Classes for Adults
Adult Sunday School and More
Summer Adult Speaker Series
Each Sunday this summer we’ll hear about an important topic that helps us to think faithfully about our current situation. We will meet in person in Stone Hall at 9:45-10:45 am starting June 5 and wrapping up on August 28. We will also take advantage of the virtual platform to enable both remote attendance as well as one or two remote speakers from across the country. All summer you will be able to join us online. Using Zoom, you may interact with our presenter with typed questions. Using YouTube Live, you may simply watch without interaction.
Speakers: Margaret and David Gardner
Title: Faith and Business: How to Navigate the Marketplace as Disciples
How do we as Christians approach business and investing? How can the church influence the marketplace for good? For the first of our Summer Speaker series, Pastor David Renwick will interview NPC members Margaret and David Gardner about what it can mean for the church to engage movements such as Conscious Capitalism that strive to create an ethics of mutuality to transform communities and create financial opportunity for all.
David Gardner is co-founder of the financial services company The Motley Fool and a leader in the local and national Conscious Capitalism movement. Margaret is Associate for Small Group Ministry and Adult Discipleship at NPC. Her recent seminary work included focus on the intersections of faith, money, and business.
Speaker: Dr. Edward Ifft, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution
Title: Is There Any Hope for Nuclear Arms Control?
The war in Ukraine has raised awareness of the complexities and dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence and there has been little recent progress in dealing with these problems. NPC member Dr. Edward Ifft will discuss the situation, with an emphasis on recent gains and losses, the status of current agreements and what we might hope to accomplish in the near future.
Dr. Edward M. Ifft (Ph.D., Physics, Ohio State University), a retired member of the Senior Executive Service (U.S. Office of Personnel Management), has been involved in negotiating and implementing many of the key nuclear arms control agreements of the past forty-five years. While a graduate student, he spent a year at Moscow State University and the USSR Institute for Physical Problems under the US-USSR cultural exchange program. Ed’s career has been primarily in the State Department, with additional assignments in the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, NASA, and the Department of Defense. He served as senior state department representative to both the START I and CTBT negotiations in Geneva. After START I concluded, he became deputy director of the On-Site Inspection Agency (OSIA). When OSIA was incorporated into the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in 1998, he became senior adviser and state department liaison to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. As a US START inspector, he participated in inspections of many sensitive military installations in the former Soviet Union. He also served as the last US commissioner (acting) for the ABM Treaty until the United States withdrew from the treaty in 2002. He participated in the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Field Exercises in Kazakhstan in 2008 and Jordan in 2014.
He is the author of many articles in scholarly journals published in the United States, Europe, and Russia, as well as of chapters in two books published by the United Nations. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management, and the American Physical Society. He continued to work part-time as a member of the Foreign Service in the state department until 2017 and was an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program of the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University until 2019. He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His awards include the rank of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service, the Exceptional Civilian Service Medal from the On-Site Inspection Agency, and the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Ed and his wife Kristin Koegel are members of NPC.
Speaker: Dr. Vince Bacote, Professor of Theology, Wheaton College
Title: Political Discipleship
How do we follow Jesus as faithful disciples in our polarized and politicized era? Fidelity to God and service in the church and world requires a certain kind of ‘political discipleship’ characterized by commitments to internal transformation and service to the world. Our beliefs ought to lead us to a thirst for wisdom as we consider how to engage the world around us, including challenging issues of race and justice.
Dr. Vince Bacote (BA, The Citadel; Ph.D., Drew University) is Professor of Theology and the Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. His publications include books (Reckoning with Race and Performing the Good News: In Search of a Better Evangelical Theology (2020), and The Political Disciple: A Theology of Public Life) and contributions to books including Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues (2019), The Church’s Social Responsibility (2015), and Black Scholars in White Space (2015). He has been an assistant theology editor for Christianity Today magazine and is a regular columnist for Comment magazine. His articles have appeared in magazines such as The Banner, Books and Culture, Christianity Today, Think Christian and re:generation quarterly as well as scholarly journals such as The Journal of Markets and Morality, Christian Scholars Review, Urban Mission and the Journal for Christian Theological Research. An avid tennis player, occasional bass guitarist and incessantly curious person, Vince lives in the Chicago area with his family.
