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Friday, January 12     

6:00PM  Registration check-in, Bookstore open
7:00 Welcome
7:10        PLENARY I: “God’s Stories as Literary Artistry” — Joel E. Kim 
7:55  Stretch Break (10 minutes)
8:05 PLENARY II: “God’s Stories as History” — Joshua J. Van Ee 
8:50 Dismissal/Refreshments

Saturday, January 13     

8:00AM Registration check-in, Bookstore open
8:30  Welcome
8:40 PLENARY III: “God’s Stories as Theology” — David VanDrunen
9:25 Break/Refreshments (20 minutes)
9:45 PLENARY IV: “Allusion: The Interaction Among God’s Stories” — Bryan D. Estelle 
10:30 Stretch Break (10 minutes)
10:40 PLENARY V: “God’s Stories and Other Stories” — W. Robert Godfrey
11:25 Lunch
12:50PM PLENARY VI: Preaching God's Stories” — Dennis E. Johnson 
1:35 Break (20 minutes)
1:55 Questions & Answers — Speaker Panel
2:45 Dismissal


Session Descriptions

PLENARY I:  God's Stories as Literary Artistry | Joel E. Kim 

Do you enjoy reading the Bible?  One recent survey reported that although many Christians revere and respect the Bible, most do not read the Bible regularly. Even for those who believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and are convinced of its central place in faith and life, the Bible seems too big and distant.  In this conference and this particular lecture, we explore not only what the Bible says, but how the Bible says it, focusing on the narratives of the Bible.  Each narrative is a carefully-crafted historical story of Jesus Christ, a story that employs the artistic and literary conventions of the time and told by authors who offer their unique and personal perspectives.  Reading the narratives more carefully can help us to better read and enjoy the Word of God. 

PLENARY II: God's Stories as History | Joshua J. Van Ee 

It is essential to the Christian faith that we affirm the historical nature of God’s stories in the Bible. They are testimonies and witnesses to real people and events. God has acted in history! Nevertheless, the Bible’s stories do not read like a newspaper account or a modern history book. The way the authors of scripture wrote history is different in many ways from what we expect. Thus we need to carefully examine how the Bible writes history lest we misinterpret it as we bring our assumptions to the text. 

PLENARY III: God's Stories as Theology | David VanDrunen

The stories of Scripture provide more than just information or a broad background for understanding biblical truth. These stories not only allow us to see our doctrine in action but in many cases they actually become part of our doctrine itself.

PLENARY IV:  Allusion: The Interaction Among God’s Stories | Bryan D. Estelle

How does the Bible relate to itself in its own system of cross-referencing? Now that is a BIG topic! Biblical writers frequently refer to other biblical books in a wide variety of ways: direct quote, subtle citation, allusion, or ‘echo’ or ‘reminiscence’. How allusions work in literature and biblical literature especially have not been well understood until recently. This talk will engage some of the latest theoretical work on understanding how allusions function. The first part of this talk will cover how one can develop ‘allusion competence’ when reading biblical narratives. The second part of the talk will illustrate through specific biblical examples how the archeology of allusion hunting can result in a richer understanding of biblical narratives from both Old Testament and New Testament.

PLENARY V: God's Stories and Other Stories | W. Robert Godfrey

Good stories are never just stories.  Authors by what they include and what they exclude and by how they structure their stories are doing more than developing a plot; they are making a point. Reflecting on the narratives of great literature can help us learn more from the narratives of the Bible.

PLENARY VI: Preaching God's Stories | Dennis E. Johnson

The Bible’s historical narratives present preachers with pitfalls and with glorious opportunities to introduce our listeners to the great Hero, Jesus Christ. Pitfalls include: (1) abstracting timeless truths and life-lessons from the real drama experienced by flesh-and-blood people; (2) letting imagination run amok to add color and flavor to familiar plotlines; and (3) casting ourselves as stars in the spotlight, leaving Christ in the shadow as our supporting actor. Yet preaching biblical narratives well means seizing the opportunity to introduce multidimensional, broken people to the multidimensional, all-sufficient Lord and Savior, setting the every event into its proper context in the big Story of God’s redemptive enterprise.