Past Mennonite Scholars and Friends (MSF) forums

Brief history

The earliest forums were organized and sponsored by the Institute of Mennonite Studies (IMS) at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS). From the early 1990s to 2006, IMS and the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre (TMTC) oversaw a system in which each year a different post-secondary institution planned, hosted, and paid for the forum and reception. Around 2006, TMTC assumed primary responsibility to organize the forums. A MSF Program Committee was established in 2011 to plan the forums. Costs are shared annually by 15 different institutions.

All events listed below were held at concurrent sessions of AAR and SBL, except from 2008 to 2010, when these societies met separately.

If anyone has information about the gaps in the list below, please contact TMTC.

2016 - San Antonio

Theme: Responses to Willie James Jennings, The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race

  • Joseph R. Wiebe, University of Alberta, Augustana, presiding
  • Drew Hart, Messiah College, “White Supremacy, Mennonite Ethnicity, and the Loss of Gentile Identity”
  • Tobin Miller Shearer, University of Montana, “Dislocation, Relocation, Cultivation: Pedagogical Strategies for Reaching White Mennonites”
  • Melanie Kampen, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto, “The Martyr’s Mirror: A Mennonite Fantasy of Theocolonial Desire”
  • Deanna Zantingh, Canadian Mennonite University, “Taashikaywin”
  • Willie James Jennings, Yale University, responding

2015 - Atlanta

Theme: Human Being and/as Creation: Biblical, Theological, and Historical Perspectives

  • Melanie Howard, Princeton Theological Seminary, presiding
  • David Rensberger, independent scholar, Decatur, Georgia, “Being Human in Creation: Three Views from the Psalms”
  • Justin Heinzekehr, Hesston College, “Shattering Hubmaier’s Human: Rethinking Anabaptist Freedom for an Ecological Context”
  • Ry O. Siggelkow, Princeton Theological Seminary, “The Earth is a Battlefield and No One Can Remain Neutral: Theological Anthropology as Apocalyptic Cosmology”
  • Laura Schmidt Roberts, Fresno Pacific University, “‘In the beginning is relation’: Re-Forming Understanding of Human Creatureliness”

2014 - San Diego

Theme: Human Sexuality and Theological Vocation in the Context of Personal, Institutional, and Ecclesial Practice

  • Jamie Pitts, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, presiding
  • Peter C. Blum, Hillsdale College, “Explicit Sex and Mennonite Scruples: On Normative and Descriptive Topographies of Sexuality”
  • Kim Penner, Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology, “‘God with Skin on’: The Implications of an Embodied View of the Incarnation for Mennonite Ecclesiology and Ethics”
  • Susanne Guenther Loewen, Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology, “Welcoming the Stranger: Toward a New Biblical-Theological Paradigm for Mennonite Dialogue on Same-Sex Marriage”
  • Hilary Jerome Scarsella, Vanderbilt University, “The Lord’s Supper in Relation to Sexualized Violence: Harm and Healing throughout the Ecclesial Body”
  • David C. Cramer, Baylor University, “Avoidance and Acknowledgement: Discipleship, Pain, and Healing in the Mennonite Church in the Wake of John Howard Yoder”

2013 - Baltimore

Theme: From ‘Creation Care’ to ‘Watershed Discipleship’: An Anabaptist Approach to Ecological Theology and Practice

  • Laura Schmidt Roberts, Fresno Pacific University, presiding
  • Ched Myers, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, “From ‘Creation Care’ to ‘Watershed Discipleship’: An Anabaptist Approach to Ecological Theology and Practice
  • Elaine Enns, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, “The Relevance of Restorative Justice to Ecotheology”
  • Jennifer Halteman Schrock, Merry Lea Center, Goshen College, “Perspectives on Mennonite Environmental Education”
  • Sylvia Keesmaat, Russet House Farm and Toronto School of Theology, “The Biblical and Pedagogic Challenges of Paradigm Shifting”
  • Chris Grataski, Ezekiel’s Guild, “Theological Permaculture—How the Biosphere Teaches Us”

Main paper by Ched Myers published in The Conrad Grebel Review 32/3 (Fall 2014)

2012 - Chicago

Theme: Judgment and Wrath of God

  • Gordon Matties, Canadian Mennonite University, moderating
  • W. Derek Suderman, Conrad Grebel University College, “Assyria the Ax, God the Lumberjack: Jeremiah 29, the Logic of the Prophet, and the Quest for a Nonviolent God”
  • Mary K. Schmitt, Princeton Theological Seminary, “Peace and Wrath in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans”
  • Grant Poettcker, McMaster University, “A ‘Fitting’ Sacrifice: Reassessing Divine Wrath with Girard and Anselm”
  • Justin Heinzekehr, Claremont School of Theology, “When Mennonites Get Angry: The Wrath of God in a Process-Anabaptist Perspective”
  • Mary Schertz, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, responding

