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Winning Sermon Called “Between Silence and Utterance”

Jun 6, 2022 | News, Theological Seminary

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship” (Psalm 19:1).

OTTERBURNE, MB – Providence Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the winner of its ‘Science and Faith’ sermon contest. The contest was part of the Science for Seminaries seed grant that Providence was awarded for the 2021-2022 academic year by the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The contest aspired to encourage theological students, pastors, and other ministry leaders to reflect more intentionally upon the intersection of faith and science, and in so doing, further equip their congregations to apprehend and appreciate the ways that science contributes to our knowledge of and life within God’s good creation.

The contest was open to students, alumni, and the general public. The entries were adjudicated by a special committee comprised of preachers, theologians, and scientists.

The winning entry was a sermon by Providence alumnus Ryan Turnbull of Winnipeg, MB (Canada) entitled “Between Silence and Utterance” which drew upon the assigned lectionary texts Nehemiah 8:1-10, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, and Luke 4:14-21 to present a robust and nuanced presentation of the relationship between “God’s two books” – nature and scripture.

Turnbull first preached his sermon at Saint Margaret’s Anglican in January 2019. “I was intrigued by the idea of the two books the Psalm suggested so I went looking through the history of interpretation and found some old theological papers Galileo had written, defending his scientific disagreements with the Bible. So, I decided to launch my sermon from there.”

Turnbull graduated from Providence with his Bachelor of Arts in 2013 and his Master of Arts in 2017. He served as the Director of a non-profit called CHAI Immigrant Centre and then started his PhD in Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham. On the side, he teaches theology as an Adjunct Professor at Thorneloe University in Sudbury, ON. If you’d like to read more of Turnbull’s research/academic work, you can visit ryankturnbull.com.

Turnbull’s sermon was awarded with a monetary prize and will be considered for publication in a future issue of Providence’s interdisciplinary theological journal Didaskalia.