Lecture Series 2019-20

The William Penn Honors Program lecture series brings nationally and internationally recognized scholars and public intellectuals to George Fox to present on topics of crucial interest to Christians in the 21st century. Students are often afforded opportunities for lunch seminars with the speakers, giving students unique access to these Christian thought leaders. These lectures are free and open to the public.


TO OUR GEORGE FOX COMMUNITY: THE UNFOLDING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) CRISIS HAS SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTED OUR ABILITY TO HOLD EVENTS ON CAMPUS. WE HOPE TO HOST NANCY PEARCEY AND BO KAREN LEE DURING THE 2020-21 ACADEMIC YEAR.

Nancy Pearcey

Nancy Pearcey

“Love Thy Body — Beyond Sound Bites: Understanding and Critiquing Today's Hot-button Issues”

Thursday, April 2, 7 p.m.
Bauman Auditorium

Please note: This lecture has been postponed until further notice.

People today are not asking, "Is Christianity true?" They're asking, "Why are Christians such bigots?" Nancy Pearcey, professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University, takes on the headline issues of our day: abortion, assisted suicide, homosexuality, transgenderism, and the hook-up culture. She shows that we will be much more effective if we dig down to the worldview level. The secular ethic rests on a radically dehumanizing worldview that denigrates the body and demeans the person. By contrast, Pearcey shows how to craft the biblical ethic in a way that is more positive and more appealing than the secular ethic.

Pearcey is the author of Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality. Her earlier books include The Soul of ScienceSaving Leonardo, Finding Truth, and two ECPA Gold Medallion Award Winners: How Now Shall We Live (coauthored with Harold Fickett and Chuck Colson) and Total Truth. Her books have been translated into eight languages.

She is professor and scholar in residence at Houston Baptist University. A former agnostic, Pearcey has spoken at universities such as Princeton, Stanford, USC, and Dartmouth. She was highlighted as one of the five top women apologists by Christianity Today and was hailed in The Economist as "America's pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual."

Bo Karen Lee

Bo Karen Lee

“The Beauty of Weakness: Hildegard Bingen on Life with God”

Monday, March 9, 7 p.m.
Canyon Commons

Please note: This lecture has been postponed until further notice.

One of the brightest Christian thinkers of her time, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) frequently referred to herself as a "fragile human being." In her great work Scivias ("Know the Ways of the Lord"), she set forth her theology of weakness. According to Hildegard, divine strength enters our lives through an awareness of our human weakness. Come and explore Hildegard's theology of weakness and discover the relevance her insights have for us today. Dr. Bo Karen Lee of Princeton Theological Seminary will be presenting this lecture in Canyon Commons at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 9. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Bo Karen Lee is associate professor of spiritual theology and Christian formation at Princeton Theological Seminary. She earned her BA in religious studies from Yale University, her MDiv from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, and her ThM and PhD from Princeton Seminary.

Noah Toly

Noah Toly

“The Gardeners' Dirty Hands: Environmental Politics & Christian Ethics”

Thursday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m.
Canyon Commons

In this powerful lecture, Toly offered an interpretation of environmental governance that draws upon insights into the tragic — the need to forego, give up, undermine, or destroy one or more goods in order to possess or secure one or more other goods. Toly engaged Christian and classical Greek ideas of the tragic to illuminate the enduring challenges of environmental politics. He suggested that Christians have unique resources for responsible engagement with global environmental politics while acknowledging the need for mutually agreed, and ultimately normative, restraints.

Noah Toly is Professor of Urban Studies and Politics & International Relations at Wheaton College where he directs the Center for Urban Engagement. He also serves as Non-Resident Senior Fellow for Global Cities at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and as a member of the faculty at the Free University of Berlin's Center for Global Politics.

Access Toly's lecture here.

Amsa Uddin

Amsa Uddin

“When Islam is Not a Religion”

January 21, 2020, 7 p.m.
Hoover 105

Uddin is one of the country's premier religious liberty lawyers, applying her scholarship to the protection of religious expression for people of all faiths in the U.S. and abroad.
Meghan Sullivan

Meghan Sullivan

“The Love Imperative — A Defense”

October 24, 2019, 7 p.m.
Hoover 105

We naturally think of love as discriminatory – you love your partner more than strangers, your friends more than your adversaries, and your home team over opponents. Indeed, most philosophers – influenced by the Greeks – have worked hard to carve out a theory of when and why we are permitted to be so partial in our affections.  Universal love, if we can even understand it, seems only like an option for saints or hippies ... not a realistic or practical ethical framework for most of us. This lecture will provoke you to think deeply about your philosophical approach to ethics and the motivation behind your morality.

Meghan Sullivan is professor of philosophy and the Rev. John A O’Brien Collegiate Chair at the University of Notre Dame. Sullivan’s research tends to focus on philosophical problems concerning time, modality, rational planning, value theory, and religious belief (and sometimes all five at once). She has published work in many of the leading philosophy journals, including NousEthics and Philosophical Studies. Sullivan is deeply interested in the ways philosophy contributes to the good life and the best methods for promoting philosophical thought.

Dr. Sullivan's lecture will be available for download upon the completion of her associated paper, expected in Spring 2020.

Ray Barfield, MD, PhD

Ray Barfield, MD, PhD

“Seeking God in the Ruins: A Pediatric Oncologist's Story of Finding Beauty and Hope Amidst Suffering and Death”

Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, 7 p.m.
Canyon Commons

Ray Barfield lost his Christian faith after witnessing the suffering of children with cancer. Though he later returned to Christianity, his doubts transformed his perspective on human flourishing. Join us as Barfield shares how it’s not so much the absence of suffering but our response to it that fosters wholeness.

Dr. Barfield is a pediatric oncologist and palliative care physician. He joined the faculties of Duke's Medical School and Divinity School in 2008. The first half of his career focused on improving immune therapies for childhood cancer and understanding the moral aspects of decision-making in medical research involving children. At Duke he has focused on the role of theology, humanities, and the arts in the formation of physicians. Dr. Barfield was the founding director of two programs at Duke: Pediatric Quality of Life and Palliative Care and Theology, Medicine, and Culture. Currently he is the director of the Medical Humanities Program for the Trent Center for Bioethics, Medical Humanities, and History of Medicine in the Medical School. He has published widely in medicine, philosophy, and literature.

 Dr. Barfield's lecture is linked here.

The Faith + Medicine panel discussion is linked here — A Clinician's Guide to Re-conceptualizing Death, Dying, and Suffering"

In addition to Ray Barfield, panelists are as follows: Kristen Lakis, Duke University; Pam Fifer, GFU School of Nursing; Daniel Kang, GFU Department of Physical Therapy. The panel event was held earlier in the day.