» Racial Reconciliation and the National Covenant Event

Racial Reconciliation and the National Covenant: A Conference
February 12-13, 2019
Sponsors: Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, Institute of Anglican Studies at Beeson, Institute on Religion and Democracy

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The Institute on Religion and Democracy and the Institute of Anglican Studies at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University will host the Racial Reconciliation and the National Covenant conference at Samford, Feb. 12-13. This event will bring Protestants, Catholics and Jews together to answer the question, How does thinking about God change the way we think about race?

Talks at the conference will address covenant and race in the Hebrew Scriptures, exile and return from slavery, white supremacy, Martin Luther King Jr.’s appeal to the national covenant, and many other subjects.

Speakers include former gang member and Pentecostal minister Eugene Rivers, Seymour Institute Executive Director on Black Church and Policy Studies Jacqueline Rivers, economist Glenn Loury, former civil rights leader Robert Woodson, and activist Alveda King.

Conference Schedule
All sessions except one will be held in the Brock Forum in Dwight Beeson Hall. The Tuesday Chapel, however, will be held in Hodges Chapel at Beeson Divinity School.

Tuesday, February 12

7:15 am – 8:00 am              Registration and refreshments

8:00 am – 8:10 am             Introductions

8:10 am – 8:15 am              Opening prayer (Ronald Sterling, Senior Pastor of St. John AME Church, Birmingham)

8:15 am – 8:35 am              Covenant, race, and the nations (Joshua Berman, Bar-Ilan University)

8:35 am – 8:55 am              Exile and judgment (R. Mitch Rocklin, Tikvah Fund)

8:55 am – 9:15 am              The Puritans and Jonathan Edwards (Gerald McDermott, Beeson
Divinity School)

9:15 am – 9:35 am             The Founders, American Revolution, & the Early Republic (Joshua Mitchell, Georgetown University)

9:35 am – 9:50 am              Break with refreshments

9:50 am – 10:35 am            Panel discussion led by Jason Wallace

11:00 am – 12:00 pm          Chapel led by Prof. Robert Smith (Beeson Divinity School)

12:00 pm – 2:30 pm           Lunch; participant dining passes to be used at The Caf, adjacent to Dwight Beeson Hall

2:30 pm – 2:50 pm              Exile and return (Glenn Loury, Brown University)

2:50 pm – 3:10 pm             Martin Luther King, Jr., and the national covenant (Rev. Eugene Rivers, National Ten Point Leadership Foundation)

3:10 pm – 3:30 pm              Race and school choice (Robert Woodson, Woodson Center)

3:30 pm – 3:50 pm              Little black lives matter (Alveda King, Priests for Life)

4:00 pm – 4:45 pm              Panel discussion led by Keith Elder

4:45 pm                                Adjourn

6:30 pm                                Dinner banquet (by invitation only)

Wednesday, February 13

8:00 am – 8:05 am             Introductions

8:05 am – 8:10 am              Opening prayer (Rev. Katherine P. Jacob, Cathedral Church of the Advent)

8:10 am – 8:30 am             Black churches and the American covenant (Derryck Green, National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives)

8:30 am – 8:50 am             White churches and the American covenant (Mark Tooley, president, Institute on Religion and Democracy)

8:50 am – 9:10 am             The black family (Jacqueline Rivers, Seymour Institute on Black Church and Policy Studies)

9:10 am – 9:30 am             Racial supremacy and covenantal reconciliation (Carol Swain, political scientist, James Madison Society at Princeton)

9:30 am – 9:50 am             Concluding remarks (Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School)

9:50 am – 10:30 am            Break with refreshments

10:30 am – 11:30 am          Panel discussion led by Christson Adedoyin

11:30 am – 11:40 am          Adjourn

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Host Hotel

Courtyard by Marriott

500 Shades Creek Parkway (Lakeshore Drive)
Homewood, AL 35209
Learn More
Courtyard by Marriot offers a special Racial Reconciliation Conference group block rate for $120.00 per night. Guests can go online via the reservation link provided for you below. Reservations must be made up to the scheduled cut-off date of Monday, January 14th in order to receive the group discount.
*Click here to book your group rate for Racial Reconciliation Conference Room Block



Rabbi Dr. Joshua Berman, Bar-Ilan University

Joshua Berman is a professor of Bible at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and an Associate Fellow at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem based research institute. During the 2004-2006 academic years, he was awarded a research grant by the Shalem Center to write Created Equal as part of the Center’s commitment to tracing the influence of Hebrew texts across the ages to the growth of political thought. In 2009, Created Equal was named a National Jewish Book Award Finalist.