Speaker: Dr. Jessica Moerman, Vice President of Science and Policy, Evangelical Environmental Network
Title: Stewardship of the Earth: Climate Change and Care for Creation
A healthy environment is a necessary ingredient for everyone and everything in God's creation to flourish. Today, we face some of the greatest threats to a healthy environment in human history—from climate change to pollution and biodiversity loss.
Scripture reveals that a core part of being made in the image of God is caring for everything he has made (Gen. 1:26). This means Christians have a responsibility to act on the environmental challenges we face today—not only for the sake of creation, but just as importantly, for the sake of each other, future generations, and ourselves. We will explore how climate change and other environmental problems impact those we are called to serve and what churches can uniquely do to help.
Dr. Jessica Moerman (BA, University of Tennessee Chattanooga; PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology) is a climate and environmental scientist, a church planter, and serves as Vice President of Science and Policy at the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN). Prior to joining EEN, Jessica was an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy. Her Ph.D. research was in the field of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. She has been a research fellow at John Hopkins University, University of Michigan, and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where she researched how climate has changed throughout Earth’s history. Jessica is passionate about leading church communities towards positive solutions to safeguard our cities, neighborhoods, and the next generation from the effects of a warming world and life-threatening pollution and has been featured on the NBC Today Show, the Washington Post, Christianity Today, and numerous podcasts. Together with her husband Chris, Jessica co-pastors Grace Capital City, a local church in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC.
Speaker: Dr. Ronald White, Historian and Author
Title: Abraham Lincoln’s Wisdom for Today’s Complex World
Abraham Lincoln was a deeply private man, shut off even to those who worked closely with him. He often captured “his best thoughts,” as he called them, in short notes to himself. He would work out his personal stances on the biggest issues of the day, never expecting anyone to see these frank, unpolished pieces of writing, which he’d then keep close at hand, in desk drawers and even in his top hat. The profound importance of these notes has been overlooked because the originals are scattered across several different archives and have never before been brought together and examined as a coherent whole. Drawing on some of these notes, Ron White will offer the perspective of this president of a nation riven with strife and split into two irreconcilable halves, with each claiming to be the “real” America.
Ronald C. White (BA, UCLA; PhD Princeton University) is an independent scholar and authority on Abraham Lincoln. He is the author of Lincoln in Private: What His Most Personal Reflections Tell Us about Our Greatest President. It is the recipient of the 2021 Barondess/Lincoln award presented by the Civil War Round Table of New York. The Wall Street Journal hailed it as “an intimate character portrait and fascinating inquiry into the basis of Lincoln’s energetic, curious mind.” White is also narrator of the Random House Audiobook.
White is the author of two New York Times bestselling presidential biographies. A. Lincoln: A Biography was published by Random House in 2009. USA Today said, “If you read one book about Lincoln, make it A. LINCOLN.” American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant won the 2017 William Henry Seward Award for “Excellence in Civil War Biography.” He has also written Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural, a New York Times Notable Book, and The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words, a Los Angeles Times bestseller.
White is a Senior Fellow at the Trinity Forum in Washington, D.C. He has taught at UCLA, Whitworth University, Colorado College, and Princeton Theological Seminary. He has lectured at the White House and ben interviewed on the PBS NewsHour. He has spoken about Lincoln in England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and New Zealand.
Speaker: Dr. John Burgess, Profess of Systematic Theology, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Title: How Is God at Work in the War Against Ukraine?
In this presentation, we will explore how President Putin and Patriarch Kirill have drawn on Russian Orthodox religious motifs to justify the invasion of Ukraine. We will also examine how God may be calling us as American Christians to respond to the conflict.
