Lipscomb University

Christian Scholars' Conference

[Archive CSC 2014]

Plenary Events

Announcing the Inaugural Frank and Della Pack Plenary Lecture

Frank and Della Pack

The Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars' Conference, in partnership with Pepperdine University, is pleased to announce the inaugural Frank and Della Pack Plenary Lecture. A beloved preacher, Frank Pack served for more than forty-five years as a distinguished professor of biblical studies in three colleges related to Churches of Christ. He and Della, a respected faculty member at Pepperdine University, modeled deep commitments to a learned ministry and a devotion to scholarly studies.

Lamin SannehLamin Sanneh

The inaugural Frank and Della Pack lecturer will be Lamin Sanneh, the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity at Yale Divinity School and Professor of History & International & Area Studies at Yale University. Professor Sanneh is an internationally acclaimed scholar and speaker and the author of over one hundred articles and books on religious and historical subjects. Most recently he has published Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity (Oxford), 2008 and Summoned from the Margin: Homecoming of an African (Eerdmans), 2012. He is editor-at-large of The Christian Century and he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with Muslims. For his academic work, he was made Commandeur de I'Ordre National du Lion, Senegal's highest national honor. 

Announcing the Inaugural Abraham J. Malherbe Plenary Lecture

The annual Abraham J. Malherbe Plenary Lecture honors the academic contributions and legacy of Professor Malherbe (1930-2012), the Buckingham Professor Emeritus of New Testament Criticism at Yale Divinity School. This plenary lecture recognizes that his scholarship, devotion to church, and professional standards continue to make an indelible impact on the academy and church.    

Carl Holladay

Carl Holladay

Carl Holladay, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of New Testament Studies at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, will be the inaugural Abraham J. Malherbe Plenary lecturer at the 34th annual Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars' Conference on June 5, 2014. Perfect for this role, Professor Holladay joins classical academic scholarship and professional application through his writing, teaching and church engagement. He is the single author of seven books and, in addition to serving on editorial boards for multiple scholarly journals, he is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory and a popular lecturer at colleges and universities around the globe. His lecture will be entitled "Abraham J. Malherbe: A Case Study in Scholarly Leadership". 

The Robert E. & Bonnie Cone Hooper Plenary Lecture

Robert E. & Bonnie Cone Hooper

Phyllis Tickle

Phyllis Tickle began her career as a college teacher and, for almost six years, served as academic dean to the Memphis College of Art before Phyllis Tickleentering full time into writing and publishing. In September 1996 she received the Mays Award, one of the book industry’s most prestigious awards for lifetime achievement in writing and publishing, and specifically in recognition of her work in gaining mainstream media coverage of religious publishing. In 2004, she received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the Berkeley School of Divinity at Yale University. In 2007 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Christy Awards “In gratitude for a lifetime as an advocate for fiction written to the glory of God.” Tickle is the founding editor of the Religion Department of Publisher’s Weekly, the international journal of the book industry and an authority on religion in America. In addition to lectures and numerous essays, articles, and interviews, Tickle is the author of over two dozen books in religion and spirituality, most recently Emergence Christianity-What It Is, Where It Is Going, and Why It Matters; The Great Emergence; How Christianity is Changing and Why; and The Words of Jesus: A Gospel of the Sayings of Our Lord. Tickle passed away on September 22, 2015. She was a lay eucharistic minister and lector in the Episcopal Church. She is survived by seven children. She made her home on a small farm in Lucy, Tennessee. 

Update on CSC friend and 2014 plenary speaker, Phyllis Tickle

Phyllis Tickle, who delivered one of the more memorable and impactful plenary addresses in CSC history (2014), passed away on September 22, 2015. Her vibrancy, quick wit, and keen intellect impacted the spiritual lives of many people through her poetry, lectures, essays, and books. Read more here.

Special Events

The Inaugural Everett Ferguson Lecture in Early Christian Studies

Everett FergusonEverett Ferguson is Professor of Church History Emeritus and Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Abilene Christian University. He graduated with distinction from Harvard. Dr. Ferguson served as president of the North American Patristics Society and was the recipient of its Distinguished Service Award and is currently a member of the Council of the Association Internationale D’Etudes Patristiques. Dr. Ferguson has authored several books, including Backgrounds of Early Christianity, the two volume Early Christians SpeakThe Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today, and Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries, as well as serving as the general editor of the Encyclopedia of Early Christianity and co-editor of the Journal of Early Christian Studies. In 1998, he was presented with a festschrift, The Early Church in Its Context: Essays in Honor of Everett Ferguson. In 2013, Dr. Ferguson was the honoree of an academic colloquy, Eucharist and Ecclesiology. His academic achievements are only surpassed by his sustained commitment to students and the life of the church. Dr. Ferguson has touched the minds of thousands both in small classrooms within local churches and in academic lecture halls across the globe. He was honored as “Teacher of the Year” in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts in 1984.

Elizabeth A. Clark

Elizabath ClarkElizabeth A. Clark is the John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion and Professor of History, Emerita, at Duke University. She earned her undergraduate degree at Vassar College and her graduate degrees at Columbia University.  She was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Uppsala (2001), and from Yale University (2013). She specializes in the history of late ancient Christianity, with particular attention to issues of women and gender, the development of early Christian asceticism, Biblical interpretation in early Christianity, heresy and orthodoxy, and historiographical issues. Clark has authored or edited thirteen books, the latest of which is Founding the Fathers: Early Church History and Protestant Professors in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011).  She is the founding editor of the Journal of Early Christian Studies, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has held grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and the American Academy in Rome.  Clark has served as the President of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the North American Patristics Society.

The Sixth Annual Meeting of the Church of Christ Theology Students Presents:

Under the leadership of David Mahfood, Brad East and Lauren Smelser White, the Church of Christ Theology PhD students are bringing a top tier scholar to the CSC to engage them and their work.Sponsored by Lipscomb University's Hazelip School of Theology, Pepperdine University, Austin Graduate School of Theology, Oklahoma Christian University's Graduate School of Theology, Lubbock Christian University, and Abilene Christian University's Graduate School of Theology. 

Lipscomb Logo Pepperdine Logo Austin Graduate School of Theology OC Logo Lubbuck Christian University ACU Logo

Ellen F. Davis 

Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke University Divinity School

Ellen F. DavisEllen Davis’ research interests focus on how biblical interpretation bears on the life of faith communities and their response to urgent public issues, particularly the environmental crisis and interfaith relations. She has long been involved in inter-religious dialogue and is now cooperating with the Episcopal Church of Sudan to develop theological education, community health, and sustainable agriculture. Davis is a person of committed faith whose scholarly work impacts multiple disciplines and engages the critical issues of our day. Her most recent book, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible (Cambridge University Press, 2009), integrates biblical studies with a critique of industrial agriculture and food production.  Her other publications include Wondrous Depth: Old Testament Preaching (Westminster John Knox, 2005); Who Are You, My Daughter? Reading Ruth through Image and Text (Westminster John Knox, 2003), an annotated translation accompanying woodcuts by Margaret Adams Parker; Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament (Cowley, 2002); and The Art of Reading Scripture (Eerdmans, 2003), co-edited with Richard Hays.

John T. Willis Plenary

World Premier of John Updike’s Roger’s Version

Blackbird Theatre presents the world premiere of Roger's Version, an original stage adaptation of the acclaimed novel by John Updike, in which a divinity professor's meager faith is challenged by a zealous student who hopes to prove God's existence through a computer. This play was declared the Best Original Drama in 2014 by the Nashville Scene.

Roger's Version



The Nashville Scene recognized the Tokens radio show as Nashville’s “Best Local Variety Show” in 2013 which is a “grass-kicking shredfest” that is a “huge success,” with “genre-bending creativity.” The Tennessean calls it “one of a kind,” and a “virtuoso ensemble.” Prominent Nashville music critic Peter Cooper recently opined that Tokens “is amazing. It’s amazing that [Tokens] has integrated music, humor and scholarship into something so seamlessly entertaining.” Other reviewers have called Tokens “spectacular” and ”provocative.” Sojourners opined that “…if A Prairie Home Companion ever moved South and got religion—or at least went to divinity school—it might look a lot like TOKENS.” Best selling author Shane Claiborne calls Tokens “dazzling. magical. better than CATS … creating beauty and mischief.” And the Englewood Review of Books says that “TOKENS is one of today’s finest exemplars of exploration around the intersections of theology and the performing arts…” Check out the Tokens site above for more information on upcoming shows and the blog! The Tokens podcast is also available online.