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The Nagel Institute - Events and News: Archives


Spring 2015

Note the Exits: Lessons in Democracy from Hong Kong Christians

Lida V. Nedilsky, author and professor at North Park University, Chicago, documents the everyday work of civil society. Researching about Hong Kong Christians for seventeen years has taught Professor Nedilsky that entries as well as exits are necessary features of voluntary association and the development of a critical voice.








The World the Missionaries Made

Robert D. Woodberry is director of the Project on Religion and Economic Change and associate professor of political science at the National University of Singapore. Professor Woodberry uses both historical and statistical methods to test how Protestant and Catholic missionaries influenced the societies where they worked.




Fall 2014

Marj Terpstra and Nalova Westbrook, and students from May 2014 Interim

“Zambian Education Developments” IMG_2767

Nagel Fellowship Presentation




Thinking South & East

  • Philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff shared insights from his 2013 book, Journey toward Justice: Personal Encounters in the Global South.
  • Literary scholar Susan VanZanten recounted how her focus shifted from American to African literature as told in her 2013 publication, Reading a Different Story.
  • Historian Mark Noll revealed how he discovered the global Christian story, featured in his new book, just out, From Every Tribe and Nation.

All three books are part of the “Turning South” series, published through Baker Academic, and we want to hear from the authors about how they came to “reorient” their personal and scholarly commitments. Cosponsors: Baker Publishing Group, and the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarshp

Nagel and CCCS - Turning South & East from Calvin College on Vimeo.



Spring 2014

The Nepali Church: Gospel Culture at the End of the World


One of the most popular images of Nepal is as the home of the Himalayan Mountains, a remote, exotic place, at “the end of the world.”  What many do not know is that Nepal is one of the places where Christianity is growing rapidly, to a great extent because of missionaries from India! 

Manoj Shrestha, a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton Theological Seminary, and the former principal of Nepal Ebenezer Bible College, will address how the gospel has reached Nepal, and speak to the growth and challenges of the Nepali Church.

Cosponsored with Congregational and Ministry Studies

mp3Manoj Shrestha Nagel Lecture



Contextual Hermenuetics: When Korean Christians Read the Bible

Won Lee

  • How has the Bible been used to address the political realities of suffering and humiliation of Korean people?
  • In what ways have Koreans negotiated the authority of the Bible in context of plural sacred texts?
  • Are there features in Korean interpretations of the Bible that bear the influences of Korean culture and religiosity?

Cosponsors: Asian Studies, Calvin Theological Seminary, and Religion Department

mp3 Won Lee Nagel Lecture



The Emerging Urban Church in China

Pastor Jin

As China continues rapid urbanization, the growth of the church in cities is a noteworthy social phenomenon and currently the best starting point for understanding contemporary Christianity in China.


Cosponsors: Asian Studies, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin Theological Seminary, and Religion Department


mp3Ezra Jin Lecture


Fall 2013

Back from the Crocodile's Belly: Christian Formation Meets Indigenous Resurrection


Filipina intercultural communication scholar, S. Lily Mendoza of Oakland University, will grapple with the question: What happens when the “One True Story” encounters other faith stories? Drawing from her newly-released anthology, Back from the Crocodile’s Belly: Philippine Babaylan Studies and the Struggle for Indigenous Memory, Mendoza will reflect on growing up as a Methodist pastor’s kid and an aspiring Christian missionary trained by Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship and the Navigators.  She later came to grips with her country’s colonial history and its consequences for her and her people’s struggle for wholeness and authenticity. Her talk will be informed by a rich cultural memory, including the story of Filipino healers impaled by early Spanish missionaries and left on river banks for the crocodiles.  She will tell us she has learned from encountering this deep ancestry in the “belly of the beast” and its larger significance for today. Cosponsored by Asian Studies, CAS, Gender Studies, History, and Religion



Stob Lectures

Wednesday and Thursday, November 14-15, 2012
7:30 p.m., Seminary Auditorium
Calvin Theological Seminary
3233 Burton Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Lamin Sanneh, is D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity at Yale University. His latest books include:

Whose Religion is Christianity?: The Gospel Beyond the West (Eerdmans, 2003),  The Changing Face of Christianity: Africa, the West, and the World (Oxford U, 2005) and Summoned from the Margin: Homecoming of an African (Eerdmans, 2012).  Read more.

