The 2009 Caulkins Lectureship series, titled, “The Poison of Subjectivism: C.S. Lewis on Conviction in a Convictionless Age,” was passionately delivered by guest speaker and theologian, Dr. Christopher Mitchell. Hundreds of Corban students, along with Salem area guests, attended the three lectures given in the Psalm Performing Arts Center from March 2-4. Mitchell articulated the deadly danger of faulty thinking that dominates Western culture, countering the postmodern positions with an enlightened argument for human freedom through Jesus Christ, the source of life.
Mitchell is internationally recognized for his scholarship on C.S. Lewis. A professor of Christian thought at Wheaton College (Ill.), Mitchell also serves as Director of the Marion E. Wade Center, an acclaimed repository and research facility for the writings of Lewis and other noted British authors, including J. R. R. Tolkien and G. K. Chesterton.
The series addressed, in three parts, C.S. Lewis’s publication The Abolition of Man. The first lecture, “Men Without Chests,” was presented on Monday to a full house during the campus chapel service. The second lecture, “The Way,” was presented Tuesday evening. John Scott, a professor of history at Corban, reported that the evening lecture saw three times more attendees compared to previous years’ events. The wrap-up of the series, “The Abolition of Man,” was a compelling argument for rejecting the view of humanity as “machines made out of meat.” Instead Mitchell persuaded to embrace the objective rights and responsibilities humans share as “image bearers” of God.
Professor Scott and the other members of the Caulkins Lecture Series Committee brought Mitchell to campus so students could be engaged by Lewis’s profound ideas as well as Mitchell’s own expert analyses of the human condition. “That’s what college is all about,” said Scott, who also suggested the lectures “raised the bar” intellectually.
Mitchell commented that he was impressed with Corban’s students. He felt warmly received and hopes to come again in the future. “I found Corban students to be alert and engaging,” he observes. “I wish I would have had more time with them.”