Believing into Christ: Relational Faith and Human Flourishing

Date(s) - 01/22/2022
9:30 am - 11:00 am


Believing into Christ: Relational Faith and Human Flourishing
Fourteenth Schubert M. Ogden Seminar on Systematic Theology
Saturday, January 22 , 9:30 am to 11:00 am (Central Time; plus recorded lectures to be viewed prior to the sessions.)

In her book by this title and in the video lecture to be viewed prior to this interactive seminar, Dr. Natalya Cherry explores this unique, grammatically awkward phrase that Augustine identified in his preaching as describing Christianity’s distinct contribution to human flourishing. Cherry tracks the origins of “believing into Christ” and its loss in translation, from Augustine’s systematization of a three-part formula for belief that his theological successors treated as defining Christian faith, up to today. The interactive session will consider how to restore the phrase and all it entails, transforming religious instruction and sacramental practices that can equip believers to overcome oppression and social barriers in contemporary churches and the world.  Many wonder, how can one believe in a loving God while being complicit with, or actively participating in, systems of violence and oppression? The relational sense of belief animates Christian faith as resistance against those systems.

Natalya Cherry joined Brite Divinity School in 2018 as Assistant Professor in Methodist Studies and Theology upon earning a PhD in Religious Studies (Systematic Theology) from SMU. She is an ordained Elder in the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church. There she pastored local churches from 2001-2013 after serving on ministry staffs of Bethesda UMC (Maryland) and Metropolitan Memorial UMC (Washington, DC).  In addition to her book, her writing is found in the Canvas curriculum (Abingdon, 2018); articles in issues of Methodist History, Wesleyan Theological Journal, Wesley and Methodist Studies, and Religions; entries in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church 4e (Oxford, 2021); and an invited chapter in The Wesleyan Mind (Routledge, 2022). She has been awarded a Manchester Wesley Research Center Visiting Research Fellowship for summer 2022 to work on a new kind of biography of John Wesley she is co-authoring with Ted Campbell.  She hopes to bring with her to England her spouse, Paul, and teen son, Gregory, with whom she resides in Fort Worth.