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Coram Deo

Coram Deo is an association of friends of theology. It is largely student-focused. The Latin phrase, coram deo, means “before God” or “in the presence of God” or “face to face with God.” We understand the work we do together—especially our discussion meetings—to be a kind of prayer, though we want them also to be times of thoughtful and playful work in which we strain to understand the things of God and laugh freely at our inadequacy in doing so. And so, our times together are to be fun, but also faithful to the work God has done, is doing, and will have done in Christ.

See below the topics and descriptions of our lecture series beginning 2011 - to present
Questions of Christian Identity For Practicing Christians: 2014_2015
    As Christians, we understand our faith to be based on the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and informed by Christian scripture, the traditions of the fathers and mothers of the faith, a reasoned understanding of our faith’s application to a modern world, and the experiences of the church community as a people seeking to follow Christ’s example. But how do we resolve questions of identity in a diverse modern world? How do we balance the authority of scripture with the realities of human brokenness and difference? How do we evaluate the Christian call to holiness in the context of modern ethical questions which seem to challenge traditional interpretations of scripture? How do we define and understand sin in a modern context and how should we respond to it? Should issues of diversity or race be ignored or
considered by the modern church and if so, what ethical responsibilities does such a reality impose on us as Christ-followers?

Tuesday Oct 7, 2014 – “Christian Identity and the Doctrine of Sin” - How does the Bible define sin? How has this understanding changed over the history of the Christian church, and what role does social and cultural context play in determining sinful acts? How do we fulfill the biblical command for holiness, mercy, forgiveness, and righteousness – elements which often seem to be in contradictory tension in our modern context? Does sin exist today and how do we uphold such a belief in a world that views the attribution of sinfulness as moral bigotry?

Tuesday Nov 11, 2014 – “Christian Identity and Questions of Gender & Sexuality” - What does the Bible have to say about issues of gender and sexuality and what theological, social, and political issues shaped the biblical articulation of these views? How should scientific considerations including biology and psychology, as well as modern social and political issues, inform a contemporary understanding of the Christian response to questions of gender and sexuality? The goal of this session is to provide a setting for prayerful reflection on very difficult issues facing the modern church.

Tuesday Jan 27, 2015 – “Christian Identity and Questions of Race” – Gal. 3:28 is often used as the justification by many Christians to avoid talking about issues of race or ethnicity, positing the view that “If we are all one in Christ, then race doesn’t matter.” But is that really what scripture says? Does scripture discuss ethnicity and if so, how? What role has the church played in shaping views of race or ethnicity and what is the church’s responsibility in a modern discussion of this issue? Is reconciliation possible if we don’t acknowledge historical and/or present divisions over issues of race and ethnicity?

Tuesday Mar 3, 2015 – “Christian Identity and Questions of Money & Service”

Jesus discussed the issue of money frequently in the gospels and even identified it as a false god (Mammon). What is the responsibility of modern Christians with regard to money, tithing, service, and the use of time? Is it possible to be a capitalist and an authentic Christian? What are the challenges and benefits of a biblically informed view of money and the use of time in our modern world?

Tuesday Apr 7, 2015 – “Christian Identity and Psychological Disorders” – No problems present greater challenges for the life of the modern Christian church than psychological disorders. The reason is that we have problems reconciling our status as believers in the Healer of all life who rose from the dead with individual brokenness. Too often, psychological disorders are treated by the church as symptoms of sin or faithlessness. This session will discuss a Christian perspective about ongoing disorders which plague faithful Christians such as anxiety and eating disorders.

In Light of the Gospel, Who Are We: Living Out Christian Doctrine in the Modern World: 2013_2014
    In recent years, the Christian church has experienced an identity crisis, often becoming lost in peripheral issues. Perhaps it is unsurprising that one popular response to this crisis has been an increasing interest in classic Christian doctrine -shared historical Christian belief. The faith expressed in the 4th century Nicene Creed is often identified as the standard of this shared historical Christian faith because it continues to be the statement that unites Christians: Protestant and Catholic, Eastern and Western, ancient and modern.
    But is it enough simply to claim the Creed? Doesn’t God in Christ draw us in deeper to ask not only what Christian doctrine means for Christian believing but also what it means for Christian being? Therefore, this year, Coram Deo would like to lead the APU community in a dialogue about the historical essentials of our faith and what these essentials might mean for our very real living in the very real world.
    Join us this year as we seek to discover together what sort of “legs” historical Christian doctrine found in the Creed might have. It may be old, but does that necessarily mean it is slow?

October 1, 2013
"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth"
The God of the Material World and a Culture of Materialism
We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ...
of the same essence as the Father… who became human”
The Incarnation of Christ and a World Hooked on Privilege and Power

“We believe in the Holy Spirit … Who is worshiped and glorified with the Father and the Son”
The Trinity: Obscure Doctrine or the Key to Christian Faith and Life?

February 25, 2014
We believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church”
The Value of Worshipping Together in a Utilitarian World

March 25, 2014
“We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins…”
But Aren’t There Really Two Kinds?:
Lifelong Faith vs. Conversion Experience

Faith Intersections:   2012_2013
How should our Christian faith influence our views regarding the important issues of our world? Coram Deo will discuss intersections between a  living Christian faith and a Christian commitment to be truly present in this world

Faith and Politics

Faith and The Lure of Intellectual Knowledge

Faith and a Christian View of Mental Illness

Faith and Money

Faith and the Arts

What Christians Believe About...
Even among evangelical Christians, there are a range of beliefs about core elements of Christian faith.  This year, Coram Deo will provide a forum for interaction about some key Christian doctrines, their origins and development, and the implications for modern understandings of faith.  Our goal is not simply to educate, but rather to engage a living faith on the basis of our evolving understanding of what it means to be people who follow Christ. 
Love Wins
What Christians Believe...About Eternity

What Christians Believe...About the Bible

What Christians Believe..About the Emerging Church

What Christians Believe... About Heaven, Hell, angels, and Demons

April 11, 2011
Faith in a Post-Christian World- Multidisciplinary Perspectives
Pizza, Python and Faith Talk