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Calvin Thielman Lecture Series

The Calvin Thielman Lecture Series seeks to honor Calvin Thielman’s legacy by providing challenging lectures that enrich the intellectual and spiritual life of the community.

Thielman Lectures 2024

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

The Ballot and the Bible: Scripture and Public Life | 7:00 PM
Graham Chapel | 310 Gaither Circle |  Montreat, NC 28757

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

For the Life of the World: Spiritual Formation and Politics | 10:00 AM 
Anderson Auditorium |
303 Lookout Road | Montreat, NC 28757

Keynote Speaker

Kaitlyn Schiess 

Kaitlyn Schiess is a writer, author, and doctoral student at Duke Divinity School studying political theology, ethics, and biblical interpretation. She graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2021 with a ThM in systematic theology.

Kaitlyn is the author of The Liturgy of Politics: Spiritual Formation for the Sake of Our Neighbor, released in September 2020 and The Ballot and the Bible: How Scripture Has Been Used and Abused in American Politics and Where We Go from Here, released in August 2023.

Kaitlyn has written about theology, politics, and culture at places like Christianity Today, The New York Times, Christ and Pop Culture, CT Women, RELEVANT, Sojourners, Fathom, and the Christian Research Journal.

Calvin Thielman

Dr. Calvin Thielman

Dr. Calvin Thielman (1930-2002) was born in Paris, Texas, in 1930. Thielman was on a fast track to a career in politics when he experienced a call to the ministry. He held many roles and responsibilities in his life, including serving as an assistant to Billy Graham. He was the pastor of Montreat Presbyterian Church (now Christ Community Church) from 1962 to 1995, as well as the chaplain of Montreat College from 1962 to 1992. He was known by many as a skilled teacher, preacher, counselor, and ambassador for Christ.

Past Speakers

James Chuong

Dr. Preston Sprinkle

Dr. Preston Sprinkle is a biblical scholar, speaker, podcaster, a New York Times bestselling author, and is the co-founder and president of The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender. He loves talking and writing about hot-button cultural and theological issues with thoughtfulness, honesty and grace and works hard to challenge himself and others to read the Bible with conviction and humility.

James Chuong

Rev. Dr. James Choung

Rev. Dr. James Choung serves as Vice President of Strategy & Innovation—overseeing evangelism, discipleship, planting, growth, missions, multi-ethnic initiatives, and the Creative Labs—at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA.

Jackie Hill Perry

Jackie Hill Perry

Jackie Hill Perry is a writer, speaker and spoken word artist whose work has been featured in The Washington Times, The 700 Club, Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, and other publications. Since coming to know Christ at the age of 19, Hill Perry has been compelled to share the light of Gospel truth through teaching, writing, poetry, and music as authentically as she can. She is signed to Humble Beast Records and released her debut album, The Art of Joy, in 2014. Her latest album, Crescendo, was released in 2018. At home, she is known as wife to Preston and mommy to Eden and Autumn.

Skye Jethani

Skye Jethani

Skye Jethani is an author, speaker, consultant and ordained pastor. He also serves as the co-host of the popular Phil Vischer Podcast, a weekly show that blends astute cultural and theological insights with comical conversation. Between 2004 and 2015, Jethani occupied numerous roles at Christianity Today, including managing and senior editor of Leadership Journal and as the director of mission advancement. He was also the senior producer of “This Is Our City,” a multi-year, multi-city project telling the stories of Christians working for the common good of their communities. In addition to Christianity Today‘s magazines and websites, Jethani has also written for The Washington Post‘s “On Faith” column, Relevant magazine, ChurchLeaders.com, and he is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. He has also authored numerous books, including The Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity (2009), WITH: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God (2011), Futureville (2014), What’s Wrong with Religion? 9 Things No one Told You About Your Faith (2017) and Immeasurable: Reflections on the Soul of Ministry in the Age of Church, Inc. (2017). He also curates the “WITH GOD” daily devotional, a subscription-based daily email designed to help a smartphone generation begin the day with God.

