Author, Scholar, Preacher Dr. Frank Thomas to Give 2019 Smyth Lectures

Author, Scholar, Preacher Dr. Frank Thomas to Give 2019 Smyth Lectures

December 15, 2018—Columbia Theological Seminary announces that author, scholar and renowned preacher Dr. Frank A. Thomas, the Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics at Christian Theological Seminary, will be the 2019 Smyth lecturer. Thomas will deliver two lectures offered free to the public in the Harrington Center Chapel on the seminary campus located at 701 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, GA. The first lecture will be on Tuesday, February 5, at 7:00-8:00 pm, and the second lecture on Wednesday, February 6 at 11:00am-12:00pm. A reception will be held immediately after the first lecture.

About the Smyth Lectures

Dr. Frank Thomas will offer insights from his latest book How to Preach a Dangerous Sermon (Abingdon Press, February 2018) and his upcoming book, How to Survive a Dangerous Sermon. The “dangerous sermon” is one that refuses to reflect idolatrous, diabolical imaginings of our human future. Rather, it challenges them by activating the four qualities of moral imagination: the embodied presence of the preacher, empathy as a bridge between past injustice and future possibilities, wisdom found in ancient texts, and hope conveyed through artistic, poetic language. Thomas argues such sermons are “dangerous” and seeks to help preachers navigate the challenging and choppy waters of dangerous sermons.

About Dr. Frank Thomas

Dr. Frank Thomas currently serves as the Director of the PhD Program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric and the Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, IN. For many years, Dr. Thomas has also taught preaching to Doctoral and Masters level students at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL; Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN; and United Theological Seminary of Dayton, OH. He is the CEO of Hope For Life International, Inc., which formerly published The African American Pulpit. Thomas also serves as a member of the International Board of Societas Homiletica, an international society of teachers of preaching.

Thomas is the author of Introduction to the Practice of African American Preaching (Abingdon Press, November 2016). He co-edited Preaching With Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Sermons 1750 to the Present with Martha Simmons (W. W. Norton & Company, 2010). This critically acclaimed book offers a rare view of the unheralded role of the African American preacher in American history. Thomas is also the author of several other books on subjects from matters of prayer to spiritual maturity.

Thomas served with distinction as the senior pastor for two remarkable congregations: New Faith Baptist Church of Matteson, IL and Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church of Memphis, TN, for eighteen years and thirteen years respectively.

Thomas holds a PhD in Communications (Rhetoric) from the University of Memphis, a Doctor of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary, Doctor of Ministry degrees from Chicago Theological Seminary and United Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary, and a Master of Arts in African-Caribbean Studies from Northeastern Illinois University.

History of the Smyth Lectures

The Smyth Lectures were established at Columbia Theological Seminary in 1911 by the bequest of the Rev. Thomas Smyth, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC. The aim was to establish “a course of lectures on the fundamental principles of the Christian faith.” The Smyth Lectures are presented to the seminary community each year and are open to all ministers, lay people and members of the community who wish to attend.

Columbia Theological Seminary seeks “to educate and nurture faithful, imaginative, and effective leaders for the sake of the church and the world.” As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia Seminary offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, please visit

Media Contact
Michael Thompson
Director of Communications

4 thoughts on “Author, Scholar, Preacher Dr. Frank Thomas to Give 2019 Smyth Lectures”

  1. Jeffery A Lang says:

    Are these lectures on video?

    1. They were recorded. They are not currently available online. You may ask Jeff Vaughan about availability at

  2. Jeffery A Lang says:

    Thank you for responding and. I will certainly follow up! Best wishes. Jeff

  3. bernyTaise says:

    But in the face of so much racial injustice that demeans many sisters and brothers in Christ, we at the Center for Excellence in Preaching and at our sister center the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship have been reflecting on how blessed we are and have been over the last many years by the work, voices, witness, preaching, singing, and teaching of many African-American scholars and preachers. In this moment when racism tries to block out the voices of people whom some deem to be less than , we want to amplify those voices. Below are a trove of rich resources—many shared with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship—of sermons and lectures, panel discussions and concerts, books and articles and webinars and more, in and through which our African-American partners and colleagues have blessed the church so richly.

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