Theology of Celebration Workshops
At our Theology of Celebration workshops, evangelical leaders gather to explore the implications of modern science for Christian faith. The workshop is first and foremost a worshipful celebration of God’s creation, but it is also a place for relationship building and thoughtful exchange between influential Christian pastors, scientists, scholars, and other cultural gatekeepers.
An invitation-only event, the workshop is organized by some of today’s most influential evangelical leaders: Andy Crouch, Os Guinness, Joel Hunter, Tim Keller, John Ortberg, and Philip Yancey. Rev. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church serves as our local host in New York City.
With key papers and presentations by world-class scientists and scholars, the workshop series has made significant progress in informing and equipping church leaders who continue to wrestle with questions about science. We hope that, decades from now, evangelical historians will point to the BioLogos workshops and say that the sea of change began here: because of the fruitfulness of these meetings, the evangelical church entered into a productive and meaningful engagement with science.
November 2009: Theology of Celebration I
At our first workshop in 2009, we focused on a single question:
What does the second part of God’s “Two Book” revelation—the book of creation—really say, and how can we put that revelation into a historical, pastoral, theological, and cultural perspective?
Discussion centered around the following papers:
- Darrel Falk, Barriers to Accepting the Possibility of Creation by Means of an Evolutionary Process: III. Concerns of the Typical Agnostic Scientist
- Karl Giberson, Scientific Fundamentalism and its Cultural Impact
- Tim Keller, Barriers to Accepting the Possibility of Creation by Means of an Evolutionary Process: II. Concerns of the Typical Parishoner
- Mark Noll, Evangelicals, Creation, and Scripture: An Overview
- Bruce Waltke, Barriers to Accepting the Possibility of Creation by Means of an Evolutionary Process: I. Concerns of the Typical Evangelical Theologian
- Jennifer Wiseman, Science as an Instrument of Worship: Can recent scientific discovery inform and inspire our worship and service?
At the workshop’s conclusion, the attendees developed a signed statement on the significance of the event. Afterward, Darrel Falk reflected on the meeting in his blog post, Coming to Peace in the Family of God.
November 2010: Theology of Celebration II
After two days of intense dialogue, all framed in a spirit of worship, it was clear that this much-needed conversation had just begun. The 2010 workshop began with an assumption and asked three questions:
Suppose that mainstream science is largely correct: the earth is billions of years old and the diversity of life is best explained as a result of an evolutionary process.
- How then might we understand Adam and Eve?
- What is God doing in creation and how is this different than a deistic view of divine activity?
- How might the church best respond to the rampant scientism that so often seems to be associated with accepting scientific conclusions?
Dialogue flowed from presentations around the following papers:
- Denis Alexander, How Does a BioLogos model need to address the theological issues associated with an Adam who was not the sole genetic progenitor of humankind?
- Ard Louis, How Does the BioLogos Model Need to Address Concerns Christians Have About the Implications of its Science?
- Ian Hutchinson, Engaging Today’s Militant Atheist Arguments
As with the 2009 workshop, the common bond that brought us together, despite differences in perspective, was worship. At the end of the 2010 gathering, a summary statement emerged.
March 2012: Theology of Celebration III
In March 2012, we will use the 2010 statement as a starting point and again pose a question:
If the statement that emerged from the Theology of Celebration II workshop is correct, then what are the implications for the church, and how should the church best address the challenges that lie ahead?
This meeting will have a greater emphasis on learning from and equipping pastors who are wrestling with matters of science and faith in their congregations.