All IFL events are free and open to the public.

Institute for Faith & Learning

Institute for Faith & Learning

Speakers Series 2015-2016

Unless otherwise noted, all speaker events are at 7:00 pm in Grace Chapel on the Hickory campus.


Amy-Jill Levine

September 24
Dr. Levine, who teaches New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University, describes herself as a "Yankee Jewish feminist" situated in "the buckle of the Bible belt." Her books include Short Stories by Jesus and The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus. She is the co-editor of The Jewish Annotated New Testament. Dr. Levine combines scholarship and humor to combat anti-Jewish, sexist, and homophobic theologies.

Matthew Vines

October 29
In March 2012, Vines put a pause on his studies at Harvard to research the Bible and homosexuality for a speech at his hometown church. (See the speech on YouTube.) His book, God and the Gay Christian, champions the acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people within Christian communities and society at large.

Richard Lischer

February 18
Dr. Lischer is an award-winning author and theologian, whose work explores proclamation, politics, and contemporary culture. His books include The Preacher King: Martin Luther King, Jr. and The Stations of the Heart: Parting with a Son. He comes to us from Duke Divinity School.
Dr. Lischer is being presented at LR as part of the 500th Anniversary Reformation Celebrations of the NC Synod of the ELCA.

Willie James Jennings

March 10
The Rev. Dr. Willie James Jennings has been honored for his groundbreaking work on race and Christianity, especially his recent book, The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race. In it, the Yale Divinity School professor and assistant pastor explores Christianity's contributions to segregation and racism in America, and calls for a renewal of the Christian imagination to heal those divides.



Fall Semester Course Offering

"Forming the Faith of Children and Youth," with Dr. Mindy Makant

Mondays 7-9 pm, fall semester (8/31 - 12/7), at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, Hickory

The course is free and open to the public. For more information and to register contact Dr. Makant at (828) 328-7188




Institute for Faith & Learning

The Lenoir-Rhyne Institute for Faith and Learning endeavors to provide programming that will contribute to and enrich “a culture of the intellect” that is theologically based. Its programs are directed at Christians of all traditions.

Everything you need to apply for admission is right here.