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Mega-intensive cohort streams

Individuals who participate in the Mega-intensive conference may choose to be in one of the following cohorts.

Cohort One
Faculty: Jill Firth, Andrew Judd, Andrew Malone and Anthea McCall

  • Sin and Evil in Lamentations (Jill Firth)
    Who is responsible for the disaster of the fall of Jerusalem? The Book of Lamentations brings perspectives on sin and evil to consider alongside the books of Kings and Jeremiah. In this lecture, we will listen to the voices of daughter Zion, the LORD, an afflicted man, and the grieving community.
  • When God commands the unthinkable (Andrew Judd)
    The conquest narratives in Joshua are immensely challenging to the modern reader. What do we do when the God of the Hebrew Bible appears to be complicit in the evil of genocide? This lecture evaluates some of the main approaches to making sense of this material.
  • When slaves suffer at the hands of the Godly (Andrew Judd)
    Genesis 16 narrates the clear mistreatment of an Egyptian slave Hagar at the hands of Abram and Sarai. The history of interpretation of this passage includes its use as a justification for the institution of slavery. Is the God of the Hebrew Bible indifferent to the suffering of slaves?

Cohort Two – Evil in Christian History and Theology
Faculty: Mike Bird, Rhys Bezzant and Scott Harrower

  • What is evil? (Scott Harrower)
    Drawing on classical theologians such as Augustine, Aquinas, as well and contemporary ones such as Eleonore Stump this lecture provides a model of what Christians mean theologically when we speak of evil.
  • God within Deformity, Absence and Pain (Scott Harrower)
    This lecture argues for the way that evil is sensed in the world and what traces of God’s reparative may be found in this context.
  • Satan: Misunderstood Angel or Supernatural Supervillain? (Mike Bird)
    This presentation will examine the development of the tradition about Satan in biblical and post-biblical writings as well as explore the identity of Satan in the New Testament and early Christian literature.
  • Who Needs Satan When You Have Palpatine and Thanos? (Mike Bird)
    This presentation will look at the function of belief in Satan and its relevance for Christian theology, mission, and ministry. It will touch on the nature of Satan and aspects of spiritual warfare.
  • Suffering Produces Theologians: Luther’s Critique of Theologians of Glory (Rhys Bezzant)
    This presentation will provide a pastoral outline of the ways that Luther understood the role of suffering in the experience of Christians, and the role of the cross in critiquing faith which tries to resolve all existential tensions.
  • Sinless Perfectionism: John Wesley’s Agonistic Spirituality of Love (Rhys Bezzant)
    Wesley believed that a kind of sinless perfection was possible for true believers in this life, a recurring theme in the history of evangelicalism. This session investigates 1 John, Methodist spirituality, and patterns of growth amongst disciples of Christ.

Cohort Three – Public Christianity and Australian Culture
Sin and Evil in the Age of Identity Politics
Faculty: Brian Rosner, John Dickson and Tim Foster

This cohort will evaluate responses to evil in contemporary culture in the light of Christian theology.

  • Setting the Scene: Australia in the Age of Identity Politics (Tim Foster)
    This lecture examines the development of identity politics in Australia over the past 30 years, and how evil has been relocated from individual culpability to the corporate identity. We will consider several cultural artefacts to identify the heroes and villains are in contemporary Australia
  • The Church in the Age of Identity Politics (Tim Foster)
    Christians have responded to the emergence of identity politics in various ways. This lecture will examine some responses and consider whether they are appropriate or effective. An alternative approach that avoids capitulation is proposed.
  • Expressive Individualism (Brian Rosner)
    Expressive individualism, the belief that looking inwards is the way to find yourself, is fast becoming the unquestioned and exclusive approach to identity formation.  Is it possible to look only inward to find yourself?  Does it lead to a good life?  How does the gospel address the new identity culture
  • The Story of Social Justice (Brian Rosner)
    The biggest driver of identity politics is the shared story of victims and oppressors that lies behind it.  The story of social justice, while rightly striving to address historic and present-day prejudice and discrimination, produces narrative identities based on an incomplete diagnosis of what is wrong with humanity and it lacks the means to attain its transformative vision of the future
  • Mea Culpa as Apologia (John Dickson)
    This lecture examines the doctrine of sin as it applies to church history and today. Offering a sweeping overview of the best and worst of Christian history, students will probe the significance and limitations of ‘conceding’ the failures of God’s people in our hope to find a hearing with the sceptical public.
  • Losing Well and Other Strategies for Winning the World (John Dickson)
    This lecture explores the biblical-theological and practical grounds for adopting the twofold posture of cheerful confidence to jump into the secular fray and a cheerful humility to lose well if we must.
  • See the Plank Before You See the Speck (John Dickson)

Application Cohorts (Friday)

  • Global Mission
  • Evangelism – John Dickson
  • Leadership – Tim Foster
  • Pastoral Ministry – Richard Trist
  • Preaching
  • School Chaplaincy/Children and Youth – Graham Stanton
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We respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri People, who are the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Ridley College campus is built. Ridley College is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology, CRICOS Provider Code 02650E. © 2019 Copyright. All Rights Reserved.