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Mark Allan Powell, an internationally known theologian and Bible scholar, will deliver the annual Lakeland College Founder's Day Lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 6.
Founders Day is an annual Lakeland event that recognizes the church's contributions to Lakeland and provides a time to reflect on Lakeland's strong tradition with the United Church of Christ.
Powell's address, entitled, "The Timeless Tale of a Prodigal Son: What It Means both Near and Far," will be in the Bradley Fine Arts Building on the Lakeland campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Powell is Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. He is the author of over 20 books and 100 published articles on theology and the Bible. He is chair of The Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, editor of "Academia Biblica," the Society of Biblical Literature's Dissertation Series, founding editor of "The Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus" and associate editor of "Catholic Biblical Quarterly."
Powell is an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but is also known internationally and ecumenically. He is the only Protestant member of the six-member Executive Board of the Roman Catholic Church's academic society Catholic Biblical Association.
Powell has held invited lectureships internationally at schools in Estonia, Tanzania and Russia, as well as at such American universities as Berkeley, Vanderbilt, and the University of Chicago.
Powell has produced voluminous materials for churches including biblical commentaries, preaching guides, Sunday School curricula and devotional materials.
As a scholar, Powell's expertise is primarily recognized in three areas: the use of literary criticism to study the Bible as a work of literature, interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew and historical research into what can be known of Jesus as a figure in history.
In recent years, Powell has become a popular writer and speaker in the areas of spiritual formation and Christian spirituality. His books "Loving Jesus" and "Giving To God" are addressed to laity and offer semi-autobiographical guidance for discipleship in these vital areas of the Christian life.
Powell - who began his journalistic career in the '70s as a rock critic for The Houston Post - has continued to work in music criticism throughout his tenure as a theological scholar. He has published over 1,900 reviews of recordings and is the author of a 1,000-page encyclopedia of "contemporary Christian music" that is regarded as the definitive reference work on the subject.
In 1999, Powell was recipient of the Associated Press' Award of Excellence in Religious News (their first place award) and in 2003 he received their Award of Merit (second place). In 2000, he was honored by Christian Century for being the only author to have two volumes included in their annual list of the Top 50 Books in Religion. In 2003, his Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music was chosen Book of the Year by ARSC, a society of American music historians.