Future of Protestantism explored in upcoming event

A conversation regarding the role of Protestantism will be held on April 29 in Calvary Chapel



With the newly painted Calvary Chapel and the nearly completed Talbot building looming in the background, Campus awaits Biola and Parent weekend. | Katie Juranek/THE CHIMES

Aimee Nelson, Writer

A conversation regarding the role of Protestantism will be held on April 29 in Calvary Chapel. | Katie Juranek/THE CHIMES [file photo]


The Torrey Honors Institute along with The Davenant Trust and “First Things,” an online religious journal, will be sponsoring a public conversation about the future of Protestantism on April 29 at 7 p.m. in Calvary Chapel.


The conversation will take place between Biola’s Torrey Honors Institute associate professor Fred Sanders, professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary Carl Trueman, and resident of Trinity House Peter Leithart.

The discussion, which will be recorded and published online by the Davenant Trust, will be addressing questions that pertain to the role of the Reformation today and how the Protestant Reformation relates to Eastern Orthodoxy, according to the event’s webpage.

The question about the future of Protestantism was first brought to light by Leithart, who published a blog post on “First Things” called The End of Protestantism, claiming that Protestantism is not what the church needs today.

“Protestantism as a whole has an instinct to define themselves as a contrast to Catholics. Rather than taking scriptures as standard, the standard becomes, in some respects, not to be Catholic,” Leithart said. “The future of Protestantism will depend on Protestants’ ability to overcome that. To follow Scripture, even if that pushes us closer to Catholicism on some issues.”

Protestantism is something that is often misunderstood, and this conversation should expose people to exactly what it is, according to Sanders, who wrote a response to Leithart’s piece.

“A lot of us grew up in some form of Protestantism. When you begin to read classic Christian heritage … Protestantism goes back — institutionally speaking — 500 years. I think it will open people's horizons to understand the depth of what Protestantism is,” Sanders said.


The three speakers will have differing views on where Protestantism should or will go. While Leithart will be defending his views on a universal idea of Protestantism, Sanders will be defending Evangelical Protestantism. Trueman will be coming from a place of confessional Protestantism, a belief that creeds and confessions play a part in the church, according to Sanders. Sanders hopes that involving three different ideas instead of two will sway the conversation away from being a debate.

The conversation will be moderated by the vice president of the Davenant Trust, Peter Escalante.

“It will be a civil conversation in which some issues will be made clearer. Whether there will be an agreement or an understanding of disagreement is hard to tell,” Escalante said.

Escalante feels that it will be beneficial for students to attend the event because it will directly affect them.

“It is an extremely important question. Biola is a Protestant college and this is about the future of their branch of Christianity,” Escalante said.

The event aims to be an open conversation that intrigues individuals and introduces them to these different opinions, according to Sanders.

“We are really trying to build an event that is enjoyable to be present at. We’re not giving opening statements, we’re trying to have a lot of give and take,” Sanders said. 

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