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Panel discussion explores the church

Four speakers provide different perspectives on the church's unity and future during a panel discussion. | Marika Adamopoulos/THE CHIMES

 

The Torrey Honors Institute hosted “the Future of the Church”, a discussion entailed the speakers’ perspectives on the future of the church and church unity, in Calvary Chapel on Sept. 9.

Anticipating the Discussion

Associate professor of theology Matt Jensen moderated the discussion featuring speakers Simon Chan, professor of theology at Trinity Theological College in Singapore, Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology at Toronto School of Theology, Thomas Rausch, professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University and Torrey Honors Institute professor Fred Sanders.

Before the discussion, Lauren Miller, junior communications major, shared what she looked forward to regarding the discussion.

“[I look forward to] just listening to people I admire talk about what they think about the future of the church considering there’s been a lot of changes from the past,” Miller said.

Jensen invited each of the four speakers to spend 10 minutes sharing their opening remarks formed by their thoughts as well as answers to prompts. Each speaker stated their denominational background and articulated their position on the future of the church and what unity of the church looks like.

Beyond the Roundtable

Following the opening remarks, the speakers engaged in a roundtable discussion regarding the future of the church. During the last 15 minutes, Jensen opened the floor for questions from students. Nine students stood behind the mics, but only three were able to voice their questions due to time restraints.

One of the questions answered was “Why is the church called ‘she’ instead of ‘it’ ?” Rausch answered by saying that the church is nurturing and Radner said the church is the bride of Christ.

Daniel Chrosniak, junior philosophy major, had the opportunity to ask Chan his own question after the session ended about what ordinary people could do to help with church unity.

“He told me that laypeople, sort of at a grassroots level, have such ability to enact change by breaking down barriers, by just trends and seeking to serve across denominational lines. I thought that was really beautiful to know that on a local level people like ourselves have the ability to help grow the church and help local unity,” Chrosniak said.

Diverse Yet Unified Perspectives

Junior film major Jacob Waller was impressed with the way the event was put together and enjoyed hearing different sides from different denominations and the speakers’ thoughts on the church.

“I think overall, especially near the end, you probably come away with this idea that, ‘well, we don’t know exactly what is going to hold for the Church, capital C, for the near future’,” Waller said.

Chrosniak thought the discussion provided a high level of insight.

“All four of the speakers appeared to be extremely wise and caring, bringing really powerful, diverse, yet unified perspectives to the issue of the church’s future,” Chrosniak said.

Waller appreciated hearing Sanders’ thoughts throughout the discussion.

“I enjoyed his beginning speech and thought that he was probably the most engaged in what he had to say, I appreciate the manner in which he participated throughout the discussion as well,” Waller said.

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