The Rev. M. Craig Barnes, president of Princeton Theological Seminary and professor of pastoral ministry, returns to Chautauqua Institution as chaplain-in-residence for Week Eight. Barnes previously served as chaplain-in-residence in 2014 when Ken Burns was the weeklong presenter at the 10:45 a.m. morning lectures.
Barnes’ sermon series is titled “Saving the Elder Brother,” based on the parable of the prodigal son, Luke 15:25-32.
“These homilies will be focused on the second half of the parable of the prodigal son, focusing on his elder brother,” Barnes said. “Most of our presentations of the gospel assume we are speaking to prodigals in need of repenting from having left the father’s house. But many people identify more accurately with the careful elder brother. How do they find salvation, and from what?”
At the 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning worship service in the Amphitheater, he will preach on “The Gospel for Good People.” He will share his spiritual journey at the 5 p.m. Vespers Sunday in the Hall of Philosophy. He will preach at the 9:15 a.m. morning worship service Monday through Friday in the Amp.
His sermon titles for the week include “The Gospel for the Anxious,” “The Gospel for the Dutiful,” “The Gospel for the Blessed,” “The Gospel for the Right” and “Completing the Parable.”
“Everything we do here is about an encounter with this one holy Word,” Barnes writes of Princeton Theological Seminary on his webpage. “That’s the true function of the study of theology: to encounter the Word, to see the morning star that pierces the darkness, to know how to proclaim the Word that can fill any silence that dares threaten us. And the Word’s name is the Lord Jesus Christ.”
At Princeton, Barnes holds theological conversations where he engages faculty and distinguished guests in conversation about their work, their theological education and the mission of the church. Guests have included Nathan Stucky, director of the Farminary Project at PTS, on theology and sustainable agriculture; Kenda Creasy Dean, Mary D. Synnott Professor of Youth, Church, and Culture at PTS, on social entrepreneurship; and poet Billy Collins.
Prior to his work at Princeton, Barnes served churches in Colorado and Wisconsin; the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.; and Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, where he was also the Meneilly Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Barnes holds degrees from The King’s College, Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago, and is the author of eight books, including his two most recent: The Pastor as Minor Poet and Body and Soul: Reclaiming the Heidelberg Catechism. Barnes also serves as an editor-at-large for The Christian Century.