience of its students by bringing in scholars, theologians and top thinkers to lecture in the 2018 spring semester. 

Robert Benne, Jordan Trexler Professor of Religion Emeritus and founding director of the Robert D. Benne Center for Religion and Society at Roanoke College, delivered two special lectures on the intersection of religion and politics Feb. 1. The first lecture focused on mistakes Christians often make when thinking about politics, while the second offered suggestions for a more fruitful engagement between the church and the political sphere. 

“The indirect approach [to politics] through the laity demands far more attention,” Benne said. “We have to form people much more strongly, so that they can be leaven and salt as they engage the public world.”

Daniel B. Wallace, senior research professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, delivered the Biblical Studies Lectures Feb. 6-7. Wallace lectured on the process and reliability of textual criticism, drawing the conclusion that the wealth of biblical manuscripts available to scholars testifies quite strongly to the Bible’s trustworthiness.

“We have a massive amount of manuscripts and quite a few that are early—almost a thousand just within 900 years of the New Testament,” said Wallace. “The bottom line is that, as time goes on, we’re actually getting closer and closer to the original text, not farther away.” 

The William E. Conger, Jr. Lectures on Biblical Preaching were delivered Feb. 27-March 1 by Michael Pasquarello III, the newly appointed Methodist Chair of Divinity and director of the Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute. Following the trajectory of the life of 20th century German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pasquarello discussed the development of Bonhoeffer’s view of preaching as he found himself in different ministerial environments. 

“[Bonhoeffer] was learning the relationship of theological content and homiletical form, the shape preaching must take to be heard as the Word of God for particular times, places, people, and circumstances,” Pasquarello said.

David Garrison, executive director of Global Gates and author of A Wind in the House of Islam, delivered a lecture during Beeson’s World Christianity Focus week April 10 about reaching Muslims with the gospel. The discussion centered around “global gateways,” cities in the United States where people from myriad cultures and ethnicities can be reached with the gospel.

“Through the ‘ends of the earth’ that have come to our cities, we can reach back to the ends of the earth and change the world,” Garrison said. 

Learn more about Beeson Divinity School’s lectures.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.