In recent years Lethbridge has watched the local Roman Catholic community in tension with Bishop Henry over who has authority to make decisions around the life and future of that parish. This public debate raises important questions: Should the Roman Catholic Church be more democratic? What about other denominations - are they more democratic?

If a church draws its energy and vision from revelation (the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the traditions of the larger Church) how can it be democratic? Would modern churches be far healthier if they were democratic? What is meant by “democracy” and what would that look like in the life of churches?

The speaker will be exploring these and more questions as he looks at authority in Christian churches, and whether democracy has any place in the life of organized religion.

Speaker: Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Lethbridge, where he has taught courses in the history of Christianity and in Greek language for the last twenty-six years. His primary research is in Christianity and Judaism in the Roman Empire and in new religious movements in the early 1900s. His latest books are: Ignatius of Antioch and the Parting of the Ways: Early Jewish-Christian Relations (Baker Academic, 2009) and (with Lanette Ruff) Out of the Mouths of Babes: Girl Evangelists in the Flapper Era (Oxford University Press, 2012).

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