In addition to exploring the political thought of ancient Israel, Dr. Berman’s primary research interest has been in the field of biblical narrative, and he has published in such noted journals as The Journal of Biblical Literature, Vetus Testamentum and Catholic Biblical Quarterly. Dr. Berman is also an engaged scholar with a deep interest in sharing the fruits of scholarship with a broad audience. He has written on biblical theology and contemporary issues in Azure, Tradition, Midstream, and The Jerusalem Post.

Dr. Berman attended Princeton University, where he received a B.A. in Religion, and holds a doctorate in Bible from Bar-Ilan University. He is also an orthodox rabbi, and received his ordination from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.

Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin, Tikvah Fund

Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin is a Resident Research Fellow at The Tikvah Fund. He is also a Chaplain in the New Jersey Army National Guard with the rank of Captain, a Doctoral Candidate in United States History at the City University of New York, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He resides in Teaneck, New Jersey with his family.

Gerald R. McDermott, Beeson Divinity School

Gerald R. McDermott is the Anglican Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School and teaches in the areas of history and doctrine. He is the author, co-author or editor of many books, including A Trinitarian Theology of Religions (with Harold Netland), Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land, Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land, Cancer: A Medical and Spiritual Guide for Patients and their Families, and Famous Stutterers.

His academic research focus has been three-fold: Jonathan Edwards, Christian understandings of other religions, and the meaning of Israel. Prior to joining Beeson, he was the Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion at Roanoke College since 2008 and on faculty since 1989. An Anglican priest, he is associate pastor at Christ the King Anglican Church.

Joshua Mitchell, Georgetown University

Dr. Mitchell is currently professor of political theory at Georgetown University. He has previously served as the Chairman of the Government Department and also Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs at SFS-Q. During the 2008-10 academic years, Dr. Mitchell took Leave from Georgetown, and was the Acting Chancellor of The American University of Iraq – Sulaimani. His research interest lies in the relationship between political thought and theology in the West. He has published articles in The Review of Politics, The Journal of Politics, The Journal of Religion, APSR, and Political Theory.

In 1993 his book, Not By Reason Along: Religion, History, and Identity in Early Modern Thought was published by the University of Chicago Press. A second book, The Fragility of Freedom: Tocqueville on Religion, Democracy, and the American Future was published in 1995, also by the University of Chicago Press. In 2006, Plato’s Fable: On the Mortal Condition in Shadowy Times, was published by Princeton University Press. His most recent book, Tocqueville in Arabia: Dilemmas in a Democratic Age, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2013. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled, Reinhold Neibuhr and the Politics of Hope.

Glenn Loury, Brown University

An academic economist, Professor Loury has published mainly in the areas of applied microeconomic theory, game theory, industrial organization, natural resource economics, and the economics of race and inequality. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Econometric Society and a member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2005 he received the John von Neumann Award, given annually by the Rajk László College of the Budapest University of Economic Science and Public Administration to “an outstanding economist whose research has exerted a major influence on students of the College over an extended period of time.” He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Carnegie Scholarship to support his work. He has given the prestigious Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Stanford (2007), the James A. Moffett ’29 Lectures in Ethics at Princeton (2003), and the DuBois Lectures in African American Studies at Harvard (2000).

A prominent social critic and public intellectual writing mainly on the themes of racial inequality and social policy, he has published more than 200 essays and reviews in journals of public affairs in the US and abroad. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is a contributing editor at The Boston Review, and was for many years a contributing editor at The New Republic. His book One by One, From the Inside Out: Essays and Reviews on Race and Responsibility in America (The Free Press, 1995) won the American Book Award and the Christianity Today Book Award.

Rev. Eugene Rivers, National Ten Point Leadership Foundation

A former gang member from Philadelphia who studied at Harvard, Eugene F. Rivers III is pastor of the Azusa Christian Community in Dorchester, an inner-city neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife, Jacqueline C. Rivers, and their three children. His programs to get churches involved in curbing youth violence have been emulated nationwide. Rivers has been active for over thirty-five years working within local communities and with the federal government on issues of domestic and foreign policy.

He advised both the Bush and the Clinton administrations on their faith-based initiatives and issues of foreign policy in connection with the African AIDS crisis. In his work to shine a spotlight on street violence and underprivileged youth, Rivers has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and Fox. He is a contributing editor to Sojourners magazine. Rivers is the co-founder of the Boston TenPoint Coalition and co-chair of the National TenPoint Leadership Foundation.

Jacqueline C. Rivers (Seymour Institute)

Jacqueline C. Rivers is a Doctoral Fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy of the J. F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Kennedy School, and is a Graduate Research Fellow of the National Science Foundation.  She is also the Executive Director of the Seymour Institute on Black Church and Policy Studies, which seeks to create and promote a philosophical, political and theological framework for a pro-poor, pro-life, pro-family movement within the ecumenical Black Church both domestically and internationally. The key initiative of the Seymour Institute is the Program on Bioethics, Human Life and Marriage which will assert and defend the right of the church to pursue the practice of biblical faith and promote in society the sanctity of human life and the correct understanding of marriage as a conjugal partnership of husband and wife.  She is the former Executive Director of MathPower, an education consulting organization she founded and which became an influential voice in mathematics education reform for low income, minority students in the Boston Public Schools. She has worked on issues of social justice and Christian activism in the black community for more than thirty years, committing her personal and professional life in service to the inner city youth of Boston. She has presented papers at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association and has been featured in or provided commentary for publications such as the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe, Sojourners magazine, and WBUR/National Public Radio. She has lectured at a number of universities, including Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. She has co-authored numerous essays, including An Open Letter to the U.S. Black Religious, Intellectual, and Political Leadership Regarding AIDS and the Sexual Holocaust in Africa (1999), and A Pastoral Letter to President George W. Bush on Bridging our Racial Divide (2001).  She has a forthcoming essay with Orlando Patterson on a study of attitudes towards cultural change in preparation for the job market among the hard-to-employ, especially those who are low-income African Americans.

Alveda King, Priests for Life

Evangelist Alveda C. King currently serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, the African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, sharing her testimony of two abortions, God’s forgiveness, and healing.

The daughter of the late civil rights activist Rev. A.D. King and his wife Naomi Barber King, Alveda grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her family home in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed, as was her father’s church office in Louisville, Kentucky. Alveda was jailed during the open housing movement. She sees the prolife movement as a continuation of the civil rights struggle.

Evangelist King is a former college professor and served in the Georgia State House of Representatives.  She is a recipient of the Life Prize Award (2011), the Cardinal John O’Connor Pro-Life Hall of Fame Award (2011) from the Legatus organization and the Civil Rights Award from Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) (2011). She is a bestselling author; among her books are King Rules: Ten Truths for You, Your Family, and Our Nation to Prosper, How Can the Dream Survive if we Murder the Children? and I Don’t Want Your Man, I Want My Own. She is an accomplished actress and songwriter. The Founder of Alveda King Ministries, Alveda is also the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Saint Anselm College.   She has served on several boards, including Heartbeat International, Georgia Right to Life, MLK Center, Bible Curriculum in Public Schools and Abortion Recovery International (ARIN). She is also a member of the National Black Prolife Coalition (NBPC) and is a Senior Fellow with the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society. Alveda is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com “Insiders” section and a Fox News contributor.

Derryck Green

Derryck Green is a political commentator, writer, and a member of Project 21 – a National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives. His work has been featured and cited in a number of media outlets, including Townhall, The American Spectator, NBC, The Daily Caller, The American Conservative, CQ Researcher and many newspapers across the United States. He’s also a faculty member at Prager University and his course, “Who Are the Racists: Conservatives or Liberals,” has over one million unique views across several social media platforms.

Derryck has earned his Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, and his doctorate in Theology and Spiritual Leadership with a concentration in Identity Formation from Azusa Pacific University.

Mark Tooley, president, Institute on Religion and Democracy

Mark Tooley became president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) in 2009. He joined IRD in 1994 to found its United Methodist committee (UMAction). He is also editor of IRD’s foreign policy and national security journal, Providence.

Prior to joining the IRD, Mark worked eight years for the Central Intelligence Agency. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and is a native of Arlington, Virginia. A lifelong United Methodist, he has been active in United Methodist renewal since 1988, when he wrote a study about denominational funding of pro-Marxist groups for his local congregation. He attends a United Methodist church in Alexandria, Virginia.

