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Rev. Dr. Joseph "Skip" Ryan, Chancellor and Professor of Practical Theology, Redeemer Seminary, Dallas, TX


February 13, 2010 at 11:00 AM EST


411 Willard Straight Hall

The annual Institute of Biblical Studies, sponsored by Chesterton House, Bethel Grove Bible Church, and New Life Presbyterian Church, is designed to teach from the Scriptures, challenging participants to deepen their knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Past speakers have included Dr. D.A. Carson, Dr. Walter Kaiser, Dr. Roger Nicole, and Dr. Richard Pratt.

This year’s guest is Rev. Dr. Joseph “Skip” Ryan, who will be speaking on the theme of The Weakness of God. The first lecture will be delivered Friday evening, 7:30pm, on the Cornell University campus, and is free and open to the public. The conference will continue on Saturday and conclude with a Sunday morning sermon.

We live as heirs of a view of power shaped by the most violent century in history. The legacy of the last hundred years will be written in blood, an account of brutality made increasingly bitter by the apparent weakness of God to change anything. To modern people, God is more absent than present, more distant than near, more weak than strong. The ultimate personal consequence of such a powerless God is a loss of meaning and vision. Yet things may not always be what they seem. The weakness of God may belie strength hidden in odd places: in small deeds of justice, in the power of listening, in apparent failure, in men and women who see themselves as out of control yet under God’s control.


SATURDAY MORNING – Message 1: The Man Who Lost Control

“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” St. Peter

Blaise Pascal said: “Not only do we know God through JesusChrist; we only know ourselves through Jesus Christ.” Jesus uncovers the patterns of hiding, performance and control in our lives. He does this with his “painful love” expressed in the gospel. He turns a quiet prayer breakfast into a soul-changing confrontation where love is shown to be mightier than power and control.


SATURDAY MORNING – Message 2: Humility As Power

“The Word became flesh.” St. John

The eternal Word by which the worlds were made, by definite and decisive act, became a human being. He did not appear as human, nor did he put on flesh as one puts on an overcoat. He became all that we are. In doing so, He identifies and redeems with weakness and loss. He also teaches us to listen.


SATURDAY AFTERNOON – Message 3: The Church Built On But A Small Rock

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” Jesus

The frailty of the Church as we perceive it belies the intentions for its usefulness by God. That usefulness can only be realized when the smallness and weakness of the Church is actually seen as central to its eventual effectiveness.



Skip Ryan is Chancellor and Professor of Practical Theology of Redeemer Seminary, Dallas, TX. He received his B.A. from Harvard University, and M.Div. and D.D. degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary. He previously served as founder and Senior Minister of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville (1976) and founder and Senior
Minister of Park Cities Presbyterian Church (1992).

Chesterton House Painting