Join us in April during Adult Ed (11:15 AM – 12:15 PM) when four professors from Hillsdale College engage us in a conversation about faith, culture, and politics.


Faith and Politics: Thinking About Christian Conviction in the Broader Culture


April 8

Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms: A Lutheran Perspective
Korey Maas, Associate Professor of History

Like the Reformed, Lutherans are attempting to retrieve their earlier heritage of natural law teaching, and to situate it in their related theology of the two kingdoms. What does the distinction between Law and Grace mean for the relation of church and state? This presentation will briefly survey the traditional Lutheran thinking about natural law, the two kingdoms, and the particular relevance of both for our contemporary political context.

April 15

Fundamentalism, Modernism, and the Culture War: The Religion & Politics of the Scopes Monkey Trial
Mark Kalthoff, Professor of History

This talk will introduce the concept of “culture war” and briefly describe the religious, intellectual, and political climate of the early twentieth century prior to the Scopes Trial of 1925. This will set the stage for consideration of the fervent cultural conflict that came to be called the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy, of which the Scopes Trial was a principal early episode. Having outlined the immediate context of the trial, introduce the chief actors in the drama, and summarize the trial and its outcome, the talk will conclude with a review of the ways the story of the trial has been told and the lessons that should, and should not, be taken by those who wish to understand this early stage of America’s twentieth-century culture wars.

April 22

In Search of The City on the Hill
Richard Gamble, Professor of History

Every day, someone in the media calls America the “city on a hill.” The metaphor comes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, of course, but that hasn’t stopped historians, politicians, journalists, and even preachers from applying it to America. When John Winthrop used Jesus’ words to inspire (and caution) his Puritan community in 1630, he had no idea how his words would be used and transformed in the centuries ahead. At the moment, the “city on a hill” is used by both major political parties to wage war in the immigration debate, but the metaphor has a much longer and more complicated history. The story of the city on a hill presents Christians with the opportunity to see what happens when Scripture is appropriated by politics and to reflect on how they as believers might need to guard metaphors that have been entrusted to the Church.

April 29

A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State
Darryl Hart, Associate Professor of History

When Christ said, “my kingdom is not of this world,” he was asserting an idea that no other ancient faith claimed. Christ apparently made a distinction between his heavenly or spiritual kingdom and the civil affairs of Rome or Jerusalem. The idea of secular politics, consequently, is a distinctly Christian one.  Without Christianity’s distinction between the secular and the sacred, the civil and the ecclesiastical, the temporal and the eternal, the West would not know what “secular” means.

This talk explores the theological basis for Christ’s teaching about his kingdom, why western Christians have objected to secularity, and how contemporary believers might recover a Christian sense of the secular.

Questions? Contact Pastor Bob