Monday, 24 June 2019

Richard Middleton Elected President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies

ICS Alumnus Richard Middleton, Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary, has been elected President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (CSBS), the oldest academic humanities society in Canada, founded in 1933. Middleton was elected Vice President/President Elect at the 2018 CSBS annual meeting at the University of Regina; he became President on June 1, 2019, during the annual meeting at the University of British Columbia.

Originally from Jamaica, Middleton immigrated first to Canada (where he studied at the ICS and received his PhD from the joint ICS/VU program), then moved to the United States to take up a faculty position. He became a member of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies in 1992 and has presented seventeen academic papers at CSBS over those years (as well as twenty-three papers at other academic societies that meet as part of the Congress).

Richard has also published a blog post on being both a Kuyperian and a Wesleyan (originally written as the Foreword to a book on Christian Worldview for Brazilian Christians).
See: https://jrichardmiddleton.wordpress.com/2019/06/12/reflections-of-a-kuyperian-wesleyan/

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Graduates and Undergraduates Talk God and Politics in 2019 Workshop and Joint Course

On May 23-25, 2019 ICS hosted its third annual Undergraduate Workshop that invited undergraduate students from all over to join us in Toronto and to get a taste of graduate education. This year, we were joined by ten undergraduate presenters from the following institutions in Canada, the U.S., and Qatar: Greenville University, Canadian Mennonite University, Cornerstone University, The King's University, Memorial University Newfoundland, and Georgetown University in Qatar. 

Undergraduate participants presented their own research
to the group and fielded questions
These students presented their own academic research as it related to the theme of this year's workshop: God & Politics: Religion and Public Life in the 21st Century. Paper topics ranged from a deep engagement with Indigenous writers thinking about the practice and possibility of "nation-to-nation" sovereignty in Canada today to a historical narrative study of the work and life of Saint Oscar Romero from El Salvador; from a critical study of the Minjung liberation theology movement in Korea to a thorough exploration of Immanuel Kant's reading of the ethical and moral implications of the story of Abraham and Isaac. 

Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers welcoming everyone
to the workshop
The undergraduates' papers received formal responses from ICS Senior Members, Junior Members, and alumni, with each response being followed by extensive group discussion. Each of the undergraduates displayed a remarkable depth of research ability and an admirable aptitude to respond to hard-hitting questions. ICS was proud to host these talented students and wishes each of them well in their ongoing academic work.

Dr. Jeffrey Dudiak introducing prevalent themes
for the workshop and course
The Workshop occurred in conjunction with another undergraduate-graduate joint event: a summer intensive course titled “To the Unknown God”: Paul and Some Philosophers. ICS and The King's University joined together to offer this course, which included a preparatory reading portion, participation in the Workshop, and an intensive one-week in-class portion following the Workshop. During the course, students read a number of philosophers who consider the writings of the Apostle Paul and their relevance to contemporary political questions. The course was led by ICS President and Senior Member in Philosophy of Religion Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers and King's Professor of Philosophy Dr. Jeffrey Dudiak.

Outside of class time, students explored the new ICS location, the University of Toronto campus, and the city of Toronto. King’s alum and ICS Board Member Lynnette Postuma also hosted a dinner with students and professors to celebrate the joint efforts of the two universities to offer this engaging course in Toronto. We at ICS are thankful for the chance to work alongside The King's University, and for the participation of the students who took up the challenge with aplomb, and we look forward to future shared learning opportunities like this one.

