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Brethren in Christ Study Conferences

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Brethren in Christ Study Conference 2016

The 2016 Brethren in Christ study conference was held on November 10-11, 2016, at Messiah College, and focused on the theme, "Not Conformed: The Church, the World, and Christian Discipleship in the 21st Century."

Download the conference brochure here.

About This Year's Conference

Banner for the 2016 Sider Institute Brethren in Christ study conference Not Conformed: The Church, the World, and Christian Discipleship in the 21st Century"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” (Romans 12:2)

In the past, these words from the Apostle Paul have been used by many Christians to justify separation, even isolation, from the surrounding society. Christians have pitted the church against the world, and have practiced forms of disciple-making that bred rejecters of culture rather than servants of culture.

If that pendulum swing took the church too far in one direction, some of today’s Christians have arguably swung the pendulum too far in the opposite direction, to the extent that their faith is almost indistinguishable from the dominant cultures in America.

This conference seeks to explore what it might mean to be “not conformed” in the 21st century. It will address questions such as:

  • How might a commitment to being “not conformed” shape our sense of Christian vocation and mission?

  • How can it transform our theology of the church at a time of declining worship attendance and dwindling membership in local congregations?

  • How will it empower us to speak prophetically against society’s social injustices, like racism and systemic poverty?

Attending this conference is an opportunity to fulfill one Lifelong BIC Learning credit, an expectation for all Brethren in Christ pastors within each renewal period.

Major Conference Sessions & Presenters

All conference sessions were recorded; recordings will be made available for each session in the coming weeks. In addition, a 2017 issue of Brethren in Christ History and Life, the journal of the Brethren in Christ Historical Society, will publish manuscript versions of each keynote and plenary session. Stay tuned for more information.


by Dr. Mark Labberton, President, Fuller Theological Seminary

Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 7:00pm

Improvising Faithfulness: A Brief History of Brethren in Christ Nonconformity

by Dr. David L. Weaver-Zercher, Professor of American Religious History, Messiah College

Friday, November 11, 2016 at 9:45am

The Liberty of Holiness: Anabaptist Nonconformity as Belonging

by Dr. Gerald J. Mast, Professor of Communication, Bluffton University

Friday, November 11, 2016 at 11:00am

Why Christian Nonconformity Matters: Church, Society, and Our Racially Organized Lives

by Dr. Drew G. I. Hart, Assistant Professor of Theology, Messiah College

Friday, November 11, 2016 at 1:15pm