Annual Fall Conference

Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity

Trinity International University
Deerfield, Illinois
October 12–14, 2017

In the Company of Christ & the Great Cloud of Witnesses

Be of Good Cheer

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

-John 16:33


The aim of Touchstone conferences is not only to be educational, deepening our knowledge of our Christian heritage, but also to be devotional, inspirational, and formative, to encourage our life in Christ and exhort us to take up our mission to be his witnesses today without compromise.

Many Touchstone conference participants value the conversations and fellowship they experience during the conferences every bit as much as the rich and insightful presentations. Here you will meet committed Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians seeking to be faithful to “the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” Encouragement awaits you!

Speaker Bios

Thomas S. Buchanan

Thomas S. Buchanan, Ph.D., is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has studied at UCSD, Northwestern University and MIT, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Western Australia and the University of Aix-Marseille in France. He has held many academic administrative positions, including department chairman, deputy dean and institute director, as well as national leadership positions such as president of the American Society of Biomechanics and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. Dr. Buchanan is on the Board of Trustees of Saint Katherine College and serves on the editorial board of Touchstone where he had a regular column, “Practical Christianity.”

Allan C. Carlson

Allan C. Carlson earned his PhD. in Modern European History from Ohio University. He is the President emeritus and founder of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society in Rockford IL, where he continues to serve as editor of The Family in America. He was also a visiting professor of history at Hillsdale College in Michigan.

Dr. Carlson has written extensively on issues of family and society. Among his most recent publications are: Godly Seed: American Evangelicals Confront Birth Control 1873-1973 (Transaction Publishers); Conjugal America: On the Public Purpose of Marriage (Transaction Publishers); and Third Ways: How Bulgarian Greens, Swedish Housewives, and Beer Swelling Englishmen Created Family-Centered Economies – And Why They Disappeared (ISI). His work is also widely published, both in the states and abroad, in such avenues as The Washington Post, the New Oxford Review, The Intercollegiate Review; The University Bookman, Communio, The Chesterton Review; Caelum et Terra, and The Wall Street Journal.

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen is a professor English at Providence College in Rhode Island, where he teaches Renaissance English Literature and Development of Western Civilization. He holds his M.A. and PhD. in literature from the University of North Carolina. Previously he has taught at UNC and Furman University. Dr. Esolen’s recent publications include: Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Press), The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press) and Ironies of Faith (ISI Press) ; and his newest work, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destory the Humanity of Your Child (ISI Press). He is a regular contributor to The Claremont Review, First Things, Touchstone, Catholic World Report, Magnificat, This Rock, and Latin Mass. He is also the commentator on the new English translation for the Roman Missal Companion, The Beauty of the Word,which is published by Magnificat.

Dr. Esolen has dedicated much of his career to a study of the classics. He has translated Dante’s Divine Comedy (Random House), Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things (John Hopkins University Press), and Torquato Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered (John Hopkins University Press).

James Hitchcock

James Hitchcock is professor of history at St. Louis University, his alma mater. He holds degrees (MA, PhD) from Princeton University. Dr. Hitchcock writes and lectures frequently on Church issues. He is a founding board member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, a senior editor of Touchstone magazine, and associate editor of Human Life International.

Dr. Hitchcock’s books include, among others, What is Secular Humanism?; Years of Crisis: Collected Essays, 1970-1983; Recovery of the Sacred; the two-volume work, The Supreme Court and Religion in American Life (Princeton, 2004). His History of the Catholic Church (Ignatius Press, 2012).

The husband of Helen Hull Hitchcock (d. 2014; editor of Adoremus Bulletin and president of Women for Faith & Family), Dr. Hitchcock lives in St. Louis and has four adult daughters.

S.M. Hutchens

S.M. Hutchens, Ph.D.—Disturbed early on by controversy and disunity among professing Christians, Hutchens began in early adulthood to study the doctrine and lives of as many churches as possible, beginning with those of the fundamentalists and Evangelicals among whom he was raised. The pilgrimage this required was taken through a number of seminaries and divinity schools, Protestant and Catholic, liberal and conservative. During doctoral studies he was a Congregationalist minister.

