Adult Formation

Adult Forums

Sundays at 10:30
Parish House Lower Level, Room 1-2-3

(during the academic season)

Adult Forums are scheduled weekly. Subjects cover a broad range of topics and guest speakers lead us in contemporary issues of the day and theological discussions. See the most recent issue of the weekly News from The Redeemer for details.

Click here for a booklet of the complete offerings for 2017 Fall & Advent.

October & November Forums
October 8
By Schisms Rent Asunder, By Rummage Sales Distressed
In 2012, Phyllis Tickle published a book entitled The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and  Why. Tickle’s primary observation is that the Church experiences the equivalent of a “rummage sale” about every 500 years: a destabilizing and dislocating moment when it is forced to reevaluate what it means to be the Church. Noting that the Reformation was the last such moment in church history, she argues that we are in the midst of a “rummage sale” moment today. If this is indeed the case, we are left to wonder what the Reformation reveals about who we are as Christians. Perhaps more urgently, the similarity between our era and that the Reformation invites us to consider what guidance the Reformation (or any of the Church’s other “rummage sale” moments, for that matter) can provide as the Church finds its way forward in a rapidly changing world. Join David Romanik as he begins our series on the Reformation by discussing Tickle’s book and exploring these questions.
 
October 15
Reconsidering Justification?
Of all the issues that led to the Reformation, the most theologically significant was the doctrine of justification: the assertion that we are reconciled to God through grace and not through the mediation of an ecclesiastical authority. Viewed with suspicion by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, this doctrine became a major flashpoint in the conflict between Protestants and Catholics. In 1999, however, the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation issued the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.” It was an astonishing historical moment in which the two primary antagonists of the Reformation came to an agreement about the era’s most controversial issue. As more churches have embraced the Joint Declaration in the intervening years, some have wondered whether Catholics and Protestants are moving toward reconciliation. Join Steven Boyer, professor of theology at Eastern University, as he examines this landmark agreement and explores its implications for Christian unity.
 
October 22
Mission is the Mother of Ecumenism
While the Roman Catholic Church has sponsored missions around the world for more than five hundred years, Protestants were not actively engaged in cross cultural mission until the 18th century. Interestingly, the very first Protestant mission was a collaborative effort among several denominations. Though latecomers to cross-cultural mission, in other words, Protestants were on the vanguard of the ecumenical movement. Indeed, long before ecumenism was fashionable, Christians of many denominations were cooperating out of a shared sense of their responsibility to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Join Paul Rajashekar, the Luther T. Reed Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia, as he explores how the Reformation influenced both the ecumenical movement and the mission all Christians share.
 
October 29
A Brief History of Truth
In John’s gospel, Jesus proclaims, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” Despite the clarity of this statement, human beings have long struggled to discern what is true. This, in fact, was one of the central issues of the Reformation. The Reformation not only challenged historical truths that were once taken for granted; it also raised fundamental doubts about the source of those truths. Indeed, much of the Reformation was about asking one question: Who (or what) is the ultimate arbiter of truth? Join William Madges, professor of theology at Saint Joseph’s University, as he examines the development of this question and considers how it might resonate in our world today.
 

November 5
The Problem with Grace

Since the Church was, in many ways, the nexus of power in 16th century Europe, the Reformation was unquestionably a political movement. As a result, both reformers and defenders of the Roman Catholic Church used theological terms to describe political realities. Given the cultural shifts of the past 500 years, we might be tempted to think that theological language is no longer relevant in the public square. In The Problem with Grace, however, Vincent Lloyd explores the continued political relevance of theological concepts like love, faith, liturgy, and revelation. Join Dr. Lloyd, Associate Professor of Theology at Villanova University, as he considers how a deep understanding of political theological vocabulary can shape our view of the world.

 

November 12
The Real Story of the English Reformation

While the study of history is often about identifying seminal events, this approach often leads us to fundamentally misunderstand historical realities. This is particularly true of the English Reformation. The popular narrative is that the founding of the Anglican Church resulted from a conflict between Henry VIII and the Pope, but the truth is far more complicated. In fact, many of the dynamics that emerged during the English Reformation continue to influence the both the Church of England and its descendants, including the Episcopal Church. Join Dr. Margo Todd, professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, as she examines the turbulent and fascinating story of the Reformation in England and Scotland.

Watch this sessioin on YouTube.

 

November 19
Luther the Augustinian

By 16th-century standards, Martin Luther was an iconoclast who was unafraid to challenge the status quo. At the same time, Luther was deeply formed by his membership in a religious community. Founded in the 13th century, Luther’s community, the Order of Saint Augustine, had a particular understanding of the Church’s role, one that would have shaped Luther’s worldview. Join Fr. Allan Fitzgerald, Augustinian friar and Director of the Augustinian Institute at Villanova University, as he shares the unique Augustinian vision and considers how it might have influenced Martin Luther’s worldview.

 

November 26
The “Other” Schism

The Protestant Reformation precipitated a profound transformation within Christianity, but it was not the first time the Church was divided as the result of theological controversies. Almost five centuries before Luther’s protest, the churches of Rome and Constantinople broke communion over questions of theology and ecclesiastical authority. In our bias towards simplicity, we often pinpoint the split between the Eastern and Western churches to this particular moment in history. In fact, however, the schism evolved over centuries, beginning a conversation that was relevant during the Reformation era and, in many ways, continues to this day. Join Joseph Loya, professor of theology at Villanova University and priest in the Eastern Catholic tradition, as he examines the ongoing dialogue between East and West and warns that we oversimplify history at our peril.

Men's Brown Bag Bible Study

Thursdays
12:00 pm, Conference Room, Parish House

Bring your lunch and your inquiring spirit to join in a wide-ranging discussion about writings of C. S. Lewis, the Gospels, the letters of Paul, and the religious issues of our day.

    Contact: Bob Peck

Women's Brown Bag Bible Study

Thursdays   12:00- 1 pm
Bring your lunch if you wish

We are reading and comparing the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, encountering Jesus and the Word He was sent to proclaim in a fresh way. Come with a beginner’s mind. No previous Bible study experience is necessary, all questions are welcome, and there is no homework. Expect to gain new insights into your understanding of the scriptures and the life of Jesus and to have a goodtime. We wholeheartedly welcome new members!