News and Events
66th Annual Bible Lectures Brings Over 300 Presenters to Malibu Campus
A robust schedule of lectures, classes, presentations, performances, and conversations are in store at this, the 66th annual Bible Lectures at Pepperdine University. The four-day event will bring thousands of devoted Christians to the Malibu campus from May 5-8 to participate in the event themed, “The Lord of Creation: The Preeminence of Christ in Colossians."
"Every year the seven main lectures, which are held in Firestone Fieldhouse, are built around a book in the Bible. In my 27 years as director of the Bible Lectures we had never centered our main lectures on Paul's letter to the Colossians, so we chose that book for 2009," explains Jerry Rushford, director of Church Relations at Pepperdine University.
The Pepperdine University Bible Lectures began in January 1943 and have undergone several evolutions over the past 66 years. Initially, they were modeled after similar programs at Abilene Christian, David Lipscomb, and Harding universities. The early 1950s saw a decline in attendance, and no program was scheduled in 1957.
During the years following, with the help of new president M. Norvel Young and dean J. P. Sanders, the Bible lectures experienced a resurgence that required they be moved to the Shrine Auditorium to accommodate the large numbers of attendees. In the following years, the huge Los Angeles Sports Arena became the scene for the largest evening lectures.
The University added a special program of summer Bible Lectures for 10 years beginning in 1958. However, the programs were again declining in attendance by the late 1960s and the summer lectures ended in 1967. When Pepperdine moved to its new campus in Malibu in 1972, there was a renewal of interest in the Bible Lectures. Since that time, the lectures have grown in interest and attendance every year.
This year's theme title, "The Lord of Creation," comes directly from the "Christ Hymn" in 1:15-20 of Colossians. According to this year's lecture team, "The letter to the Colossians may seem brief, but it is packed with eternity and purpose, penetrated by the second person of the Godhead-Jesus Christ our Savior and Master. The letter was written by Paul from prison, and perhaps his lonely hours in chains prompted the apostle to search throughout the universe, throughout all existence, for the ultimate meaning of Christ."
Events begin Tuesday, May 5 with dinner programs at 4:15 p.m., followed by Songfest, a spirited tradition of music in Firestone Fieldhouse. This year's performance features Ken Young and The Hallal Singers from Franklin, Tennessee.
From that point forward, there are hundreds of classes, lectures, luncheons, and performances for participants to choose from. This year there are 300 presenters and speakers who are traveling to Malibu from 37 states across America and from 17 other nations. "The Bible Lectures are increasingly more international in scope, by design," they Bible Lecture team explains. "We want to hear from those who preach and teach in far away places. For God not only spoke and worked in the past, He speaks and works today through His servants around the globe."
The Bible Lectures coincide with the National Day of Prayer, which takes place on May 7. This annual emphasis on prayer, established by Congress, encourages Americans to pray for our nation, its people, and its leaders. The theme for the National Day of Prayer in 2009 is "Prayer ... America's Hope."
Also during this year's Bible Lectures, an art exhibit will be on display from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 5-8 in the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art. Titled, "Portfolio of Creative Work II," the exhibit features drawings, paintings, and photography from members of Pepperdine's Public Affairs team, which is responsible for creating all of the award-winning design work seen around the University. An artist reception will be held from 12 noon - 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 7.
Another favorite tradition of the Bible Lectures is the pie and coffee served by the Associated Women for Pepperdine from 8:30-11 p.m. each evening in the Tyler Campus Center (TCC). This gathering provides time for participants to converse and reflect on the day's events over some homemade dessert.
"A first-time guest can expect to be overwhelmed by the schedule of offerings," says Rick Gibson, associate vice president of public affairs and member of the Bible Lectures team, who recommends that guests build their personal itineraries at www.pepperdine.edu/biblelectures/schedule/planner.htm.
"It would be a shame for a guest to take in many lectures and miss the worship and fellowship or visa versa," Gibson explains. "Its important to pace yourself, and a plan helps you do that."
Gibson, Rushford, and the rest of the Lectures team do acknowledge, however, that the best experiences of the event are typically unscheduled. "Perhaps the most exciting thing about every Bible Lectures program is that we never know what to expect-because it is always in God's hands," the team writes. "With all the turmoil in our nation and the world, with such uncertainty and trepidation, we can be confident that God will comfort and strengthen His people. In that confidence, we warmly welcome you to "The Lord of Creation: The Preeminence of Christ in Colossians."
To find out more about the speakers at this year's Bible Lectures, visit: http://www.pepperdine.edu/biblelectures