Critical Issues Symposium #HopeCIS





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February 24 & 25, 2016

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Gary Burge & Nabil Costa



Post Conference Message: The Spring 2016 Critical Issues Symposium has concluded. We are grateful for everyone who participated, particularly Gary Burge and Nabil Costa who graciously stepped in as keynote speakers when our original speakers were unable to travel to Hope due to illness and weather conditions. We encourage everyone to continue not just in conversation but actively participate in dispensing help and hope to the people of the Middle East.

Keynote Speaker - Gary Burge

Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 7 PM, Dimnent Memorial Chapel

Gary M. Burge (Ph.D., King's College, Aberdeen University) is a professor of New Testament in the Department of Biblical & Theological Studies at Wheaton College and Graduate School.  Gary has authored a number of books including commentaries on John and The Letters of John (Zondervan Academic).  He also specializes in the Middle East, its churches and its history in the Greek and Roman periods.  His book, Whose Land?  Whose Promise? (Pilgrim Press, 2003, 2013), received recognition from national journals.  Recently he co-authored a college textbook entitled The New Testament in Antiquity and four volumes explaining the cultural background of the gospels (Zondervan).  Among them: Jesus and the Jewish Festivals and Jesus the Middle Eastern Story Teller.  (For a full list of publications, see his Wheaton College website.)  His most recent titles: A Week in the Life of a Centurion (2015) and Mapping Our Academic Careers (2015).

Gary’s sermons and conference presentations are known for their passion, humor, insight, and careful use of the ancient culture surrounding the Bible.  He has spoken in a wide variety of venues throughout the United States and the Middle East.  Today he teaches regularly at Willow Creek Community Church in S. Barrington, IL.  He lives in Wheaton, IL, with his wife Carol.  They have two daughters. 


Looking ahead.....


Join us for our next

Critical Issues Symposium



Sept. 27-28, 2016

Nabil Costa photo

More about Nabil Costa

Keynote Speaker - Nabil Costa

Thursday, February 25, 2016, 9 AM, Dimnent Memorial Chapel

Nabil is the Executive Director of the Lebanese Baptist Society (LSESD), a key BMS partner in the Middle East with a mission to serve the church in Lebanon and throughout the Arab World. In his leadership role Nabil relates at the highest levels with Church and Government leaders in the Middle East helping to foster better relations between Christians and Muslims.

Nabil comes to ministry from the business world where he built a career in marketing and development, working 18 years with Eastman Kodak serving as Development Manager for the Gulf region.

Alongside his role with LSESD, Nabil is the General Secretary of the Association of Evangelical Schools in Lebanon. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the European Baptist Federation (EBF) and has recently been elected as a Vice President for the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) where he chairs the Commission for Baptist-Muslim Relations.  Nabil is a member of a local Baptist church in which he grew up with his wife, Lena, a professional pianist. They have two sons – Nicholas and Christopher.


Speaker Photo Collage

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Celebrating Hope College's Sesquicentennial in 2015-16


The staff at Van Wylen Library has provided an online guide for those who wish to explore further the topic of "Engaging the Middle East: Understanding Contemporary Changes" and the many issues related to it.

Online Resource Guide

Have questions about CIS?

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CIS events are free and open to the public. Anyone with an interest in the topic being discussed is welcome to attend all or part of CIS.

Day classes are cancelled for Thursday, February 25, 2016. However, evening classes for that day will still be held as scheduled.