The Rev. Dr. Dennis N. Voskuil, who in addition to being president of Hope College is a theologian with an emphasis in church history, will bring Martin Luther to life through the presentation “Here I Stand: A Conversation with Martin Luther” on Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 4:30 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall through the college’s Presidential Colloquium lecture series.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
The event will be an imaginative trip back to 1517, during which Voskuil, in the persona of Martin Luther, will discuss Luther’s conviction that salvation comes by faith alone. The presentation will be taking place on Reformation Day itself, which this year is the 500th anniversary of the date on which Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation by delivering his 95 theses criticizing aspects of church practice and doctrine to the Archbishop of Mainz.
Voskuil, who began his two-year interim presidency at Hope earlier this year, led Western Theological Seminary as president and taught church history there from 1994 to 2008, and continued to teach as the Marvin and Jerene De Witt Professor of Church History from 2008 to 2014.
He was a member of Hope’s religion faculty from 1977 to 1994. He held the college’s Evert J. and Hattie E. Blekkink Professorship from 1992 to 1994.
Voskuil became a senior research fellow with the college’s A.C. Van Raalte Institute in 2014, and directed the institute from 2015 until becoming Hope’s president in July.
Voskuil’s publications have included essays for several books on religion in America and articles in the “Reformed Review,” “Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought” and the “Church Herald.” His essay “The Vexed Question: Hope College and Theological Education in the West” is in the 2007 book “A Goodly Heritage: Essays in Honor of the Reverend Dr. Elton J. Bruins at Eighty,” edited by Dr. Jacob E. Nyenhuis and published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. as part of the Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America. He is also the author of the 1983 book “Mountains into Gold Mines: Robert Schuller and the Gospel of Success.”
Prior to joining the Hope faculty, he had served churches in Watertown, Massachusetts, and Kalamazoo, and while at Hope he was interim senior pastor of Third Reformed Church in Holland for two years. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1966, his B.D. at Western Theological Seminary in 1969 and his doctorate at Harvard University in 1974.
The Oct. 31 presentation culminates a month-long series of public events hosted in a variety of community locations and organized by a planning committee comprised of members from the Christian Reformed, Reformed Church, Lutheran and Roman Catholic traditions. The second-to-last event will be a community-wide worship service on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 5 p.m. at Christ Memorial Church with preaching by John Witvliet. More information about the activities is available online.
In addition, Western Theological Seminary will feature the theme “Reformation at 501: Protestant and Catholic Perspectives” on March 12 and 13 with presentations by Dr. Matthew Levering of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake and by Dr. Kevin Vanhoozer of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School through its Osterhaven Lectureship in Theology.
The commemorative events in October and this coming March also follow presentations at Hope College this past spring that included a Reformation-themed concert by the Grand Rapids Symphony and three public lectures through the Presidential Colloquium lecture series addressing the history and impact of the Reformation. More information about the colloquium is available online.
Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.