Rufus Smith

Rufus Smith

Rev. Rufus Smith, IV is the senior pastor of Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the largest 100 congregations in America. He joined Hope’s staff in September 2010, and in 2013 was elected to succeed the founding pastor of 25 years, Dr. Richard Craig Strickland. For nearly 12 years, Rev. Smith was the senior pastor of The City of Refuge (COR) Church in Houston, Texas, an inter-racial, inter-generational, biblically-centered and socially active fellowship. Prior to being called to Memphis, Rev. Smith was the founder and CEO of the FORGE for Families (FFF). The FORGE employed athletics, after-school enrichment, adult life-skills, and entrepreneurial programs as a means to empower at risk families. For three years he was the lead chaplain for the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and he continues to advise other local/national boards. He studied at Houston Baptist University, majoring in theology and psychology, and maintains an active traveling and speaking schedule.

Phil Vischer

Phil Vischer

Phil Vischer made his first animated film when he was nine years old; by the age of fourteen, he was convinced he would be a filmmaker when he grew up. After a brief stint at a Bible college, Vischer struck out on his own, looking for a way to integrate his faith with his filmmaking. This quest led him to a tomato and a cucumber. The year was 1991, and Phil Vischer was a newly married 25-year-old with no financial backing and no idea how his vegetables would ever see the light of day. Today, almost 50 million VeggieTales videos have been purchased and Vischer’s faith-filled stories can be found in one-third of all American homes with young children. Although his original company, Big Idea Productions, collapsed in bankruptcy in 2003, Vischer continues his creative involvement with VeggieTales through its current owner. He actively develops new ways to integrate faith and storytelling through Jellyfish Labs. Vischer lives in Wheaton, Illinois, with his wife, Lisa (aka Junior Asparagus), and their three kids.

Sean McDowell

Sean McDowell

Dr. Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for equipping the church, and in particular young people, to make the case for the Christian faith. He earned a Ph.D. in apologetics and worldview studies from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2014. McDowell is the author, co-author, or editor of over fifteen books including Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, with John Stonestreet, Is God Just a Human Invention? with Jonathan Morrow, and Understanding Intelligent Design along with William A. Dembski. He has also written multiple books with his father, Josh McDowell, including The Unshakable Truth and More Than A Carpenter. McDowell is the general editor for Apologetics for a New Generation and The Apologetics Study Bible for Students. He has also written for YouthWorker Journal, Decision Magazine, and the Christian Research Journal.

Jim Wood

Jim Wood

A Montreat native and Montreat College alum, Rev. Wood is the founder and executive director of Wears Valley Ranch and the former director of mobilization of My Hope America with Billy Graham, the largest evangelistic effort in U.S. history. Wears Valley Ranch is a home and school for children from families in crisis that includes two homes for boys, two homes for girls, a counseling center, a fully accredited K-12 school, a summer camp, a radio ministry, and conference facilities serving hundreds of visitors and volunteers each year. In addition to his work with Wears Valley, Rev. Wood maintains an itinerant preaching ministry. Wood and his wife have authored fourteen books.

Tony Campolo

Dr. Tony Campolo

Dr. Campolo, professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University, is also the founder of of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education. He is known for his forward thinking approach to Christianity.

Os Guinness

Os Guinness

Os Guinness is a renowned author and social critic. He has vast expertise in the areas of public policy, international relations, and faith. He has worked as a freelance journalist for the BBC, written over 25 books, and served at the Brookings Institute and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Affairs.

Burl Cain

Warden Burl Cain

Warden Cain is the warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary. He has been featured on ABC’s “20/20” with Barbara Walters, “Stephen Fry Goes to America,” and “Louisiana Lockdown” on Animal Planet.

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is known as a politician, political consultant, and author. He was the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from the years of 1995 to 1999, and was also a candidate for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2012.

Teri McCarthy

Dr. Teri McCarthy

Dr. McCarthy is a writer, and currently holds the role of English Department Chair at Lithuania University. She has taught at universities in China, Holland, Russia, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

Andrew Young

Andrew J. Young

Andrew Young is a pastor, politician, and activist. He is widely known for his work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a close friend and supporter of King during the Civil Rights Movement. In addition he has held roles as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Congressman, Mayor of Atlanta, and more.

Mastin Robeson

General Mastin Robeson (Ret.)

General Mastin Robeson served for 34 years in the Marine Corps and has boundless experience in the areas of intelligence and counterterrorism. He has also served on the board of trustees at Montreat College.

William Paul Young

William P. Young

William Paul Young is an author, and most notably known for his novel, The Shack.