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Kreider to speak on the early church in Bethel Bible Lectures

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A long-time mission worker in England and a college and seminary lecturer and professor will give the 2011 Bible Lectures at Bethel College.

Alan Kreider, Elkhart, Ind., will present “Learning from the Early Church” Sunday, Oct. 23, and Monday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. and 11 a.m., respectively. Both lectures will be held in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center on the Bethel campus and are free and open to the public.

Kreider will speak Sunday on “Learning from the Early Church: Mission and Peace” and Monday on “Taking the Plunge: A Stark View.” The latter will consist of Kreider’s reflections on The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark and the New Testament book of Acts, the major texts for this year’s senior capstone class at Bethel, Basic Issues of Faith and Life.

Alan Kreider was professor of church history and mission at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind., where he taught from 1999 until his retirement in 2007. From 1974-2000, he and his wife, Eleanor, were mission workers in England, where they transformed the London Mennonite Centre into a teaching and resource center on Christian discipleship in the Anabaptist tradition, urban mission and conflict mediation.

While in England, Alan Kreider served as director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at Regent's Park College, Oxford University; as an itinerant preacher and speaker; and as a teacher at Oxford University and the University of Manchester.

Alan and Eleanor Kreider have travelled within North America and abroad as mission educators for Mennonite Mission Network, teaching in Australia, England, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, as well as across the United States and Canada. Together, they authored the recent book Worship and Mission after Christendom (Herald Press, 2011), as well as Becoming a Peace Church (New Ground, 2000), which was translated into Korean in 2003.

Another recent book, Forming Christian Habits in Post-Christendom: The Legacy of Alan and Eleanor Kreider (edited by James Krabill and Stuart Murray, co-published by Herald Press and the Institute of Mennonite Studies, 2011) honors the teaching and writing the Kreiders have done for almost four decades.

One of Alan Kreider’s first books, Journey Towards Holiness: A Way of Living for God’s People (Herald Press, 1987), was recognized as book of the year by The Other Side magazine and given the Silver Angel award by Religion in the Media. Journey Towards Holiness was translated into Japanese in 2001.

Among Kreider’s many other publications are A Culture of Peace: God’s Vision for the Church (Good Books, 2005; translated into German in 2008), coauthored with Eleanor Kreider and Paulus Widjaja; The Origins of Christendom in the West as editor and contributor (T&T Clark, 2001); Christianity and the Culture of Economics (University of Wales Press, 2001), co-edited with Donald Hay; Coming Home: Stories of Anabaptists in Britain and Ireland (Pandora Press, 2000), co-edited with Stuart Murray; and The Change of Conversion and the Origin of Christendom (Trinity Press International,1999).

Kreider is a graduate of Goshen (Ind.) College. He studied at Princeton University, Heidelberg University and the University of London, and earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1971. He also taught at Goshen College from 1968-1973.

Kreider has given numerous lectures, including the Menno Simons Lectures at Bethel College in 2001, the Staley Lectures at Goshen College (1987 and 2001), the Schrag Lectures and Sider Peace Lectures at Messiah College, Grantham, Pa. (2001, 2007) and the Believers Church Lectures at Fresno (Calif.) Pacific University (2002). He was a preacher at the Mennonite World Conference assembly in Calcutta in 1997.

Alan and Eleanor Kreider are the parents of a son, Andrew, and grandparents of three. They attend Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart.

The Bible Lecture Series is an occasional series that has been given at Bethel College since 1914. Since 1951, the series has been endowed by the Hartzler Foundation, established by Dr. and Mrs. John Ellsworth Hartzler. J.E. Hartzler was president of Bethel College from 1920-21 and was himself a Bible Lecturer in 1961. The lectures relate to subjects of general biblical, historical, theological and philosophical interest.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2011-12 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2011-12. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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