Dr. John Burgess (BA, Colorado College; Ph.D., University of Chicago—Christian Theology) is the James Henry Snowden Professor of Systematic Theology at Pittsburgh Theological seminary. Prior to joining the faculty in 1998 he was professor and chaplain at Doane College and Associate for Theology in the Office of Theology and Worship, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). An ordained Presbyterian minister, Dr. Burgess has served several congregations part time. He is the author of Holy Rus': The Rebirth of Orthodoxy in the New Russia, and numerous books, including Encounters with Orthodoxy: How Protestant Churches Can Reform Themselves Again, Confessing Our Faith: The Book of Confessions for Church Leaders, After Baptism: Shaping the Christian Life, Why Scripture Matters: Reading the Bible in a Time of Church Conflict and The East German Church and the End of Communism. John was a Fulbright Scholar to Russia in 2011 and again in 2018-2019, a Luce Fellow in Theology for 2011-2012, and a research fellow at the Center of Theological Inquiry in 2014-2015. These awards have supported his current research on the Russian Orthodox Church in post-communist Russia.
Speaker: Dr. Susan J. Dunlap, Professor of Pastoral Care, Duke University Divinity School
Title: Shelter Theology: The Religious Lives of People Without Homes
This presentation offers the theological fruits of time our speaker has spent working as a chaplain with people without homes. In the prayer service she co-leads in a homeless shelter, clients offer words of faith and encouragement that take the form of prayer, sayings, testimony, song, and short sermons. These beliefs and their forms of expression are a means of survival and resistance in a hostile world. These people without homes are creators of a practical theology that arises out of dependence on God when all else has failed them. If America is in the grip of idolatries of race and wealth, the faith and practices shared at the shelter are spiritual and theological resources for people seeking freedom from this idolatry. Only God can free us from bondage to idolatry, and in a way that Scripture teaches us and that we do not always understand, drawing close to the poor is to drawing close to God.
Dr. Susan Jane Dunlap (B.A. University of California at San Diego M.Div. Princeton Theological Seminary Th.M. Duke Divinity School Ph.D. Princeton Theological Seminary) has taught at Duke Divinity School since 1995 in the area of pastoral care in times of grief and illness as well as courses that integrate theology and social work. She also serves as the chaplain at Urban Ministries of Durham, where her experience led her to researching and write her latest book, Shelter Theology: The Religious Lives of People Without Homes. She has also written, Counseling Depressed Women and Caring Cultures: How Congregations Care for the Sick. As an ordained Presbyterian minister she has been the pastor of churches in the Presbytery of Baltimore and serves as a Parish Associate at First Presbyterian Church, Durham, NC.
Speaker: Dr. Daniel Carroll, Professor of Biblical Studies and Pedagogy, Wheaton College
Title: Ancient Foundations, Modern Mandates: the Bible and Migration
The history of humanity is the history of migration. In other words, migration is not new. Not surprisingly, it is found in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. What is different today are the numbers of people on the move. How should Christians respond to this pressing reality? What can the Bible teach us and how can that ancient text orient us for such a time as this? This presentation will offer a brief orientation to a scriptural approach to our global challenge.
M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas) (B.A. Rice University, Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary, Ph.D. University of Sheffield) is the Scripture Press Ministries Professor of Biblical Studies and Pedagogy. Dr. Carroll is half-Guatemalan and was raised bilingual and bicultural. In his youth, he spent many summers in Guatemala and later taught at El Seminario Teológico Centroamericano in Guatemala City for thirteen years. The realities of Central America sparked Dr. Carroll's fascination with the Old Testament. The relevance of the biblical text for the challenges of poverty, war, and politics in those developing countries led him to a passionate focus on Old Testament social ethics and the social sciences.
In addition, his studies in English literature and literary theory have generated an ongoing engagement with literary approaches to the Old Testament and critical studies. Experiences in this country and abroad have led him to a deep appreciation for the unique contributions that ethnic minorities, women, and the global church make to the interpretation of the Old Testament. Before coming to Wheaton, Dr. Carroll taught Old Testament at Denver Seminary for many years and founded a Spanish-language lay training program there. Dr. Carroll has been involved in Latino/a churches and teaching on the Bible and immigration for many years. His research focuses on the prophetic literature and Old Testament social ethics. He has written numerous articles and twelve books, including: biblical commentaries on the Old Testament book of Amos in both English and Spanish as well as several books on the Bible and immigration.
