Thursday, November 3, 2016 - 7:30 PM EDT
Jeremy Bergen will present the
Fall 2016 Benjamin Eby Lecture
Conrad Grebel University College Chapel
Christians Killing Christians: Martyrdom and the Disunity of the Church
In the 1880s, dozens of Anglican and Roman Catholic members of the royal court of Buganda (now Uganda) were executed by their king. Now honoured as the Uganda Martyrs, their memory has been invoked as one that advances Christian unity. The king regarded them not as Anglicans or Catholics but simply as Christians. Since Christian martyrdom may be understood as conforming to Jesus in a way that transcends denominational divisions between Christians, the honouring of particular martyrs has been proposed by Pope John Paul II and others as a potential practice of Christian unity. Mennonites have even offered the legacy of Anabaptist martyr Dirk Willems as a sign of reconciliation with Catholics. Yet, the fact that many individuals who are regarded as Christian martyrs, such as the Anabaptist martyrs, were killed by other Christians, points to disunity. Moreover, some of the complex ways that martyr memories function may promote further enmity, division, or violence.
This lecture will examine whether and how narratives of Christian martyrs may advance Christian unity and further the work of reconciliation more broadly.
Dr. Jeremy Bergen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theology at Conrad Grebel University College. His research interests include church apologies for historical wrongs, martyrdom, ecclesiology, ecumenism, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and contemporary Mennonite theology. He is author of Ecclesial Repentance: The Churches Confront Their Sinful Pasts, and currently president of the Canadian Theological Society.
Winter 2016 featuring Troy Osborne
Date: March 31st, 2016 at 7:30pm
Location: Chapel, Conrad Grebel University College
"The Bottle, the Dagger, and The Ring: Church Discipline and Dutch Mennonite Identity in the Seventeenth Century."
2014 featuring W. Derek Suderman
'Seeking Peace as the End of Lament'
The Christian tradition has long been uncomfortable with the articulation of lament. For some, Jesus’ call to love enemies is even seen as a rejection of this genre, given the prominence of violent wishes or imprecations against enemies found within it. Over time praise and confession have come to dominate the liturgical experience of many worshipping communities, while lament has largely disappeared.
In the end, lament psalms confront Christian communities with contemporary brokenness and pain, challenging them to attend to such cries as calls to seek shalom. Are we listening?
Featuring Susan Schultz Huxman, President of Conrad Grebel University College
‘Speaking Truth to Power:’ Profiles in Rhetorical Courage for Church and Society
The Benjamin Eby Lecture is an annual lecture that presents the research of a faculty member at Conrad Grebel University College. It is named after Benjamin Eby (1785-1853), an early educator and Mennonite church leader in Waterloo County.
For more information on the lecture, contact email@example.com or
call at 519-885-0220 x24264.
For more speakers and recordings of their lectures, please see a list of past Benjamin Eby Lecturers.
Conrad Grebel University College
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6