Acton Notes - January/February 2011 Notes

Acton Partners with Refo500

The Acton Institute is joining forces with Refo500, a project that will bring international attention to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation which takes place in 2017. In 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the The Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Refo500 is engaging with a variety of partner organizations to promote the importance of the Reformation period and its relevance for today's world and churches. Acton scholars will also play a role in many aspects of the academic promotion related to the observance of the anniversary. Not only with their attendance at conferences, but the Journal of Markets & Morality will publish a translation of Abraham Kuyper's commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism. The journal's executive editor Jordan Ballor offered his thoughts on Acton's role in promoting the Reformation's anniversary:

The impact of history, especially the influence of the Christian church and the Reformation period, on the modern world is of the utmost significance today. Amidst the feelings of rootlessness and the search for meaning characterizing contemporary life, it is essential that we know better how we arrived at this point. These are linked biblical questions: Where have you come from? Where are you going? We don't get one without the other, and in this relationship between the past, present, and future lies the importance of understanding the Reformation and its relevance for today.

The themes of the Refo500 project, which include "Money and Power," "Art and Culture," and "Freedom and Preaching," resonate with the Acton Institute's mission to promote a society characterized by freedom and virtue. The aims of Refo500 are also consistent with the institute's work in creating "The Birth of Freedom" documentary and curriculum products for the importance of communicating the roots of freedom in Western civilization.

R&L Publishes Anniversary Issue

Religion & Liberty's double issue is an Acton 20th Anniversary tribute featuring an interview with Acts 3 ministry founder John Armstrong as well as a collection from some of our best interviews over the years.

The number of impressive figures in Religion & Liberty who have been interviewed speaks to the professionalism of Acton and its global influence. Some of the notable figures who have been interviewed over the years and were featured in the anniversary issue include Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Sir John Marks Templeton, Mr. Chuck Colson, Cardinal Avery Dulles, and Dr. Walter Williams.

R&L's managing editor Ray Nothstine said of the compiled collection of interviews:

We were very mindful of looking to highlight responses that really represent a range of timeless truths in the Gospel, the importance of human liberty, and the importance of religion and moral formation in society. The biggest challenge of this anniversary project was making decisions about what was going to be included in the issue. Still, there was a lot of great material that had to be excluded only because of space. That alone speaks to the rich and timeless content in the pages of R&L.

Nothstine also added that feedback on the issue has been very positive and declared, "We already have seen a significant uptick in submissions of authors wanting to publish in the pages of R&L." The forthcoming Winter issue of R&L will feature an interview with theologian and Church Fathers expert Dr. Thomas C. Oden.

Acton's New Director of Programs

Dr. Stephen Grabill has been promoted to Director of Programs and International at the Acton Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. Dr. Grabill's research interests include Protestant social thought, natural law, economic history, the thought of Abraham Kuyper, stewardship, and Christian social ethics. He will continue in his previous academic role as senior research scholar in theology with Acton. He will also be actively engaged in network and capacity building among evangelicals through an exciting new initiative funded by the Kern Family Foundation.

Before taking over the programs department at Acton, Dr. Grabill served as the executive editor of the Journal of Markets & Morality. Under his guidance, the journal went from just an idea to its current status as a leading interdisciplinary publication. During his tenure at Acton, Dr. Grabill has also served as general editor of the new NIV Stewardship Bible published by Zondervan in 2009.

Acton Univ. Registration Open

Registration for Acton University is currently open and courses will take place June 14 - 17 in Grand Rapids. Acton University is a unique, four-day exploration of the intellectual foundations of a free society. Guided by a distinguished, international faculty, Acton University is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate rigorous philosophy, Christian theology and sound economics. If you are interested in attending or learning more about Acton University you can visit the website at www. or contact Kara Eagle in the Grand Rapids office or by email at

The Virtue of Prosperity

With the Center for Cultural Leadership, the Acton Institute is co-sponsering a conference on February 25th and 26th in Newport Beach, Calif., titled "The Virtue of Prosperity." The two-day conference poses the question, "In a day and age of economic disarray, are we really to believe that solutions can be found in free markets? Or did the economic meltdown of 2008 once and for all prove that free markets are the problem?"

Acton President Rev. Robert Sirico will deliver two addresses at the conference on "The Mandate for Virtuous Capitalism" and "Free Markets and the Promise of Hope."

Dr. Jay Richards will also address the conference with a lecture based on his book God, Money, and Greed. Dr. Richards, a former research fellow and Director of Media at Acton, is currently a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and a contributing editor of the American Enterprise Institute.

Giving the keynote address at the event is the president of The King's College in New York City, Mr. Dinesh D'Souza. D'Souza has been named one of America's most influential conservative thinkers by the New York Times Magazine. The World Affairs Council lists him as one of the nation's 500 leading authorities on international issues.

Other speakers at the conference include Mr. David L. Bahnsen and Dr. P. Andrew Sandlin. Mr. Bahnsen is a Senior Vice President in the private client group of one of the premier Wall Street firms in this country and a senior fellow in economics and finance at the Center for Cultural Leadership. Dr. Sandlin is an ordained minister and president and founder of the Center for Cultural Leadership. He founded CCL in 2001 with the conviction that only eminently equipped cultural leaders will actually create a new Christian culture — and that only transformed Christians can transform the present anti-Christian culture of the West.

You can visit the website at and register for the event online.