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Oak Hill School of Theology 2019

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
9:30 am
Oak Hill College

In his image: The doctrine of humanity in the 21st century

The story of humanity in the 21st century is a tragic tale of confusion and anxiety. Who are we? How do we know? What value do we have, and why? What divides us and what unites us as a race? Are we gods, or cogs in a wheel? Villains or victims?

In 2018, the Oak Hill School of Theology explored the biblical theme of humanity made in the image of God. This year we will be taking that work and building it into a theological and pastoral response to some of the leading challenges of our times. In the plenary sessions, members of the Oak Hill teaching staff will be reflecting on the implications of our humanity in culture, theology, and discipleship. And in seminars we will explore how the image of God connects to race, class and gender, and what that means for the life and witness of the church.

Book for the School of Theology 2019, and find the programme on these links:

Book here! School of Theology 2019

School of Theology 2019 programme

Whether or not you came last year, we've made all the sessions available on audio and video, so you can catch up or refresh on them here:

School of Theology 2018 page

Plenary sessions

The School of Theology includes three plenary sessions, plus a choice of three seminars. In outline, the plenary sessions are:

Session 1: Humanity in culture

Kristi Mair

‘What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us sapiens?’ Those are the questions at the heart of Yuval Noah Harari's bestselling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Conflicting answers to those questions abound. We are taught to think of ourselves as God-like creators of our own identities, and as cogs in a wheel; as people whose lives are suffused with meaning in a universe that is indifferent and cold. Our first session will help us see how the tangled web of stories we tell about ourselves has taken root in our lives and churches; and it will prepare us to tell the better story of a humanity made in God's image.

Session 2: Humanity in theology

Chris Stead

Francis Schaeffer once said, 'This indeed is no age to be soft on the Christian view of man'. He said that not because he sought theological conflict, but because he saw the terrible cost of treating human beings as gods or machines. In the same spirit, Chris Stead will be tracing out a doctrine of humanity that will help us model and communicate the biblical vision of humanity made in God's image. In particular, we will focus on questions of personhood and value and their implications for the vulnerable in the church and society.

Session 3: Humanity in ministry

Matthew Bingham

Inescapably, our anthropology shapes our pastoral practice. What we think people are will affect how we pray and plan to help them grow. Are people brains-on-sticks in need of a Sunday morning information transfer? Are they hearts-on-sticks in need of something more holistic to engage their affections? And what place does the body have in all this? Have we neglected the formative power of liturgy and ritual? The work of James K. A. Smith and others has recently provoked fresh debate on how head, heart, and hands relate in discipleship. In our final session, Matthew Bingham will help us get a handle on those debates and reflect on our pastoral care of human beings, made in God's image.

Seminar sessions

Participants in the School of Theology are able to attend two of the three seminar sessions, which take place between plenary sessions 2 and 3. These are:

Images of God and race, with Felix Aremo

Images of God and class, with Duncan Forbes

Images of God and gender, with Matt Lillicrap

We’re delighted to welcome back three former Oak Hill students to lead our seminars. Read more about them here.

Racism and class prejudice are failures to recognise the image of God in all those who bear it. They blight our society, and in a variety of ways disfigure the witness of the church to the nature and reach of the gospel. They are also complex and often heated issues in a culture which knows little of genuine repentance and forgiveness, generating a heady mix of self-defensiveness, victimhood, and hostility. In light of all that, we want to nurture a better discussion.  Felix Aremo and Duncan Forbes are leading seminars on race and class respectively. Both seminars will reflect on the significance of the image of God to these issues and the implications for our evangelism and discipleship.

The idea that human beings were created male and female used to be among the least controversial in the Bible. As we all know, however, it has rapidly come to be seen as a meaningless or oppressive claim in a culture that denies any difference between the sexes, and which claims the freedom to self-define. In light of these challenges, Matt Lillicrap will be equipping us to understand and proclaim both the truth and the goodness of human beings, male and female, made in God's image.

Optional meal out together

You'll also have the opportunity to gather for a group meal at a local restaurant on the Tuesday evening. We will make a block booking at a local restaurant and confirm details nearer the time, so at this stage, when booking your place, please indicate whether you are interested in joining this meal together.

Language Refreshers for Ministry

Following the School of Theology, we are offering Language Refreshers for Ministry on Wednesday and Thursday 10 and 11 July, with a choice of Greek or Hebrew. Participants will spend two days covering the language they have chosen, with a particular focus on using Greek or Hebrew for teaching and preaching. Find out about the Language Refreshers here.


There is limited accommodation available at Oak Hill on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Please book for accommodation when you book your place.


School of Theology (Regular attendee): £35

School of Theology (Placement supervisor): £25

Language refresher: £80

Overnight accommodation: £25 per night

Closing date for bookings

The closing date for bookings is Monday 10 June at 5pm. Full payment is required at the time of booking.

Book here! School of Theology 2019

Cancellations and refunds

Please note our policy for cancellations and refunds:

Cancel up to and including 10 June 2019: 100% refund

Cancel 11-23 June 2019: 50% refund

Cancel from 24 June 2019 onwards: no refund


If you have any queries about this event, or your booking, please email us here.

Book your place

To book your place for Why Get Ordained? please use the form below. If you have any queries about the day, please contact Clare Osborne by email or on 020 8449 0467 (ext 232).

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