The Faith and Science Conference returns June 23-25, 2014, to Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. The 2011 conference was the first of its kind in the history of the Assemblies of God. Organizers say their goal is to provide pastors, leaders and laypeople with tools to address issues of science in the context of faith.
"Congregations are a lot more scientifically literate than they used to be," says James Bradford, general secretary of the Assemblies of God, and one of the organizers of the conference. "There are a great number of issues where faith and science intersect — ethical and medical issues, genetic engineering, beginning and end of life issues, etc. We want to help equip pastors to be able to speak to those things and not just to avoid issues of science."
Bradford, who holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Minnesota, says churches need not see science as a detriment to faith. "The church has tended to demonize science; presented it as a threat to faith. Meanwhile, culture is deifying science. We want to show pastors how faith and science can be integrated."
Conference chairman Mike Tenneson, Ph.D., agrees. A biology professor at Evangel University, he believes pastors should integrate faith and science in the pulpit for the sake of younger generations.
"The Barna Group have some telling responses to survey items that indicate young people find church structure as being antagonistic toward science," says Tenneson. "We can reduce the exodus by young people out of the church by showing that you can be a thinking person, and make decisions about what you believe based on evidence, and still be led by the spirit and experience miracles."
Having attended the inaugural 2011 conference, Kentucky AG District Superintendent Joe Girdler plans to return for the 2014 conference. "Today's pulpits need informed and intelligent ministers of godly passion on scientific matters...parishioners hunger for pastors and spiritual leaders who can intelligently and scripturally divide the Word of truth as it herein relates."
The 2014 conference keynote speaker is renowned Oxford Mathematician John Lennox. An evangelical Christian, Lennox is a sought-after scientific expert who is known for his ability to communicate complex issues in a personable, easily understandable manner.
New to the conference's cast of stellar plenary speakers is Stephen Meyer, Cambridge-trained director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute and a founder of the modern intelligent design movement.
Dr. Stephen Krstulovich, award winning lead engineer at Fermilab (a research facility focusing on particle physics — the study of the nature of the universe, time, space and reality) and long-time member of Maranatha Chapel AG near Chicago, will be returning to the conference as a plenary speaker.