by Matt Jenson, William Dyrness, Melissa Schubert, Trevor Hart & Jonathan Anderson
A panel including William Dyrness, Melissa Schubert, Matt Jenson, Trevor Hart, and Jonathan Anderson discuss art, philosophy, and theology. The group considers the place of art in the church, its value beyond didacticism, and the power of art to transform the imagination.
Matt Jenson is a systematic theologian specializing in the doctrine of sin and ecclesiology. In so doing, he is motivated by a desire to understand what it means to be human in terms of the relationships for which we were created and in which we live, move and have our being. He holds a BA in literature and philosophy from Wheaton College and a Ph.D. in systematic theology from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), where he was part of the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts. He is the author of The Gravity of Sin: Augustine, Luther and Barth on 'homo incurvatus in se' and, with David Wilhite, The Church: A Guide for the Perplexed. Jenson is a happy and grateful part of Fountain of Life Covenant Church in Long Beach and a licensed minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church. Currently he is a professor at the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University.
William Dyrness, professor of theology and culture, joined the Fuller faculty in 1990 and served as dean of the School of Theology from 1990 to 2000. He teaches courses in theology, culture, and the arts, and was a founding member of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts. Dyrness has over 30 years of teaching experience in the United States, the Philippines, Kenya, and South Korea. He has published work in a variety of fields, including theology and culture, apologetics, theology and art, and global missions. His recent works include Poetic Theology (2010), A Primer in Christian Worship (2009), the Global Dictionary of Theology (co-edited with Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, 2008), Senses of the Soul: Art and the Visual in Christian Worship (2008), Reformed Theology and Visual Culture: The Protestant Imagination from Calvin to Edwards (2004), Visual Faith (2001), Changing the Mind of Missions with James F. Engel (2000), and The Earth Is God's: A Theology of American Culture (1997). He has also served on the national boards of Christians in the Visual Arts (Wenham, MA), 1999 to 2005, and Development Associates International (Colorado Springs, CO), 2000 to the present, and is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He is currently at work on a major research project funded by the Henry Luce Foundation on the use of visual images in worship in Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim communities. Additionally, he is currently writing a book with art historian Dan Siedell on the religious influences of modern art.
Melissa Schubert teaches great books at Biola University's Torrey Honors Institute. She happily studies Early Modern English literature, finding the prolific pens of such poets as Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton to be plenty fascinating. She is especially interested in the intersections between theology and literature in the English Reformation, in the reformation of poetics that concurred with that of the church. Beyond this, Melissa is serious about at least a few other things: gardening (unskilled amateur), Scrabble (skilled amateur), and being an auntie (aspiring professional).
Trevor Hart has served as Professor of Divinity and Director of the Institute for Theology, Imagination & the Arts at St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, (one of the oldest universities in the world) since the inception of the institute in 2000. ITIA was established to bring imagination and the arts into constructive conversation with Christian theology and to pursue a more rounded theological vision of what it is to be human in God’s world. Dr. Hart is currently completing a three-volume set of books dealing with aesthetics and the Christian faith. Literature and Language; Making Good: Creation, Creativity and Artistry; and Patterns of Performance: Art, Imagination and Christian Hope will be released in late 2013 and early 2014.
Jonathan A. Anderson is an artist, art critic, and associate professor of art at Biola University, where he has been teaching since 2006. He holds an M.F.A. from California State University Long Beach, where he received the Distinguished Achievement Award in Drawing & Painting. He is an actively exhibiting artist, including exhibitions at the US Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand; Phantom Galleries in Long Beach, CA; the Museum of the Living Artist in San Diego, CA; George Fox University in Newberg, OR; and numerous other galleries around the country. Anderson’s work is heavily influenced by 20th-century philosophy and takes the figure/ground relationship in painting as his primary preoccupation. In addition, Professor Anderson is a regular speaker and writer about art, focusing especially on bringing contemporary art and Christian theology into more meaningful conversation with each other.