The FEUER Academic Speakers' Network hosts an annual conference to envision and equip Christian academics for the public commendation of the gospel in European universities.
Speakers engage in the big questions of their field in such a way as to demonstrate the relevance and credibility of Christianity, centring on the person and work of Christ himself.
Following the example of John Lennox, our primary focus is the opportunity afforded by public events and dialogues.
These allow local Christian Unions to access university venues and reach sceptics who may not otherwise investigate Christianity, who can then make contact with ongoing outreach activity through our sister network, the FEUER Evangelists of IFES Europe.
The conferences work on a 'by invitation only' basis, following recommendations from IFES movements and peers.
It is such an honour . . . to be invited again to address what I regard as one of the most important conferences in the world."
– Prof John Lennox, opening remarks at the FEUER Academic Speakers' Network conference, November 2020.
The overall goal of the conference is to equip Christian academics to make use of the opportunities they have in and through their work in the university to give lectures, dialogues or TED-style talks that are organised in partnership with local evangelical student groups and which draw on their area of expertise and promote the relevance and credibility of a Christian worldview.
HOW WE GOT STARTED
In the 1960s a Cambridge undergraduate was forced to defend his faith in the face of opposition from his professors.
Little did John Lennox imagine that he would do so on the global stage and in 2008 engage prominent atheist Richard Dawkins in public debate.
Without any profile John served from Cardiff to Eastern Europe through the Iron Curtain, and even in Russia. Gradually through platforms especially in Europe with IFES and in the USA he set an example for faithful, academic, evangelistic witness.
Lindsay Brown then invited John Lennox and Tim Laurence to establish the academic speakers' network in partnership with the FEUER Evangelists. This enabled younger academics to learn from the faithful and winsome public evangelistic witness which John had been practising and honing for decades.
Gatherings of up to 45 academics per time have been held in Italy, Czech Republic, Spain, Romania, Greece, and online – serving over 100 different network members from 22 European countries - each time with the academics meeting in parallel with the larger FEUER evangelists' conference, so that speakers can be linked up with speaking opportunities.
Each newcomer is encouraged to hear how John Lennox himself began – with one practice talk, and asking for peer feedback. This is at the heart of our conference model.
In more than four decades of my Christian ministry on university I have not experienced such a well-balanced, condensed, and practical conference to train new academic evangelists in their future involvement."
– Hans-Joachim Hahn, Assistant Professor University of Economics and Business in Munich, Germany, founder and coordinator of the Professors’ Forum, and national director of Campus for Christ in Germany 1985-1989.
APPLICATION AND INVITATION PROCESS
This is an invitation-only conference. Since we have a very limited number of places, we work very hard to bring together Christian academics who are doing post-doctoral research or who lecture in universities across a range of academic disciplines and cultures and whom the local IFES movement (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) is able to invite as a speaker at their evangelistic events.
The usual invitation process starts with individuals who have been recommended to us receiving an email which asks them to fill in an application form. We then review the application forms, and send out registration forms to successful applicants. Once that form is filled in and a fee is paid, the individual is registered.