Church & State conference

11/9 UPDATE: Scroll down for audio recordings!

In anticipation of our upcoming election season, many Christians are asking “Is there a Christian way to vote?” This conference will go beyond the “Christian voter card” to considering holistic ways of bringing our faith to bear in the public sector. We will explore the relationship between church and state, seeking to develop a Christian ethic for life in the public square. This will include consideration of the church as a prophetic witness to Christ’s kingdom amidst the kingdoms of this world. From being a good neighbor, to filling out your ballot, to confronting and collaborating on redemptive systemic and structural change, we will work toward a comprehensive way of thinking about how our Christian faith shapes our public witness as we engage our government and our communities.

This conference will be held on Saturday, October 27 from 9 – 4pm at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. Register in advance to avoid long lines at the door! Once you’ve registered for the event, help us get the conversation started by liking us on Facebook or tweeting @nwnws and include #ChurchAndState.



Click here to register for Church & State. We accept registration at the door, space permitting. To ensure we save a spot for you, please register in advance.



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Abrahamic Faiths, Sacred Texts, and Political Decision-Making

Luke Goble & Josh Butler

Even among sincere followers of Jesus and serious Christian thinkers, discussion of political differences can hit a roadblock based on different understandings, uses, and applications of scripture. In this session we will address some of the potentials and pitfalls of applying Christian scriptures not just to moral issues, but to political decision-making in the public sphere.  We will also examine how Jews and Muslims have understood and applied their own sacred texts to politics, shedding light on similarities and differences with Christians’ political hermeneutics.

Listen to Luke Goble and Josh Butler’s workshop at Church & State.


Rival Liturgies of Church and State

Scott Clyburn

This workshop will explore the ways in which the language and practices of the State colonize the Christian imagination for temporal ends. Our working thesis will be that the State’s “liturgy” is not entirely secular; neither, however, is the Church’s liturgy entirely sacred. Rather, the rhetoric of sacred/secular enables State to privatize the Church’s message whilst sacralizing its own machinations. We shall take cues from St. Augustine as well as concrete grassroots leaders and organizations that challenge the State’s absolutization of its own authority.

Listen to Scott Clyburn’s workshop at Church & State.


Church & State through the Ages

Brad Harper

The church’s struggle to understand its relationship to national or secular governments is not new.  For its entire existence, this question has been a vexing one and the church has come down on various sides of the issue at different times.  Further, this struggle is not relegated to the life of the church, but surfaces throughout the story of the Bible as the people of God find themselves living in and even working for pagan governments.  In this workshop we will examine the history of the relationship between the people of God and governmental structures noting the biblical support as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each kind of relationship.

Listen to Brad Harper’s workshop at Church & State.


The Muslim Moment in American Politics?

Paul Louis Metzger & Harris Zafar

Evangelicals have struggled over what to do with a Mormon Presidential candidate. Do we vote along religious or political lines? What happens in the future—if and when—a Presidential candidate is a Muslim? Many Christians would be concerned about such subjects and Sharia Law. At this workshop, an Evangelical Christian and an American Muslim discuss faith and politics and concerns over Christian and Muslim politicians in presidential politics.

Listen to Paul Louis Metzger and Harris Zafar’s workshop at Church & State.


The Search for Christian America: Futile, Fatale, or Fulfilling?

Dan Scalberg

Few ideas are so heavily contested in Christian circles today as the idea of “Christian America” – whether America is that, ever was that, or should be that.

The purpose of this workshop will be allow participates to think historically (in the professional sense) about American’s colonial and early national period. I will not tell participants how to reconstruct our society, but how to use the past wisely. We will explore answers to such questions as how Christian is Americas past, is the “Christian nation” concept helpful or harmful to effective Christian action, and how should history inform our response to the challenges of our age?

Listen to Dan Scalberg’s workshop at Church & State.


