Tuesday, January 15, 2019

P. J. Williams to Give Cooley Lecture at Gordon-Conwell

At the end of this month, Peter Williams is set to give the Cooley Lecture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte) on a topic that will be of interest to our readers. Here is the info from the brochure.

Can We Know the Exact Words of God? 

Peter J. Williams
Principal of Tyndale House in Cambridge
January 24–25, 2019

About the Event 

These lectures engage with some of the most common questions asked by those seeking a solid grasp of an evangelical doctrine of Scripture. They argue that God can be correctly described as having given us books, which are made up of specific verbal sequences, which are in turn made up of specific words.

Schedule and Location 

Patrons’ Reception: Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 6:00 PM – Room 122A
Lecture: 7:00 PM each evening – Room 219

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
14542 Choate Circle
Charlotte, NC 28273-9103

For any questions concerning the lecture events, please contact Mark Poe at mpoe@gordonconwell.edu or 704-435-6408.

Lecture 1 (January 24) 

Can we know the exact words of Scripture? Evangelical Christians hold Scripture to be their supreme authority. Evangelicals often identify their supreme authority as the ‘original text’ of the Bible. But haven’t the originals been lost? Isn’t it problematic to adhere to a non-existent authority? And how are we to decide which text to follow when manuscripts disagree? What are we to do when a New Testament quotation seems to differ radically from the Old Testament text it is quoting? This lecture will argue that the classic evangelical understanding of Scripture is robust today and is able to deal with the data of the manuscripts. However, one of the main risks to evangelicals comes through widespread misunderstanding of what they believe. Lazy thinking and confused use of terminology represent major threats to the spread of evangelical approaches today.

Lecture 2 (January 25) 

Can we know the exact words of Jesus? For Christians the teachings of Jesus hold a key place within their supreme authority. But if he taught in Aramaic and we have his words only in Greek, aren’t Christians cut off from their supreme source? Haven’t Jesus’s words been corrupted during transmission to us? Has the church been corrupted by Greek culture and ideas away from its original Semitic identity? This lecture explores various contemporary claims which stress the distance between us and the teaching of Jesus and argues that we can have reliable knowledge of the teaching of Jesus today

For a list of past Cooley lectures from speakers that include Dan Wallace and Mike Holmes, see here.


  1. Can I access these online?

    1. I personally am not sure, but fyi Peter Williams has a book that seems to cover more or less the same material (https://www.amazon.com/Can-Trust-Gospels-Peter-Williams/dp/1433552957/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1547753138&sr=8-1&keywords=can+we+trust+the+gospels+peter+williams).