Sat 1 - Sun 2 February 2020, Ship Street Conference Centre, Jesus College, Oxford

The first of the two annual conferences, Christianity and the Life of the Mind offers an introduction to the relationship between Christian doctrines and academic disciplines.

*The 2020 conference registration and programme will be available later this year. We have kept up last year’s programme for your reference.

*Please note eligibility criteria: This event is for University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes postgraduates, postdocs, and academic staff, or
by request


We do not want the cost of the conference to prevent anyone from attending. Please contact us at if you would like to enquire about conference bursaries.



2019 Programme

Along with talks, the day will include prayer, discussion sessions, morning coffee and tea, lunch, and afternoon coffee and tea.

Saturday 26 January 2019

9:00 a.m. Registration, coffee, & croissants

9:30 a.m. The discipleship of the mind: reflections on integrating faith and scholarship - Alister McGrath (Theology and Religion)

This lecture explores the rich intellectual vision which arises from the Christian faith and how it informs our thinking about ourselves and our world. After interacting with leading Christian thinkers such as G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis, the lecture considers the importance of the discipleship of the mind and how Christian graduates and academics can think about their roles in the academy and church.

10:15 a.m. The calling of Christian postgrad students and academics - Ard Louis (Theoretical Physics)

Based on his own academic career and experience with postgraduate ministry in several countries, Dr Ard Louis will discuss the main themes of the conference in the light of questions such as: What does our calling to be disciples of Christ mean for our academic vocation (whether temporary as students or longer term as a career)? What are some of the promises and pitfalls of the scholarly life? How can academics and postgraduate students serve and relate to the wider body of Christ (the Church)?

11:00 a.m. Coffee & tea

11:30 a.m. Discussion

12:15 p.m. The doctrine of creation and the science of nature – Katherine Blundell (Astrophysics)

‘Creation’ is often thought of as only addressing the first moments of the universe, or the first chapters of the Bible. This talk will go beyond ‘creation’ as an issue of origins, and will explore how the natural sciences inform a broader set of theological concepts surrounding creation, both now and in the past.

1:00 p.m. Sandwich lunch

2:00 p.m. What does it mean to be human? - Elaine Storkey (Philosophy and Sociology)

This lecture discusses how the Christian understanding of the human being steers a course between individualism and collectivism, between fatalism and personal freedom, between materialism and ‘idealism’; and how its personal and communitarian understanding of the human being is grounded in the Trinitarian God.

2:45 p.m. Discussion

3:30 p.m. Coffee & tea

4:00 p.m. Panel discussion: Faith and scholarship – Jane Green (Politics), Donald Hay (Economics), Rebekah Vince (French Studies, Warwick), and others, chaired by Mary Louis (Business)

5:10 p.m. Prayer led by Glenn Nesbitt (St Ebbe’s Church)

5:30 p.m. Day closing

Subject to availability: Dinners hosted in homes with academics across Oxford


Sunday 27 January 2019

9:00 a.m. Coffee & croissants

9:30 a.m. Devotional reflection on faith and the academic life – Jonathan Brant (Theology)

10:00 a.m. What went wrong with humankind? John Gallacher (Psychiatry)

The social sciences in particular have implicit or explicit convictions about what is wrong with the world, and many individual scholars are driven by the desire to improve society and to alleviate suffering. How do these understandings relate to the Christian understanding of sin and evil?

10:45 a.m. Discussion

11:15 a.m. Coffee & tea

11:45 a.m. Looking to the future: Christian living and scholarship in light of the world to come - Michael Lloyd (Theology and Religion)

Where you think we’re headed will shape what you think we’re for. And what you think we’re for will shape how you live in the meantime. So eschatology is foundational for meaning, ethics and hope. This talk indicates how the eschatological redemption affirms, challenges and directs the lives of Christians generally, and their vocations as scholars specifically.

12:30 p.m. Concluding with a sandwich lunch




Ship Street Conference Centre
Jesus College, University of Oxford
Ship St



The Developing a Christian Mind conferences are put on with the kind support of Hymns Ancient & Modern.