No Beauty We Could Desire: Thoughts on Beauty and Faith

Conference on the Ascension – Call for Papers

I’m part of the planning team for a multi-denominational conference on Reformed understandings of the ascension sponsored by The Fellowship of Presbyterians.  My job is to be the coordinator of paper submissions.  So here’s the CFP.

“The Ascension of Christ: Christ has Gone Up; The Church has been Sent Out”

April 25-27, 2016

Venue: First Presbyterian Church, San Diego

The doctrine of Christ’s ascension has always been important in the Reformed tradition.  One clear statement of the Reformed perspective is found in the Heidelberg Catechism, which notes that Christ’s ascension benefits us in three ways: “First, he is our advocate in heaven in the presence of his Father. Second, we have our own flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that Christ our head will also take us, his members, up to himself.  Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth as a corresponding pledge.  By the Spirit’s power we seek not earthly things but the things above, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand” (Q/A 49).  The Catechism also points out that the ascension has implications for our understanding of the two natures of Christ, saying “Christ’s divinity is surely beyond the bounds of the humanity that has been taken on, but at the same time his divinity is in and remains personally united to his humanity” (Q/A 48).  Similarly, the Westminster Larger Catechism notes that Christ Jesus “in our nature, and as our head, triumphing over enemies, visibly went up into the highest heavens, there to receive gifts for men, to raise up our affections thither, and to prepare a place for us, where he himself is…” (Q/A 53).  Other Reformed confessions could be cited with similar claims about the central importance of the ascension of Christ.  We hope in this conference to gather theologians and pastors from a variety of Presbyterian and Reformed denominations to explore this shared emphasis. Confirmed plenary speakers are Michael Horton (Westminster Seminary West) and Laura Smit (Calvin College), with more to be announced soon.

For this conference, we are interested in constructive theological papers that work within this Reformed tradition to explore the implications of Christ’s ascension for the Church’s mission in the world today.  Starting from within the Reformed confessional tradition, we wish to consider what difference the ascension of Jesus makes for our on-going work of evangelism, discipleship, and worship.  Please send submissions via email to Professor Laura Smit (lsmit@calvin.eduby December 1.  Submissions must include your name and preferred title, institutional affiliation (whether school or church), denominational affiliation, an abstract of no more than 200 words, and a statement regarding any audio-visual needs.  Papers should be short enough to be presented within 20 minutes.  Notification of acceptance will be given by February 1.