Faith and Citizenship with Reference to Africa: A Comparative Inquiry
Sanneh will reflect on the issues and challenges facing Christians in societies of significant Christian growth but with a scanty tradition of thinking about how faith and citizenship impinge on issues of democracy in a pluralist society. He will compare Christian and Islamic ideas, indicating the overlaps and divergences as a way of sharpening the issues younger churches are facing in Africa and elsewhere.

These lectures are free and open to public. Please join us in the Calvin Theological Seminary Auditorium.

Stob Lectures

The Stob Lectures are sponsored annually by Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary in honor of Dr. Henry J. Stob. Their subject matter is related to the fields of ethics, apologetics, and philosophical theology. The Stob Lectures are funded by the Henry J. Stob Endowment and are administered by a committee including the presidents of Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary.

October 2012 Lecture


Richard Nenge, Nagel Visiting Scholar

The Challenge of Fighting HIV/AIDS in an African Instituted Church

Even with the availability of drugs that can stop the onset of AIDS, community health leaders in Africa puzzle over the hesitation they frequently see in African communities. What is going on? Plenty, it seems. Researchers have found causes of resistance to AIDS treatment in traditional customs and worldviews, but much less is known about the role that religion plays in the battle against HIV/AIDS. Richard Nenge, a theologian and an IIE visiting scholar at Calvin this year from Zimbabwe, has found some answers. He has studied the role of religious beliefs in the treatment of AIDS in one of the largest African Instituted Churches in the southern region of Africa, and he wants to report his findings to us.


February Public Lecture

Jay CaseJay Case

An Unpredictable Gospel: American Evangelicals and World Christianity, 1812-1920

Monday, February 27
3:30 PM

Many scholars and Christian leaders today have noted that world Christianity has recently made an impact in Europe and North America, usually through immigrant groups, missionaries, or Christian leaders from Africa, Asia or Latin America who have settled and established ministries. Yet the influence of world Christianity in the United States did not begin with the movement of these individuals to America. Though few people noticed it at the time, world Christianity had already begun to shape America in the nineteenth century, even without the presence of non-western Christians in the nation. For instance, through the conduits established by the missionary movement, world Christianity convinced white evangelicals to establish leadership programs that led to their support for black colleges. It shaped the dynamics of African American Christianity. It intensified the ecstatic and wonder-working dimensions of the holiness movement, providing critical components to the birth of Pentecostalism. These dynamics did not just grow out of the development of global transportation, media and economic network. They emerged from the very characteristics of Christianity and evangelicalism itself.

Cosponsored by the Nagel Institute, History and Religion Departments


October 2011 Public Nagel Lectures

Industrial Education and Global Black Christianity, 1880-1930:
What did Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey and John Chilembwe have in common?

Andrew BarnesAndrew Barnes

Associate Professor of History
Arizona State University

Tuesday, October 25 @ 3:30 PM
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Cosponsored by The History Department, Africa & African Dispora Studies and The Nagel Institute

The Role of Youth in Emerging Democracies:
Egypt, Korea, China and Papua

Robert A. EvansRobert A. Evans

Executive Director of Plowshares Institute

Monday, October 31 @ 3:30 PM
Covenant Fine Arts Recital Hall

Sponsored by The Nagel Institute

Public Lectures

Lian Xi

Filling in the Gaps in Modern Chinese Church History

Xi pictureMonday, April 19
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

The Christian Movement in Modern China
Tuesday, April 20
3:30 PM
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Cosponsored with the Hubers Asian Studies Program

Lian Xi's latest publication, Redeemed by Fire

This book is the first to address the history and future of redeemed by firehomegrown,mass Chinese Christianity. Drawing on a large collection of fresh sources—including contemporaneous accounts, diaries, memoirs, archival material, and interviews—Lian Xi traces the transformation of Protestant Christianity in twentieth-century Chinafrom a small, beleaguered “missionary” church buffeted by antiforeignism to an indigenous popular religion energized by nationalism andmillenarianism.