Visiting course participants enjoying a dinner hosted by
King's alum and ICS Board member Lynnette Postuma

Course participants taking a tour of campus

Participants in the ICS-King's joint course
"To the Unknown God": Paul and Some Philosophers


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Both the Workshop and the course were graciously hosted at Regis College by the Msgr. John Mary Fraser Centre for Practical Theology. ICS would like to extend its thanks to both Regis and the Centre for their hospitality during these events.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

ICS Celebrates Doug Blomberg's Retirement and 2019 Convocation of Junior Members

May 16-17, 2019 were days to celebrate both Junior Member achievements and the pedagogical contributions of ICS Emeritus Dr. Doug Blomberg. Over the course of these two days, ICS Senior and Junior Members, Senators, Board Members, and administration gathered here in Toronto for ICS's annual Board and Senate meetings to discuss the activities of the past year and to envision together the future for ICS. This time of year is an integral part of ICS's institutional rhythm, and we are grateful for the opportunity to come together in celebration and in hope. 

Members of the ICS community (like Dr. Lambert
Zuidervaart, pictured above with Dr. Blomberg)
celebrated Dr. Blomberg's work
These meetings were punctuated by an evening of celebration with the broader community for Dr. Blomberg's tenure as both Senior Member and President at ICS. Throughout the evening, friends and colleagues of Dr. Blomberg shared stories and memories of their time working with him, and reflected on his contributions to Reformational philosophy and the discipline of education. These reflections were marked by gratitude to both Doug and his wife Heather for their service to these communities and the institution of ICS. 


2019 ICS Graduates: Benjamin Groenewold (PhD), Kiegan
Irish (MA) & Ann Post (MWS)
The following evening, the ICS community gathered from far and wide for the Convocation of Junior Members Benjamin Groenewold, Kiegan Irish, and Ann Post. The work done by each of these graduates covers topics like the history and philosophy of our relationship to technology, political philosophy, and artistic practice. Those who attended Convocation celebrated along with the graduates their commitment to their studies and their years spent at ICS sharing both their insights and their desire to learn and grow. In their unique ways, each graduate has made their mark on the shared life of the ICS community. The event was a joyful opportunity to express gratitude for their presence, commend them for their achievements, and pray for blessings as they pursue their future paths.  


John Kamphof (Board Chair), Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers
(President), and Dr. John Kok (Senate Chair)
This year's Convocation also included the exaugural address of Dr. Blomberg entitled, "I believe in the resurrection of the body." In his address, Dr. Blomberg shared some of the influences on the course of his academic career and explored his fascination with distinctly Reformational pedagogy. He reflected on the role of the body in an approach to education, and put forward a biblical understanding of the human person that is inextricably and integrally developed “from the ground up.”


The transcript of Dr. Blomberg's address may be found here in the ICS Institutional Repository, and video of the full address may be watched below and on ICS's YouTube channel.




You can also find more photos from the Convocation ceremony below. 
(Click on the square at the bottom of the slideshow to make full screen)



Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Prayer Letter: June 2019

Monday June 3 - Friday June 7:

ICS’s Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics (CPRSE) hosted ten outstanding undergraduate students in the context of this year’s ICS Undergraduate Workshop, “God & Politics: Religion and Public Life in the 21st Century.” This year, we had participants from Georgetown University in Qatar, The King’s University, Cornerstone University, Greenville University, Memorial University Newfoundland, and the Canadian Mennonite University. The event provided these undergraduate students with a space to share their original research with ICS Senior and Junior Members, as well as to reflect and dialogue in a collaborative environment. We pray in thanksgiving for this opportunity to engage in conversation with youth from across the globe.

We give thanks for the productive Senate and Board meetings that took place on May 16th and 17th respectively. Please continue to pray for the Leadership Team, Board of Trustees, and Senate as they work together to fulfill the mission and vision of ICS in its key role in Christian higher education.

We give thanks to our Lord that Jon Andreas, Joonyong Um (ICS) and Jason Mills (University of St. Michael's College) successfully and meritoriously completed their written and oral exams last month. ICS Junior Member Helena Hoogstad's exams are also on the horizon. Doug Blomberg mentors each of these students, and we thank God for his ongoing involvement in their research. May God bless and guide these candidates as they embark on their dissertations. Please continue to pray for them as they engage in what will no doubt be creative, diligent research, to the glory of God and for the people they will serve. We thank God also for the examiners who serve on the Pre-Thesis Examination Committees, as internal and external members.

