Reverend Dr. Geoff Thompson from Melbourne’s Pilgrim Theological College will keynote the next School of Discipleship conference from the 6th to 8th July, 2018.
The theology conference is an annual ‘school’ that explores the themes of discipleship and what it means to give up everything to follow Christ.
Rev. Dr. Thompson coordinates Studies in Systematic Theology at Pilgrim. He will address this year’s theme, ‘Good News and Fake News: Discipleship and Conviction in a Post-Truth Age’.
“I focus on ‘convictions’ quite specifically because the more traditional word of ‘doctrines’ carries such an enormous amount of baggage that it is hard to discuss it,” he said.
“Convictions are embedded in our imaginations, i.e., our way of seeing the world. And that’s another way that they relate to discipleship. Living the life of discipleship involve seeing the world in a certain way and living accordingly.”
“I’m interested in how we navigate the life of discipleship with conviction, but not arrogance, in a world where there is such widespread suspicion of any deeply-held convictions. So the fake news/good news contrast is a useful way of opening up the subtitle of the conference: ‘Discipleship and Conviction in a Post-truth Age’”
The term ‘Fake News’ was invented to refer to false reports that appear online. It has more recently been used by politicians such as US president Donald Trump as an insult to unfavourable news outlets. Rev. Dr. Thompson said that the move towards a ‘post truth’ age meant that “A shadow is cast over even the word ‘conviction.’”
“It seems as we live in a context in which even well-grounded convictions can be dismissed as ‘fake’ if people powerful enough have the right platforms (e.g. the White House or radio Shock Jocks) from which they can mock them.”
Rev. Dr. Thompson told Insights he was, “really looking forward to engaging the SOD community.”
“Its reputation has gone before it – so I’m anticipating lively and challenging discussions.”
Previous School of Discipleship keynotes have included Tim Costello, Ched Myers, and Uniting Church President-Elect Deidre Palmer.
School of Discipleship takes place at the Naamaroo conference centre from 6 to 8 July, 2018.
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor