By Les Hardin
The Stone-Campbell Journal Student Paper Competition provides students opportunities to grow in their studies and thought. According to coordinator of the competition, Les Hardin (Johnson University Florida), "Every budding scholar needs a safe place to lay out theological ideas, have those ideas tested by peers and mentors, and participate in the scholarly conversation. Ideas may not always stand up under scrutiny, but having a safe place to test them is integral to the growth process. Judges often provide constructive feedback to students, showing that they aren’t interested in solely evaluating papers but are concerned to mentor students."
Thirteen papers were submitted for the paper competition this year, in both graduate and undergraduate divisions, representing eight different schools, including Johnson University, Ozark Christian College, Emmanuel School of Religion, Asbury Seminary, Lincoln Christian University, Pepperdine University, Harding School of Theology, and Brite Divinity School.
This year Ryan Shirck (Emmanuel Christian Seminary) won the graduate division with his paper "Time Did Not Fail Me: Analyzing the Epistle to the Hebrews through its Use of Temporal Terminology" (Sponsor: Rollin Ramsaran). Kory Eastvold (Lincoln Christian University) won the undergraduate division with his paper "The Audience and Circumstances of Paul’s Letter to the Romans" (Sponsor: Peter Verkruyse).
For the first year the winners were awarded a $2500 scholarships good at ten seminaries and graduate schools associated with the Stone-Campbell Movement, including Abilene Christian, Austin Graduate School, Brite Divinity School, Emmanuel Christian Seminary, Harding Graduate School of Theology, Hope International University, Johnson University, Lexington Theological Seminary, Lincoln Christian Seminry, and Phillips Theological Seminary.
In addition, they received a free one-year membership in Stone-Campbell Scholars Community, which includes a one-year subscription to SCJ and free access to SCJ archives. They also received free registration to the 2017 SCJ Conference, plus a donation of books from participating publishers, including Baker and Zondervan.
The winners were chosen from three finalists in their respective divisions, each presenting their entries at the conference. Graduate finalists included: Nathan Myers, (Harding University), “Animal Ethics in Torah” (Sponsor: Mark Powell), and Aaron Woods (Emmanuel), “Jeremiah 29 and the So-Called Jeremianic Turn: A Reading of Jeremiah 29:1-23 as a Diasporic Ethic” (Sponsor: Jason Bembry). Undergraduate division finalists included: Henry Boyd (Ozark Christian College), “The Eschatological Cyrus: Exploring 539 B.C. Imagery and What to Do With Revelation 18” (Sponsor: Tom Lawson) and Timothy Shenkin (Hope International University), “The Lucan Satan: God’s Prosecutorial Agent” (Sponsor: Joe Grana). These finalists also received a free one-year membership in Stone-Campbell Scholars Community.
John Kern of Abilene Christian University provided the winning paper for the 2016 Isaac Errett Award competition held in connection with the 2016 SCJ Conference. The paper is titled: “The Spirit Blows Where It Wills . . . But only Through the Word of God? Debates in the Firm Foundation Over the Charismatic Movement of the 1960s.” The $250 prize, provided by the Disciples of Christ Historical Society, was presented during the conference.
The Kern and Schirck papers have also been accepted as articles in Stone-Campbell Journal. Kern’s will appear appear in SCJ 19.2 (Fall, 2016) and Shirck’s will appear in SCJ 20.1 (Spring, 2017).