He is the author of Taking Back The United Methodist Church, published in 2008; Methodism and Politics in the 20th Century, published in 2012; and The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War, published in 2015. His articles about the political witness of America’s churches have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, First Things, Patheos, World, Christianity Today, The Weekly Standard, National Review Online, Washington Examiner, Human Events, The Washington Times, The Review of Faith and International Affairs, Touchstone, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Post, and elsewhere. He is a frequent commentator on radio and television.

Dr. Carol Swain, political scientist, James Madison Society at Princeton

Dr. Carol M. Swain is an award-winning political scientist, a former professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University, and a lifetime member of the James Madison Society, an international community of scholars affiliated with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. Before joining Vanderbilt in 1999, Dr. Swain was a tenured associate professor of politics and public policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Dr. Swain is passionate about empowering others to raise their voices in the public square.

She is an author, public speaker, and political commentator. Dr. Swain is the author or editor of eight books with a ninth forthcoming in 2018. Her first book, Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress (Harvard University Press, 1993, 1995), won the Woodrow Wilson prize for the best book published in the U. S. on government, politics or international affairs in 1994, and was cited by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Johnson v. DeGrandy, 512 U.S. 997 (1994) and by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. (2003). In addition, Cambridge University Press nominated her book, The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration (2002), for a Pulitzer Prize.

Dr. Swain has served on the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School

Timothy George has been the dean of Beeson Divinity School since its inception in 1988. As founding dean, he has been instrumental in shaping its character and mission. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, George teaches church history and doctrine. He is a life advisory trustee of Wheaton College, is active in Evangelical–Roman Catholic Church dialogue, and has chaired the Doctrine and Christian Unity Commission of the Baptist World Alliance.

He serves as senior theological advisor for Christianity Today, and is on the editorial advisory boards of First Things and Books & Culture. George is the general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, a 28-volume series of sixteenth-century exegetical comment. A prolific author, he has written more than 20 books and regularly contributes to scholarly journals. His recent books include Reading Scripture with the Reformers, The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking: A Student’s Guide (with David Dockery), Our Sufficiency Is of God: Essays on Preaching in Honor of Gardner C. Taylor (with James Earl Massey and Robert Smith, Jr.), and Amazing Grace: God’s Pursuit, Our Response. His Theology of the Reformers (25th Anniversary ed., 2013) is the standard textbook on Reformation theology in many schools and seminaries and has been translated into multiple languages. An ordained minister in the Southern Baptist Convention, George has served churches in Georgia, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Alabama.

Robert Smith, Jr.

Robert Smith, Jr. holds the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School where he teaches Christian Preaching. Previously he served as the Carl E. Bates Associate Professor of Christian Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. A popular teacher and preacher, he received Southern’s 1996 Findley B. Edge Award for Teaching Excellence. An ordained Baptist minister, he served as pastor of the New Mission Missionary Baptist Church in Cincinnati, OH for twenty years. He earned his Ph.D. while serving as pastor. He is a contributing editor for a study of Christian ministry in the African American church, Preparing for Christian Ministry, and co-editor of A Mighty Long Journey.   In addition, he has served as an editor of Our Sufficiency Is of  God:  Essays on Preaching in Honor of Gardner C. Taylor (Mercer University Press, Macon Georgia: 2010).   He has written the book, Doctrine That Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life (B&H Publishing Group, Nashville: 2008), which was selected as the winner of the 2008 Preaching Book of the Year Award by Preaching magazine and 2009 Preaching Book of the Year Award by Christianity Today’s preaching.com.

In 2010, Preaching magazine named Doctrine That Dances one of the 25 most influential books in preaching for the last 25 years. His book, The Oasis of God: From Mourning to Morning—Biblical Insights from Psalms 42 and 43 was published in the spring of 2015. He has spoken at more than 100 universities, colleges, and seminaries in the United States, Great Britain, Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean. His research interests include the place of passion in preaching, the literary history of African American preaching, Christological preaching, and theologies of preaching. At Beeson, Smith teaches Christian Preaching and other electives in homiletics. He received Beeson Divinity School’s “Teacher of the Year Award” in 2005.

Robert L. Woodson, Founder, The Woodson Center

Robert L. Woodson is the founder and president of the Woodson Center, and is a frequent advisor to local, state and federal government officials as well as business and philanthropic organizations.  Woodson has published in influential newspapers and journals such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, National Review, The Washington Post, The New York Post, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vanderbilt Law Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and other national and local media outlets. He is the author of several books, including On the Road to Economic Freedom and The Triumphs of Joseph: How Today’s Community Healers are Reviving Our Streets and Neighborhood.


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