FLORENCE, Ala. (BNc) by Edmon L. Gallagher — Heritage Christian University hosted Dr. Everett and Mrs. Nancy Ferguson for a series of lectures Oct. 17.
Dr. Ferguson, emeritus Professor of Church History at Abilene Christian University, spoke as the 2013 Jack P. Lewis lecturer.
Dr. Ferguson gave two lectures to a crowd of 50 faculty, students, and guests at HCU.
The first lecture was entitled “Early Christian Periodizations of History” (video available here), in which Dr. Ferguson surveyed the multiple ways in which early Christians divided history into different eras.
For the second lecture, Dr. Ferguson spoke on the topic “Of Veils and Virgins.” He gave a thorough survey of ancient Greco-Roman, Jewish, and Christian practices regarding the veiling of women, with special reference to 1 Corinthians 11. He concluded that the practice of veiling certain classes of women began so far back in antiquity that our earliest sources do not even know how the practice originated. Dr. Ferguson pointed out that while the differientiation in roles assigned to men and women in 1 Corinthians 11 is tied by Paul to creation, the practice of veiling women is defended with culturally specific arguments in the passage.
The chapel period featured an interview with Dr. Ferguson on the relevance of Church History for understanding the New Testament and for modern Christian ministry (video available here).
The school also hosted a dinner that evening in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Ferguson, at which time Dr. Ferguson spoke briefly about his own life and fielded questions about his time as a student at Harvard and his years of teaching at ACU.
Dr. Ferguson is well-known among churches of Christ for his numerous books and articles, including A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church (4th ed., Desert Willow, 2013), The Church of Christ (Eerdmans, 1996), Backgrounds of Early Christianity (3rd ed., Eerdmans, 2003), Baptism in the Early Church (Eerdmans, 2009), and many others. He is an internationally respected scholar of the early church, having served as president of the North American Patristics Society and editor of the Journal of Early Christian Studies, along with other reference works and journals.
The Jack P. Lewis lectures were established at HCU in 2011 in honor of the longtime professor of Bible at Harding School of Theology in Memphis. The aim of the lecture series is to highlight scholarship as a valuable aid to ministers and to honor one of the best-known scholars in the Churches of Christ who has spent his career training ministers for our churches. Prof. Lewis himself inaugurated the series in 2011, and Alan McNicoll of the Austin Graduate School of Theology was the lecturer in 2012.
The Jack P. Lewis lecturer for 2014 will be Evertt Huffard of the Harding School of Theology.
Edmon L. Gallagher is Assistant Professor of Biblical Literature at Heritage Christian University.