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Four HPU students recognized at 2019 Currie-Strickland Lectures in Christian Ethics

BROWNWOOD – February 22, 2019 – Four Howard Payne University students were recognized as Currie-Strickland Scholars at the 12th annual Currie-Strickland Lectures in Christian Ethics on Feb. 7-8. The students honored at this year’s lectures were Rachel Carpenter, junior biblical languages major from Rowlett; Lillie McDonald, junior practical theology major from Tuscola; Cecily McIlwain, senior cross-cultural studies major from Dayton; and Eli Williams, senior biblical languages major from May.

“These students are among the best that we teach in the School of Christian Studies, excelling through their scholarly studies as well as through their active engagement with their course material,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, associate professor of Christian studies. “The lectures benefit all HPU students, including those honored, by bringing an important topic for their consideration so that they can reflect on what it might mean to think Christianly about it.”

The guest speaker at the event was Dr. Matthew Kaemingk, assistant professor of Christian Ethics and associate dean for Fuller Texas at Fuller University, who spoke on the topic “Muslim Immigration: Following Christ Through the Debate.” Dr. Kaemingk delivered two lectures, “Muslim Immigration and Christ’s Crown” and “Muslim Immigration and Christ’s Cross.”

“As Christians, we need to be about practicing the hospitality of Christ,” said Dr. Kaemingk. “That is what Muslim immigration represents – a profound opportunity to practice Christ’s hospitality and to remember it again. This is an opportunity to meet Jesus again and remember what He calls us to.”

Dr. Kaemingk is also a scholar-in-residence at the Max De Pree Center for Christian Leadership and serves as a fellow for the Center for Public Justice. He founded the Fuller Institute for Theology and Northwest Culture in Seattle, Washington, in 2013 and served as the executive director of the institute until 2017.

He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and holds doctoral degrees in systematic theology from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and in Christian Ethics from Fuller Theological Seminary. In 2011, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to go to Amsterdam to study political theology and the European conflict over Muslim immigration. An ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church, Dr. Kaemingk lives in Houston with his wife, Heather, and their three sons, Calvin, Kees and Caedmon.

“Dr. Kaemingk’s work is invaluable for contemporary Christians,” said Dr. Hatch. “It challenges us to be the body of Christ, and to do so precisely by making space for the other – in this case, our Muslim neighbors. His lectures focused on the cultivation of habits of hospitality, which means they will continue to make a positive impact on our thinking and activity here at HPU for a long time.”

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Four HPU students were recognized as Currie-Strickland Scholars at the 2019 Currie-Strickland Lectures in Christian Ethics. Pictured from left to right are Lillie McDonald, Rachel Carpenter, Cecily McIlwain and Eli Williams. Also pictured is Dr. Derek Hatch, associate professor of Christian studies at HPU. Dr. Matthew Kaemingk spoke at the 2019 lectures on the topic of “Muslim Immigration: Following Christ Through the Debate.”