God’s Call to Rebuild the Wall: IJM’s Strategy for Transforming Public Justice Systems

Mike Hogan
God is passionate about justice. And God’s plan for ending injustice is through the Church, His people, courageously and creatively bringing His love and light to those suffering from the darkest forms of violence, oppression and injustice. IJM is on the front-lines of liberating people from the injustices of slavery, sex trafficking, property grabbing, and many other forms of violent oppression. And IJM is seeing fantastic results as we work with governments to bring structural transformation, freeing thousands but protecting millions. This workshop will equip you as an advocate in ending modern day slavery and combating injustice.

Listen to Mike Hogan’s workshop at Church & State.



Mr. David Austin serves as the Program Director for Mercy Corps operations in North Korea.  He is an expert on the politics of humanitarian assistance and has worked closely with the US Congress, the White House, State Department, US Agency for International Development and the UN’s World Food Program. David has appeared on CNN, PBS Newshour, the BBC, Al-Jazeera, and many international news outlets.  He is a native Oregonian, and received degrees from the University of Washington and St. John’s College, and is currently acquiring an Executive MBA from the University of Portland.  He is happily married and the father of two young children.

Listen to David Austin’s plenary talk at Church & State.


Dr. T. Allen Bethel serves as Senior Pastor at Maranatha Church, President of The Albina Ministerial Alliance and as a teacher, speaker, conference presenter, and on several boards. Rev. Bethel graduated from Kansas City College and Bible School cum laude with a Bachelor’s of Theology Degree, Masters of Religious Education Degree from Gordon Conwell, C.U.M.E., and a honorary Doctor of Ministry from Southern California School of Ministry, with further study for a Doctor of Missiology at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He has preached the gospel across the United States, Haiti, the Caribbean, and Khartoum, Sudan.

Listen to T. Allen Bethel’s plenary talk at Church & State.

Listen to T. Allen Bethel’s panel at Church & State.


Pastor Josh Butler serves as Pastor of Mission at Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon.  Josh oversees Imago Dei’s international partnerships in East Asia and local ministries in Portland, working towards community transformation through the local body of Christ. Josh co-teaches a humanities course at Warner Pacific College entitled “Politics and People of the Book.”  Josh holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Oregon and a Master’s in Theological Studies from Multnomah Seminary.

Listen to Josh Butler’s workshop at Church & State.


Mr. Scott Clyburn is Adjunct Instructor in Theology at the University of Portland and holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Yale Divinity School. He founded North Avenue Education, LLC in 2012 to provide private tutoring and test prep to homeschooling families in the Portland metro area.

Listen to Scott Cyburn’s workshop at Church & State.




Ms. Antoinette Edwards is a tireless and passionate worker who has provided over 30 years of service providing leadership, policy development, service provisions and advocacy for children and families of North, Northeast Portland. She co-founded the African American Alliance Community Unity Breakfast and founded the first African American PFLAG Chapter in the nation. Ms. Edwards is featured on Portland’s Women Making History Mural, the first large scale mural in Portland paying tribute to the contributions of local women community leaders. In 2011, Mayor Sam Adams appointed Ms. Edwards as Director of Public Safety and Peacekeeping for the City of Portland. She currently serves as the Director of the Office of Youth Violence Prevention for the City of  Portland.

Listen to Antoinette Edwards’ panel at Church & State.


Dr. Luke Goble has taught history and humanities at Warner Pacific College for the last five years. Among others classes, he co-teaches a humanities course at Warner Pacific entitled “Politics and People of the Book.”  He received his BA in English Literature from Harvard University and PhD in American Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  He and his wife Jillana live in Portland with their four kids and are involved in serving the foster care system in Multnomah county.  They attend Imago Dei Community Church.

Listen to Luke Goble’s workshop at Church & State.


After thirteen years as a pastor and church planter, Dr. Brad Harper has been Associate Professor of Theology at Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon since 1999. Dr. Harper also serves Associate Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and as Book Review Editor for Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture.  Dr. Harper’s publications include Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction, co-authored with Dr. Paul Louis Metzger.

Listen to Brad Harper’s workshop at Church & State.


