By Alana Hu
Andy Davis and Heath Thomas, one a pastor and the other a scholar from North Carolina, will be the featured speakers of Union’s R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies’ “Read, Pray, Sing” conference April 12-13.
The “Read, Pray, Sing” conference is open to students, faculty and members of the community, including pastors, Bible study leaders and those who desire a greater understanding of the Bible, said Ray Van Neste, assistant professor of Christian studies and director of the Ryan Center.
The conference will focus on “The Psalms as an Entryway to the Scriptures,” and in addition to Davis and Thomas, six faculty from the School of Theology and Missions will lead breakout sessions that will focus on more specific topics in relation to the conference.
Davis is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., and the author of “An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture,” a booklet that focuses on the value of Scripture memorization.
He also has pastored in Massachusetts and was involved in church planting while he was a missionary in Japan through the International Mission Board.
While Davis serves as a pastor, Thomas is an associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. He also serves as the director of philosophy studies.
Thomas has written several books that will be printed this summer and fall.
His book, “Poetry & Theology in Lamentations: The Aesthetics of an Open Text,” was printed in October 2012, and “Habakkuk: A Commentary” will be submitted this summer.
Thomas also co-authored “The Old Testament Minor Prophets: A Theological Introduction” and “The Gospel and Mission: Connecting the Cultural Mandate to the Great Commission.”
Thomas’s works can be found in peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, dictionary entries and reviews.
Faculty speakers will include Van Neste; Kevin Chen, assistant professor of biblical studies; Mark Dubis, professor of biblical studies; George Guthrie, Benjamin W. Perry professor of Bible and senior fellow of the R.C. Ryan Center for biblical studies; Paul Jackson, professor of biblical studies; and Hal Poe, Charles Colson Professor of Faith and Culture and special assistant to the president.
These speakers will lead breakout sessions and give the same breakout session twice for one hour each time, Chen said.
Each also will discuss various topics pertaining to the book of Psalms. Chen’s breakout session, for instance, has to do with understanding the poetry of the Psalms.
Each year, the Ryan Center hosts conferences in the fall or spring, sometimes in both semesters, that focus on a specific topic and feature guest speakers.
Previous speakers have included Leland Ryken, professor of English at Wheaton College; author David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala.; and other theologians, writers and speakers.