Balm in Gilead: A Theological Dialogue with Marilynne Robinson

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson is one of the most eminent public intellectuals in America today. In 2016, Time magazine even identified her as one of “The 100 Most Influential People” in the entire world. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and, until her recent retirement, was a Professor of English and Creative Writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the University of Iowa, Iowa City. Elegant and probing meditations upon the Christian faith often grace her work. Her trilogy of novels, Gilead, Home, and Lila, evocatively and sympathetically present the lives, families, and spiritual convictions of two Protestant ministers in mid-twentieth-century Iowa. Her essays – gathered in collections such as The Death of Adam, When I Was a Child I Read Books, and The Givenness of Things – also recurringly contemplate theological themes. Many of these reflections are grounded in her defiant judgment that the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformer John Calvin still deserves a hearing in the twenty-first century. This conference will offer a memorable opportunity for leading theologians, historians, literary scholars, and church leaders to engage in a thoughtful theological dialogue with both her published work and with Marilynne Robinson herself as she participates fully in this event. There were also be an emphasis on how Robinson’s work can illuminate Christian preaching and ministry, and pastors are warmly invited to attend. The keynote addresses will be given by Marilynne Robinson and Rowan Williams.


Marilynne Robinson – University of Iowa, Iowa City, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist

Rowan Williams – Cambridge University, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury

Patricia Andujo – Azusa Pacific University

Timothy George – Beeson Divinity School

Keith Johnson – Wheaton College

Han-luen Kantzer Komline – Western Theological Seminary, Holland Michigan

Timothy Larsen – Wheaton College

Lauren Winner – Duke Divinity School

Michael Gerson – The Washington Post

In addition to these speakers, the conference will include musical performances of Spirituals and Hymns arranged by the award-winning composer Shawn E. Okpebholo, Wheaton College.

If you have any questions regarding the conference please contact