Papers published in The Conrad Grebel Review 32/1 (Winter 2014)

2011 - San Francisco

Host: Fresno Pacific University/Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary

Theme: The Prophetic Role of Anabaptism in the Academy, the Church and the World

  • Laura Schmidt Roberts, Fresno Pacific University, moderator
  • Miguel A. de la Torre, Iliff School of Theology, panelist
  • Greg A. Camp, Fresno Pacific University, panelist
  • Valerie Rempel, Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary, panelist

2010 - Atlanta (AAR only)

Theme: Spiritual Formation and Ethics: Anabaptist Reflections

  • Laura Schmidt Roberts, Fresno Pacific University, presiding
  • Angela Reed, Baylor University, “Wholly Anabaptist? Uncovering Contemporary Spiritual Practices that Attend to Person, Community, and Mission”
  • Paul Martens, Baylor University, “If Ethics is Not Spiritual Formation, What is it? Reflections in an Anabaptist Vein”
    Thomas Finger, independent scholar, responding

2010 - Atlanta (SBL only)

Topic: Book Panel Discussion of Eric A. Seibert, Disturbing Divine Behavior: Troubling Old Testament Images of God

  • Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld, Conrad Grebel University College, presiding
  • Wilma Bailey, Christian Theological Seminary, panelist
  • Gordon Matties, Canadian Mennonite University, panelist
  • Derek Suderman, Conrad Grebel University College, panelist
  • Eric A. Seibert, Messiah College, responding

Papers published in Direction 40/2 (Fall 2011)

2009 - no forums

2008 - Chicago (AAR only)

Host: Goshen College

Theme: How Taking Vengeance Seriously Can Strengthen Peace Theology and Ethics

  • Keith Graber Miller, Goshen College, presiding
  • Joseph Liechty, Goshen, College, panelist
  • Paul Keim, Goshen College, panelist
  • Ted Grimsrud, Eastern Mennonite University, responding

2008 - Boston (SBL only)

Host: Conrad Grebel University College

Theme:  Teaching the Bible: Setting, Method, Agenda

  • Tom Yoder Neufeld, Conrad Grebel University College, presiding
  • Jo-Ann Brant, Goshen College
  • Jon Isaak, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary
  • Wes Bergen, Wichita State University

Papers published in The Conrad Grebel Review 28/2 (Spring 2010)

2007 - San Diego

Host: Eastern Mennonite University

Theme: Reflections on J. Denny Weaver’s The Nonviolent Atonement 

  • Ted Grimsrud, Eastern Mennonite University, presiding
  • Sharon Baker, Messiah College
  • Mark Thiessen Nation, Eastern Mennonite University
  • Tom Yoder Neufeld, Conrad Grebel University College
  • J. Denny Weaver, Bluffton University, responding

Papers published in The Conrad Grebel Review 27/2 (Spring 2009)

2006 - Washington D.C.

Host: Bluffton University

Theme: Boyarin on Yoder: Expanding the Conversation

  • Trevor Bechtel, presiding, Bluffton University
  • Daniel Boyarin, University of California Berkeley, “Judaism as a Free Church: Footnotes to John Howard Yoder’s “The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited”
  • Gerald Biesecker-Mast, Bluffton University, “Further Notes on Rhetoric”
  • Laura Brenneman, Bluffton University, “Further Notes on Paul”
  • Randi Rashkover, York College of Pennsylvania, “Further Notes on Judaism”
  • Alain Epp Weaver, University of Chicago, “Further Notes on Zionism and Palestine”
  • J. Denny Weaver, Bluffton University, “Further Notes on Jesus”

Papers published in CrossCurrents 56/4 (Winter 2007)

2005 - Philadelphia

Host: Canadian Mennonite University

Theme: Paul, Empire, and Political Philosophy

  • Chris K. Huebner, Canadian Mennonite University, presiding
  • P. Travis Kroeker, McMaster University
  • Laura Brenneman, Bluffton University
  • Alex Sider, Duke University
  • Gordon Zerbe, Canadian Mennonite University

2004 - San Antonio

Theme: Responses to Ted Grimsrud, “Anabaptist Faith & American Democracy”

  • Malinda Berry, Union Theological Seminary, presiding
  • Jeremy Bergen, Toronto School of Theology
  • Peter Blum, Hillsdale College
  • Peter Dula, Duke University
  • Matt Hamsher, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Scott Holland, Bethany Theological Seminary
  • Ted Grimsrud, Eastern Mennonite University, responding

Papers published in The Conrad Grebel Review 23/2 (Spring 2005)

2003 - Atlanta

Host: Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary

Theme: (How) Should Christian Academics Serve the Church in their Scholarship?