Mr. Mike Hogan serves as the Director of Church Mobilization with International Justice Mission where he works to empower churches in building justice into their discipleship DNA and praxis. Prior to IJM, Mr. Hogan was a Project Manager with Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and a Missions Pastor at the River Church in San Jose, CA. At the River, Mr. Hogan partnered with IJM on a project in Peru that sought to protect women and children from sexual violence.

Listen to Mike Hogan’s workshop at Church & State.


Mr. David Leslie is the executive director of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, a regional ecumenical association working to improve life in the Pacific Northwest through community ministry, advocacy and interreligious dialogue. Mr. Leslie has worked locally, nationally and internationally with numerous ecumenical and interfaith organizations. The focus of his service is developing lasting interreligious relationships to help people of faith to address societal divisions and improve social conditions. Mr. Leslie received his Masters of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and his Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Texas at Austin.

Listen to David Leslie’s panel at Church & State.


Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins. He serves as New Wine’s catalyst for cultivating a community of people brought together around a shared vision of bearing witness to Christ in contemporary culture. The New Wine, New Wineskins framework is integrated into Dr. Metzger’s courses at Multnomah Biblical Seminary, where he serves as Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture. New Wine is an official program of the Seminary.  Dr. Metzger is editor of the journal Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture, which is a publication of The Institute for the Theology of Culture. Dr. Metzger is the author Connecting Christ (Thomas Nelson, 2012) and numerous other works.

Listen to Paul Louis Metzger’s plenary talk at Church & State.

Listen to Paul Louis Metzger’s workshop at Church & State.


Dr. Daniel Scalberg is History Department Chair at Multnomah University. He earned his Ph.D. in European History from the University of Oregon. He is active in several academic societies and conducts research funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Canadian government. He enjoys travel, reading creative mysteries, Ducks football, and Timbers soccer.

Listen to Dan Scalberg’s workshop at Church & State.




Mr. Tom Krattenmaker is a Portland-based writer specializing in religion in public life and a contributing columnist for USA Today’s “On Religion” commentary page. He was a winner in the American Academy of Religion Journalism Awards program in 2009 for a piece challenging popular misconceptions about evangelicals. AAR praised his work for “showing that something new, something more complex and subtle is going on – a great goal for religion commentary.” His second book, “The Evangelicals You Don’t Know,” is scheduled for release in the spring of 2013.

Listen to Tom Krattenmaker’s plenary talk at Church & State.


Mrs. Cooky Avlakeotes Wall is a retired small business owner and public official.  She currently serves as Chair of the New Wine, New Wineskins Advisory Council and is Co-Director of the Cedar Mill Bible Church Food Pantry in Northwest Portland.  She is blessed to be retired and continues to use her expertise and leadership experience in a variety of ways.  While she and her husband, Robert, are very engaged in the greater Portland area, they enjoy every opportunity to “get on the road again” in their RV.



Ms. Barbara Willer is the Interfaith Coordinator for Multnomah County government.  She has served in several capacities in government over the past 20 years, including as a housing and service coordinator for homeless families, chief of staff to the former chairman of the county, and an interim County Commissioner in 2010.  Barbara has a background in community organizing and non-profit development and management on issues of economic justice, women’s leadership, low-income housing and public education. She is currently working on her Masters of Divinity at Marylhurst University and is an associate of the Sisters of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

Listen to Barbara Willer’s plenary talk at Church & State.

Listen to Barbara Willer’s panel at Church & State.


Mr. Harris Zafar serves as the National Spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA – among the oldest Muslim organizations in America. Mr. Zafar addresses issues facing Islam and the Muslim world in various media and also elucidates the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s nationwide efforts towards pluralism and understanding. He encourages Muslims to speak out about the true teachings of Islam in order to counter the incorrect image created by extreme militants across the world. A staunch advocate for universal human rights, Mr. Zafar was praised in a March 2012 motion raised on the floor of the House of Commons in Great Britain for his work defending religious freedom.

Listen to Harris Zafar’s workshop at Church & State.