Posted by: Titus Presler | October 5, 2010

“Mission in the Shadow of 9/11” is theme of 2010 Presler Lecture Titus to deliver at Louisville Seminary Oct. 21

“Mission in the Shadow of 9/11: Thinking Witness a Decade Later” is the topic of the annual mission lecture that Titus Presler will deliver at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary on Thursday, 21 October 2010.

In elaborating on the topic, Presler wrote:

The shadow cast by 9/11 on Afghanistan, Iraq and Muslim-Christian relations extends to common reflexes about inter-religious mission as well.  How should such competing claims as secularization and religious extremism affect our theology of mission?  The Taliban’s massacre of Christian missionaries in Afghanistan and the debate about the so-called Ground Zero mosque are only the most recent signs of hardening stances amid many calls for respectful dialogue.  In this lecture I will suggest how 9/11 and its aftermaths can focus thinking about Christian witness in the 21st century.

This year’s lecture is the fifth Henry and Marion Presler Lecture on Christian World Mission, an annual series established as a result of a bequest made by the elder Preslers, who spent their ministries as missionaries of the United Methodist Church in India, where they served from 1937 until retirement in 1972.  Henry spent the first two of his seminary years at Louisville.  Although he became a Methodist and then moved to Boston University School of Theology, he always retained a strong affection for Louisville Seminary.  The bequest to Louisville was prompted in part by a reengagement in his later years with the Calvinism of his early life.  Henry went on to glory in 1998 at the age of 89, Marion in 2005 at the age of 93.

“As the youngest of Henry and Marion Presler’s five children,” Titus said, “it is a privilege to offer the 2010 lecture established in their name at Louisville Seminary.”  The elder Preslers spent the bulk of their ministry, from 1940 on, in teaching and research at Leonard Theological College in Jabalpur.  An account of their life and ministry, “The Mission Legacy of Henry and Marion Presler,” is available online.

The Presler Mission Lecture was inaugurated in 2006 with an address. “The Great Commission and Global Christianity in the 21st Century,” by Dr. Dana Robert, Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Mission at Boston University School of Theology, from which Henry H. Presler received his S.T.B. degree in 1936.  Dana Robert was also dissertation adviser to Titus Presler for the Th.D. degree in mission and New Testament he received from Boston in 1995.

2007 lecturer was Dr. Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi, Professor of World Christianity at Columbia Theological Seminary, on the theme, “Mission Impossible? Faith at the Crossroad of People and Religion.”  The  2008 lecturer was the Rev. Alice Winters, who spoke on the theme “Goels for Colombia,” from the perspective of her 30 years of accompaniment mission with the suffering people of Colombia, where she was Professor of Bible and Biblical Languages in the School of Theology of the Reformed University of Colombia.  Goel is a Hebrew word for “kin,” which Winters used to highlight the importance of ministering as committed companions in mission.

2009 featured two linked lectures.  “The New Mission Worker” and “The New Mission” were the themes of the two lectures that constituted the fourth annual Henry and Marion Presler Lecture on Christian World Mission and the George and Jean Edwards Lecture on Peacemaking, respectively, on Oct. 22 at Louisville.  While the lectureships stem from separate endowments, the complementary themes, the married relation of the year’s lecturers, and the fact they recently published a missiological book together on mission and world religions brought them into tandem in the 2009 lectures.

“The New Mission Worker” was the evening theme of Dr. Frances S. Adeney, the William A. Benfield Jr. Professor of Evangelism and Global Missions at Louisville Seminary.  “The New Mission” was the morning theme of Dr. Terry C. Muck, Dean of the E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism and Professor of Missions and World Religions at Asbury Theological Seminary.   Together they have published Christianity Encountering World Religions: The Practice of Mission in the Twenty-first Century (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2009). Strictly speaking, Adeney was the Presler Lecturer  and Muck the Edwards Lecturer.



  1. […] who served 35 years as United Methodist missionaries in theological education in India.  Click here for more details about them and the […]

  2. Well, I certainly hope there will be a recording of this – or a transcript.

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