  • Loren Johns, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, presiding
  • Gerald Gerbrandt, Canadian Mennonite University
  • Brenda Martin Hurst, Eastern Mennonite University
  • Ben Ollenburger, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
  • Elaine Swartzentruber, Wake Forest University
  • Jo-Ann Brant, Goshen College
  • J. Denny Weaver, Bluffton College

Papers published in Direction 33/2 (Fall 2004)

2002 - Toronto

Host: Conrad Grebel University College

Theme: Radical Orthodoxy and the Radical Reformation

  • A. James Reimer, Conrad Grebel University College, presiding
  • John Milbank, University of Virginia
  • Travis Kroeker, McMaster University
  • Laura Roberts, Fresno Pacific University
  • Chris Huebner, Duke University
  • Malinda Berry, Union Theological Seminary (NY)
  • Gerald Schlabach, University of St. Thomas

Papers published in The Conrad Grebel Review 23/2 (Spring 2005)

2001 - Denver

Host: Eastern Mennonite University; Bethel College

Theme: Is God Violent?

  • Ray Gingerich, Eastern Mennonite University, presiding
  • Gordon Kaufman, Harvard Divinity School
  • Mary Schertz, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
  • Paul Keim, Goshen College
  • Ted Grimsrud, Eastern Mennonite University
  • Duane Friesen, Bethel College

Papers published in The Conrad Grebel Review 21/1 (Winter 2003)

2000 - Nashville

Host: Eastern Mennonite University

Theme: Responses to Willard Swartley on Rene Girard

1999 - Boston

Host: Bluffton College

Theme: The Mennonite Challenge of Particularism and Universalism: A Liberation Perspective

  • John Kampen, Bluffton College, “The Mennonite Challenge of Particularism and Universalism: A Liberation Perspective”
  • Malinda Berry, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, responding
  • Gilberto Flores, General Conference Mennonite Church, responding
  • Nancy Heisey, Eastern Mennonite University, responding
  • Tom Yoder Neufeld, Conrad Grebel College, responding

Papers published in The Conrad Grebel Review 19/2 (Spring 2001)

1998 - Orlando

Host: Goshen College

Theme: ??

1997 - San Francisco

Host: Fresno Pacific University and Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary

Theme: Discussion with Nancy Murphy

1996 - New Orleans

Host: Eastern Mennonite University

Theme: Biblical scholars reflecting on experience of writing commentaries

1995 - Philadelphia

Host: Messiah College

Theme: Mennonite Minority Self-Identity and Multiculturalism

  • Crystal Downing, Messiah College
  • John Yeatts, Messiah College
  • Ronald Burwell, Messiah College
  • John Kampen, Payne Seminary

1994 - Chicago

Hosts: Canadian Mennonite Bible College/ TMTC

Theme: Following Jesus: Which One? The Relevance of the Historical Jesus for Mennonite Theology

  • Lydia Harder, Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre, presiding
  • Willi Braun, Bishop’s University
  • Mary Schertz, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
  • J. Lawrence Burkholder, Goshen College
  • Tim Gaeddert, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary

1993 - Washington D.C.

Host: Conrad Grebel College

Theme: Mennonites on Hauerwas: Hauerwas on Mennonites

  • James Reimer, Conrad Grebel College/TMTC, presiding
  • Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University
  • Lydia Harder, Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre
  • Travis Kroeker, McMaster University
  • Scott Holland, Duquesne University
  • Ben Ollenburger, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
  • Harry Huebner, Canadian Mennonite Bible College

Papers published in The Conrad Grebel Review 13/2 (Spring 1995)

1992 - San Francisco

Theme: The Future Direction of Mennonite Theology: A Look at the Theologies of Tom Finger and Daniel Liechty

1991 - Kansas City

Theme: Social Ethics and New Approaches to Biblical Studies

1990 - New Orleans

Theme: Religious Pluralism and Christian Understanding (Toward a Theological Understanding of Other Religions)

1989 - Los Angeles

Themes: “Christian Faith: Necessary or Problematical in Biblical Understanding” and “Christian Community: Necessary or Problematical in Theological Understanding”

Compiled by Jeremy Bergen

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