Speaker: Dr. Tracy McKenzie, Ph.D., Professor of History, Wheaton College
Title: We the Fallen People: The Founders and the Future of American Democracy
Many are concerned for the future of American democracy during this time of extreme partisan polarization. Followers of Jesus ought to be even more concerned for the public testimony of the Church in the midst of this turbulent time. C.S. Lewis observed years ago that there are really only two reasons to support majority rule. One is because you have faith in human nature; the other is because you don't. Our Founding Fathers held the latter view, and they structured our Constitution with a healthy appreciation for human sinfulness. Sadly, Americans long ago largely rejected that foundation and adopted the unbiblical view that we are individually good and collectively wise. A first step toward a healthier democracy lies in redefining ourselves as "We the Fallen People," and I believe that Christians must lead the way. As we take seriously the sin within our own hearts - as well as see the image of God in our political opponents - both our testimony to the world and the conversations within our own congregations will be leavened with a new measure of humility and love.
Tracy McKenzie, Ph.D. (BA, University of Tennessee; MA and Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is the Arthur F. Holmes Chair of Faith and Learning; Professor of History at Wheaton College, where he joined the History Department in the fall of 2010 after twenty-two years on the faculty of the University of Washington, where he held the Donald W. Logan Endowed Chair in American History. For most of his professional career, his research has focused on the effects of the American Civil War on the economy and society of the Upper South. His first book, One South or Many? Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil War-Era Tennessee (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), investigated the economic effects of war and emancipation on the southern countryside, and received best-book awards from the Agricultural History Society and the American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch. His next monograph was Lincolnites and Rebels: A Divided Town in the American Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). Recipient of the annual Fletcher Pratt Literary Award for best non-fiction work on the Civil War, Lincolnites and Rebels explored the civil war within the Civil War by tracing the experience of a single community split asunder by the sectional crisis. Upon coming to Wheaton, Professor McKenzie turned his attention to the ways in which American evangelicals have remembered their national heritage. Toward that end, he authored a book on memory of the 'First Thanksgiving,' titled The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History (2013) and most recently We the Fallen People: The Founders and the Future of American Democracy (2021).
Speaker: Dr. Tremper Longman Professor of Old Testament Emeritus, Westmont College and Dr. David Renwick, Senior Pastor at National Presbyterian Church
Title: A Conversation on the Bible and Abortion
For many years, and especially now with the Supreme Court recently overturning Roe v. Wade, countless American Christians have puzzled over what Biblical faith has to say about abortion: the Bible has been used by both pro-life and pro-choice advocates. This morning’s conversation between an Old Testament and New Testament scholar will seek to clarify what the Bible does and does not say about this profoundly important and controversial topic.
Tremper Longman (BA, Ohio Wesleyan; MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary; MPhil, PhD, Yale University) is the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies emeritus at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA. Prior to joining Westmont in 1998, he at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, also Visiting Professor of Old Testament at the Seattle School of Theology & Psychology as well as Ambrose University Seminary (Calgary). He has written over thirty books, including several biblical commentaries, as well as Science, Creation and the Bible: Reconciling Rival Theories of Origins with physicist Richard F. Carlson. He is an editor and contributor to the Zondervan Dictionary of Christianity and Science. With John Walton he wrote, The Lost World of the Flood.
Tremper was with us last summer, speaking on The Book of Job, Suffering and the Pandemic. He has been a previous summer Sunday speaker, and was one of the speakers for our 2019 conference with the Biologos Foundation, dealing with the question “can you trust the Bible in a scientific age?” There is a video recording of that conference, including Dr. Longman’s perspective on the relationship between creation and evolution.
Speaker: Dr. David Renwick, Senior Pastor, National Presbyterian Church
Title: No Regrets: 45 Years a Pastor
Dr. Renwick will share humorous moments and life-lessons learned serving in congregations varying from 17 members to 2,500.
Speaker: Dr. David Renwick, Senior Pastor, National Presbyterian Church
Title: Ask the Pastor
Dr. Renwick will respond to questions sent to him on any topic submitted in early August. Please click here to submit your questions.
Speakers: Kristin Franke, Director of Youth and Family Ministries, National Presbyterian Church and others
Title: Summer of Mission, Service, Vacation Bible School and More
National Presbyterian Church has had a busy summer. Join us to hear all that our faithful God has been doing through VBS, Middle School Camp, High School Mission trip and more.