The Sprunt Lectures at Union Presbyterian Seminary were begun in 1911 through a generous gift by James Sprunt of Wilmington, North Carolina, to bring speakers of outstanding quality to the seminary to discuss aspects of Christian thought and work. One object of the Sprunt Lectures from the very beginning was to add to the body of Christian literature. The breadth and depth of past lectures and subsequent publications hint at the benefits which have accrued from the wisdom and vision of the individuals who have spoken at the Sprunt Lectures throughout its 101 years.
In 2012 The Rev. Mindy Douglas delivered a Sprunt Lecture entitled The Gospel in Our Time: Why Our Seminaries Have to Keep Doiing What
They’ve Allways Done and Why They Have to Change.
Today’s theological seminary graduates enter into ministry in a vastly different religious and cultural landscape than the one their parents and grandparents knew. Technology, globalization, immigration, communication, ease of travel, and increased cultural diversity have changed the way people experience the world. Over the last twenty years, while the world has changed exponentially, the church has, for the most part, remained the same. Why is this? And what can be done about it? What role do our institutions of theological education play in helping the church catch up with the world? What new models for ministry and education might allow church leaders to share the message of the gospel and care for God’s children in ways that aren’t just new and different, but are also culturally and theologically relevant and responsive to the yearnings of young and old alike for community, service, ritual, integrity and authenticity?