Influenced by C. S. Lewis and the Mercersburg theologians and aided by Harold O. J. Brown and Carl Braaten, under whose supervision he wrote his dissertation, his conclusions include rejection of religious modernism and its satellite theologies, including those of egalitarianism, as fundamentally anti-Christian, and a rough ranking of the believing churches from greater to lesser levels of understanding.  In this ranking Eastern Orthodoxy stands first as the body whose theology and method comprehend the pervading Christological paradox upon which the faith and its Scriptures (with all creation) are established, and avoids missteps made by the most theologically encumbered Western churches.

These conclusions, however, make one no more than a bad Protestant, and attractive to no one hiring teachers of theology, so Hutchens served as a reference librarian for twenty years, retiring in 2015 to become Touchstone‘s book review editor.  He has been Chairman of the Fellowship of Saint James and is a senior editor of Touchstone, in which most of his writing appears.  He has also published essays and reviews in The New Oxford Review, The Congregationalist, The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, The Religion and Society Report, The Evangelical Catholic, Sursum Corda, Books and Culture, and The New Atlantis.  He and his wife Mary live near Racine, Wisconsin, and have two daughters.

James M. Kushiner

James M. Kushiner is the Executive Editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, which he formed in 1986 as an occasional newsletter. The publication expanded into a quarterly journal in 1987 and he became its editor in 1992, when he established an editorial board of Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox Christians. He developed Touchstoneinto a bimonthly magazine in 1998. Kushiner edited Creed & Culture: A Touchstone Reader, (2003, ISI books), a collection of Touchstone’s best 21 essays from its first ten years of publication. His most recent talk, “Marriage: Evolving or Intelligently Designed? Why There Can Never Be Any Such Thing as ‘Same-Sex Marriage’,” was presented at the Wheatley Institute, Brigham Young University, on October 29, 2015, in Provo, Utah.

Patrick Henry Reardon

Patrick Henry Reardon, now the archpriest of All Saints’ Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, comes from an educational journey through Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, and St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary in South Canaan, PA. His own output for the edification of others has been equally varied, as his writing has appeared over the past four decades in many publications across the world. Father Patrick has also published an extensive list of books, including the classic Christ and the Psalms, and his most recent book, the first volume in a trilogy on Reclaiming the Atonement: The Incarnation. Father Patrick lives in Chicago with his wife, Denise.

Bryan Stewart

Bryan Stewart is a Professor of Religion at McMurry University where he teaches the history of Christianity. Bryan earned his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia; his M.Div. from Covenant Theological Seminary; and his B.A. from Grove City College. In addition to several scholarly articles and essays, Bryan has published a monograph entitled: Priests of My People: Levitical Paradigms for Early Christian Ministers (Peter Lang, 2015); and has a forthcoming volume in The Church’s Bible series: The Gospel of John: Interpreted by Early Christian and Medieval Commentators (Eerdmans, forthcoming March 2018). Finally, Bryan is also an ordained Anglican priest in the traditional Diocese of Fort Worth (ACNA) and serves as the priest-in-charge of Holy Cross Anglican, a new church plant in Abilene, TX.

Vitaly Permiakov

Vitaly Permiakov is Assistant Professor of Dogmatic and Liturgical Theology at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia), Jordanville, New York. Originally from Riga, Latvia, he holds an M.Div. from St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and Ph.D. in Theology (Liturgical Studies) from the University of Notre Dame. He is a member of North American Academy of Liturgy and of the Society for Oriental Liturgies. He is the translator of Fr Nicholas Afanasiev’s Church of the Holy Spirit (Notre Dame, 2007) and the co-editor of Hyacinthe Destivelle’s The Moscow Council (1917-1918): The Creation of the Conciliar Institutions of the Russian Orthodox Church (Notre Dame, 2014).

Society of St. James Dinner

A separate Friday dinner for Members of the Society of St. James will also be held during the conference. If you are a member of the Society of St. James and would like to attend the dinner, please RSVP.  If you are not a member and would like to become one, you may do so here:

Non-members will have dinner provided in the cafeteria at the same time with a variety of food options.  You do not need to sign up below–just show up!

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