Summer Institute is an enjoyable and informative time to experience Gutenberg by sharing meals, discussing the works of influential thinkers, and listening to speakers from the Gutenberg community. We hope you can join us for Summer Institute 2022!

July 28-30
Stories of Conversion

Since its beginning, a prominent aspect of Christianity has been the conversion narrative. Sometimes dramatic, sometimes mundane, these accounts tell the stories of how particular individuals committed their lives to Christ. For the 2022 Summer Institute, we will read several of these accounts from throughout history, and we will think about how these stories of particular people living in contexts that differ from our own might nevertheless impact our thinking now. What should we do with the inescapably personal aspects of these stories—can they still speak to someone who is considering Christianity? How can these stories provide encouragement to those who have been Christians for a while already? Is having a conversion experience necessary for being a Christian? Join us July 28-30 for discussions, talks, and food, as we contemplate together these stories of conversion.

We will look at readings from Augustine, Jonathan Edwards, C.S. Lewis, and the New Testament. Stay tuned for more details.

Sign Up for Conference Update Emails


Discussions and Lectures

Gutenberg College Summer Institutes are an opportunity to explore a topic while getting some of the “Gutenberg” experience. That is, we discuss readings from important works in our culture and also listen to talks related to the topic. The presenters/discussion leaders are listed below.

Discussion Readings

(A reading packet will be provided.)

Confessions by Augustine
A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God by Jonathan Edwards
Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis
The Gospel of John and Acts of the Apostles


Brian Julian

Brian Julian

(Learn More)

Coming to God for Personal Reasons

Conversion stories often turn on reasoning that is personal. The protagonists fight against obstacles arising from their past and personality, and they come to belief for reasons rooted in their circumstances. Is this rational or arbitrary? Is it thinking we should emulate or avoid? Using Augustine and others as examples, we will look at the nature of personal reasoning and the way that these stories with their individual aspects can bring encouragement to us all.

Nancy Scott

Nancy Scott

(Learn More)

Edwards and the Great Awakening: What Happened?

The Great Awakening was a truly remarkable moment in the early history of our country. In this talk, we will consider the work of God in culture and in individuals and how we understand such a mass conversion alongside stories of those whose individual lives were changed. We will also consider the role of perseverance in the faith and how we can understand this mysterious and inspiring moment in the work of God.

Chris Alderman

Chris Alderman

(Learn More)

“Into the Bright Shadow”: Experiences of Christian Conversion

Few of us can point to the divine revelation, miraculous healing, or out-of-body experience that played the decisive role in our conversion. To be sure, spectacular experiences like these can have profound, life-changing effects on people—not to mention make for great scenes in Hollywood movies—but what else might count as an experience? And what kind of experience counts with God? In this talk, we shall consider the nature and significance of the particular “conversion experience” in the life of the believer and what this might entail for our understanding of Christian conversion in general.

Charley Dewberry

Charley Dewberry

(Learn More)

Conversion as a Milestone Event in Our Christian Journey

This lecture will begin by placing conversion in the context of a Christian’s journey from birth to the completion of our journey in the next age. Then we will look at some biblical examples of conversions, including Paul’s conversion on the Damascus Road and some examples from the book of John, with an eye to better understanding conversion.

Institute Details


Thursday night, July 28, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Friday night, July 29, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 30, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Gutenberg College
1883 University Street
Eugene, OR 97403


(In person: includes dinner on Friday night; continental breakfast on Saturday morning; and lunch on Saturday):

Before July 1: $85 (Individual); $115 (Family); $40 (Student);
July 2 and after: $100 (Individual); $130 (Family); $45 (Student)
Zoom option (talks & discussion): $50 (Individual); $65 (Family); $25 (Student)

* Financial Aid: Limited financial aid packages are available for those who wish to attend. If you wish to apply, please contact the office.
* Volunteer opportunities: We can also offer reduced costs for volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, please contact the office.


Rooms may be available at Gutenberg College. To inquire, please contact the office.


Thursday Night
5:30-6:15 Check-in
6:15-6:30 Welcome
6:30-8:00 Discussion of Reading One: Confessions by Augustine
8:00-8:15 Break
8:15-9:00 Lecture One: Brian Julian, “Coming to God for Personal Reasons”
Friday Night
5:00-6:00 Dinner
6:00-7:30 Discussion of Reading Two: A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God by Jonathan Edwards
7:30-7:45 Break
7:45-8:30 Lecture Two: Nancy Scott, “Edwards and the Great Awakening: What Happened?”
8:30-9:00 Continental Breakfast
9:00-10:30 Discussion of Reading Three: Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-11:30 Lecture Three: Chris Alderman, “‘Into the Bright Shadow’: Experiences of Christian Conversion”
11:30-12:30 Lunch & Opportunity to Share Conversion Stories
12:30-2:00 Discussion of Reading Four: New Testament Readings from Acts, Mark, and John
2:00-2:15 Break
2:15-3:00 Lecture Four: Charley Dewberry, “Conversion as a Milestone Event in Our Christian Journey”
3:00-3:30 Q & A


Previous Summer Institute Topics:

2021: The Meaning of the City: Rebellion and Redemption
2020: Struggle & Hope
2019: Tribes and Truth: What Happened to Civil Discourse?
2018: Are We All Reading the Same Bible?
2017: Meaning and Flourishing in a Secular Age (audio)
2016: How to Build a Bridge
2015: Reunion: Tanakh and the Gospel of Matthew (audio)
2014: What We Have Learned (audio)
2013: How To Follow Jesus When You Cannot Kill the Beast (audio)
2012: What the BLEEP Can We Know? (audio) and The Problem of Evil (audio)
2010: Democracy: A User’s Manual (audio)
2009: Paychecks, Politics & Paradigms (audio)
2007: Søren Kierkegaard (audio)
2006: Faith & Science (audio)
2005: Disenculturating the Gospel (audio)
2004: Making Sense of the Bible (audio)
2003: Postmodernism, Reason, and the Church (audio)
2002: Christianity & Culture