2016 Paul T. Walls Lecture

Robert Wall, SPU Paul T. Walls Professor of Scripture and Wesleyan Studies, and Cara Wall-Scheffler, associate professor of biology at SPU, are the speakers for this year’s Paul T. Walls Lecture in Wesleyan Theology.

Randy Maddox, Duke Divinity School’s William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, and Wall-Scheffler will continue the conversation in a related panel discussion the following afternoon.

The Evolution of God’s New Creation

Wednesday, May 4, 7 p.m.
First Free Methodist Church sanctuary (adjacent to campus)
3200 Third Avenue West, Seattle

About the Lecture

This lecture is an experiment in looking at the biology of questions raised by the Bible, specifically what it means to be made “new” and what the biology of New Creation might be. After looking at a few key biblical texts, we will investigate how a biologist might approach the problem of newness and the question of the creation of an incorruptible body.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Rob Wall

Robert Wall’s books and articles — whether aimed at other scholars or clergy — originate in the ferment of the university classroom and in conversation with his students and colleagues.

In both his published research and classroom teaching, Dr. Wall approaches the Bible as a sacred text — a “production of the Holy Spirit” — and in a manner that forms a clearer understanding of God for the people of God.

Dr. Wall is an elder of the Free Methodist Church who enjoys an active ecumenical ministry of preaching and teaching adult Bible studies in congregations of various faith traditions.

Dr. Cara Wall-Scheffler

Cara Wall-Scheffler’s research focuses on the evolution of human sexual dimorphism, particularly in the context of balancing the pressures of thermoregulation and long-distance locomotion. She has been working on this problem for more than 10 years and has published numerous papers along with her students.

In addition to her research, Dr. Wall-Scheffler teaches courses in human physiology and evolutionary mechanisms, both on campus and at the Blakely Island Field Station.


Dr. Randy Maddox

Randy Maddox, PhD, is the William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies at Duke Divinity School.

Faith and Science Dialogue in Action

Thursday, May 5, 3 p.m.

About the Panel Discussion

This will be a time of answering questions. Learn how a scientist, a theologian, and a biblical scholar approach scientific studies and incorporate scientific ideas into the way they consider their theology and biblical interpretation. Following Wednesday’s lecture, Dr. Wall-Scheffler, Dr. Maddox, and Dr. Wall will hone in on Christian interpretations of evolution, human origins, and the problem of natural evil.

Dr. Randy Maddox

Randy Maddox’s scholarly interests focus on the theology of John and Charles Wesley and theological developments in the later Methodist/Wesleyan tradition. He has authored numerous books and articles about the Wesleys. He serves as general editor of the Wesley Works Editorial Project, and heads a project that makes available online all of the verse of Charles Wesley for the Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition at Duke Divinity School.

Dr. Maddox is currently the institute secretary of the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies. He served previously as president of the Wesleyan Theological Society, co-chair of the Wesley Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion, and general editor of the Kingswood Books Imprint of Abingdon Press.

Dr. Maddox is an ordained elder in the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church, and has served as a theological consultant to the Council of Bishops on several projects.

Dr. Cara Wall-Scheffler

Cara Wall-Scheffler is an associate professor of biology at SPU.


Dr. Rob Wall

Dr. Rob Wall is the Paul T. Walls Professor of Scripture and Wesleyan Studies at SPU.

This event is sponsored by Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford and the Templeton Foundation.

The first event is held at:

First Free Methodist Church sanctuary (adjacent to campus)
3200 Third Avenue West, Seattle

The second event is held at:

Otto Miller Hall Room 109 (on campus)
3469 Third Avenue West, Seattle

These lectures are free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible. No registration necessary.

About Paul T. Walls

Paul T. Walls spent 31 years on SPU’s Board of Trustees and was known for his integrity and financial acumen. A successful career in real estate cultivated his ability to help manage the growth of Seattle Pacific from a college into a university. So too did his life of strong and active service to the Free Methodist Church at both local and national levels.

Before his death in 1998, Paul and his wife, Vera, established an educational foundation to help students realize a seminary education that provides the intellectual and spiritual leadership to stimulate and strengthen the denomination into the future.


Why I Teach at SPU

Cara Wall-Scheffler, Professor of Biology

“I teach at SPU because it is a place that values academic freedom and the love of learning. We have extremely talented students and colleagues who all ask wonderful questions. It is a place that enlivens the mind and pushes ideas into new contexts.”

Rob Wall

Why I Taught at SPU

Rob Wall, Paul T. Walls Professor Emeritus of Scripture and Wesleyan Studies

“I taught because I was called and gifted by God to do so; I enjoyed cultivating in my students the skills necessary to read Scripture well and with deep passion.”