Final grades for this past semester are due before June 14th. Please pray for the faculty as they finalize their marking and assessments of the students in their classes, and for Elizabet Aras, our Registrar, as she processes the final reporting to the students.

Monday June 10 - Friday June 14:

Please pray for Gideon Strauss this month as he is once again in South Africa during the summer months. During June and July, Gideon will be in Stellenbosch, where he will be concluding his current research project, "Inequality, forgiveness, and political agency: lived theologies among young adults in post-apartheid South African churches," a study of young adults in that town in partnership with Nadine Bowers Du Toit at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch. (This project has been supported by the Nagel Institute for World Christianity at Calvin College with funding from the Templeton Religion Trust.) Gideon will once again facilitate a multi-session workshop on vocational wayfinding/life design in partnership with a local Christian community of faith, Stellenbosch Gemeente (SG).

This year Gideon will also partner with SG to offer a multi-session workshop on Jamie Smith's book You Are What You Love. SG is also organizing two "long table conversations," facilitated by Gideon, on the relationship between discipleship, citizenship, and ownership in the South African context.

Junior Member Meg Giordano begins the PhD pre-thesis exam process with the written portion of the exam on June 13-20 and ends with an oral exam on June 27. Please pray for her as she undergoes this final exercise before writing her PhD thesis. Please also pray for Bob Sweetman, her mentor, as he guides her into and through these examinations.

Monday June 17 - Friday June 21:

As the end of the fiscal year is upon us, we ask God for strength, clarity of mind, and encouragement for Harley Dekker, our Director of Finance and Administration. There is much to do at this time of year, such as preparation for the year end financial audit, getting the books in order for the new budget year, and preparing for the start of the academic year in September. We give thanks for Harley’s unflagging dedication to this work.

As we quickly move toward the end of our fiscal year this month, we would ask that you would prayerfully consider sending in your financial support if you have not already done so. We are so grateful for the continued and generous giving of our support community and we pray God’s blessing on each one of you.

Please pray this week and next for all those involved in our annual Phone-a-thon that will be taking place. It is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with our supporters across the country. We ask for inspiring conversations with our community that both the caller and the donor would be encouraged by what God has done this past year and gain hope for the future.

Monday June 24 - Friday June 28:

Pray for the students who have been accepted into programs for this fall, as well as for those who are still undecided. We ask God to bless them with wisdom as they discern this important step in their life, and pray that God will provide the necessary funding for study and life in Toronto.
Please remember to pray for Meg Giordano as she does the oral exam, the final part of the pre-thesis exam, this week on June 27. Pray for clarity of thinking and articulation for Meg and for wisdom and discernment for Bob Sweetman and the other examiners.

The month of June has been busy for faculty as they get caught up on their supervising and mentoring responsibilities and begin to prepare for the new academic year in the fall. Pray for the space and energy in their lives to work with the students in this important way.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

ICS Convocation, May 2019



Don't forget to RSVP to this year's Annual Convocation and the Exaugural Address of Dr. Doug Blomberg. The event will take place at Regis College on May 17, 2019.

Please contact Elizabet Aras for more information.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

New Essays on Knowledge

Senior Member Emeritus Lambert Zuidervaart has published two new essays on a Reformational approach to knowledge. “Distantial Ways of Knowing: Doug Blomberg’s Proposal for a Reformational Epistemology” explores the conception of knowledge proposed by Senior Member and former ICS President Doug Blomberg in his 1978 doctoral dissertation on reformational philosophy and school curriculum. The second essay, titled “Social Domains of Knowledge: Technology, Art, and Religion,” discusses the work of ICS Senior Member Emeritus Hendrik Hart, and it argues that knowledge takes on distinct contours in different social domains. Both essays appear in the most recent issue of the journal Philosophia Reformata (vol. 84, issue 1).