Read more about Redeemed by Fire from Yale University Press

ObonyoLevi Obonyo, Mitchell Terpstra,
and Mark Fackler

"Should Media Bend Public Debate toward Peace? A Case Study in Kenya's
Post-Election Violence, 2007-2008"
November 16, 2009 3:30 pm
Alumni Association Board Room


Ben Quarshie

"Shaping the Future of Christianity: A Collective Responsibility"
October 29, 2009 3:30 pm
Meeter Center Lecture Hall


Mark Noll

"God and Race in American Politics"
September 17, 2009
Prince Conference Center


"World Christianity, American Christianity, & the Future"
September 18, 2009 @ 3:30 PM
Prince Conference Center


Melba Padilla Maggay

"Persistent Old Gods: Protestant Missions and Filipino Religious Consciousness"
May 12, 2009 @3:30 PM
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Dianne Slager

"African Independent Church Leaders' Knowledge and Attitutes about HIV"
March 31, 2009 @ 3:30 PM
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

View the Text

Mariano AvilaMariano Avila

"Preliminary Approaches to Spiritual Warfare in Worship Practices in Latin America"
March 31, 2009 @3:30 pm
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

View the Text
Listen mp3

Cephas Omenyo

"African Christian Initiatives: Some Lessons for the West"
Tuesday, May 6 @ 3:30 PM
Alumni Association Board Room

Rev Dr Chris WrightThe Rev. Dr. Chris Wright

"God, Israel, and the Future of the Nations
in Biblical Perspective"
Wednesday, April 23 @ 3:30 PM
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Stephan LintonDr. Stephan Linton

Dr. Stephan Linton, visiting associate of the Korean Institute at Harvard University, will gave the following lectures to inaugurate the Korean Lectureship at Calvin College:

What Should Christians Do about North Korea?
Wednesday, March 26 @ 3:30 PM
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Why Should Koreans Care about North Korea?
Thursday, March 27 @ 3:30 PM
Calvin Seminary Auditorium

Cosponsored by: the Asian Studies Program at Calvin College & the Nagel Institute

Tibebe EsheteTibebe Eshete: Assistant Professor of History, Calvin College

Marxism & Religion: the Paradox of Church Growth in Ethiopia
October 31, 2007

"This lecture discussed church and state encounters during the period of the Ethiopian Revolution, 1974-1990. Eshete provided documentary information regarding the persecutions of the evangelical church and how the church both survived and thrived in the midst of a daunting challenge through its clandestine existence and operations"

Sponsored by the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity and the Department of History, Calvin College

David LivermoreDave Livermore, Ph.D.

Dave Livermore, Ph.D., Director of Global Learning Center at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and Author of Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence (Baker Books, 2006), spoke at Calvin College about using cultural Intelligence (CQ) to improve short-term missions and service learning effectiveness.

"Looking In Before Reaching Out"
March 8, 2007

Calvin News & Media Coverage of the Lecture

Mariano AvilaDr. Mariano Avila Lecture at Calvin College

Dr. Mariano Avila holds a Ph.D. Political Science and is a Professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary.

"The Political Role of Evangelicals in Mexican Democracy from 1991 to the recent Presidential Elections of 2006: Lessons and scenarios."
March 12, 2007
Calvin College

This lecture addresses Mexican Evangelicals'

  • Role in Mexican political history
  • Participation in recent Mexican presidential elections
  • Future role in Mexican public affairs

Cosponsored with Calvin Theological Seminary

chinese bibleDr. Yiyi Chen Lecture at Calvin College, February 12, 2007

As a scholar on the Hebrew Bible and Jewish culture, Dr. Yiyi Chen will reflect on the encountering between the religion and culture value behind the Bible and the Chinese culture during the last two centuries With the fast economical development of China for the last two decades, and ever intensifying interaction with the western world, more and more Chinese are looking into one of the corner stones of western civilization, the Bible, for experience and inspirations in order to solve many social problems. Read more » or View the Poster »

solomon bestDr. Solomon Nkesiga Lecture, October 3, 2006

Dr. Nkesiga, President of Kampala Evangelical School of Theology (KEST) in Uganda, gave the lecture:
"African Renaissance: Its Politico-Economic Initiatives, its Negations, and the Contribution of African Theology of Wisdom" pdf doc

This was a cosponsored by the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity, African Diaspora Studies Program, and the International Development Studies Program.

Lamin Sanneh
Dedication of the Nagel Institute, May 2006

The keynote address was given by Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Mission and World Christianity and professor of history at Yale Divinity School.


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