The Areopagus Lectures

Inviting our neighbors in central Virginia to join MARS HILL AUDIO in a continuing conversation about the Church’s role in a post-Christian society.

The Fall 2018 Areopagus Lecture

“He had never dreamed that the country of which she would make him king (king in name but really a slave) was his own country.”

— C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

On September 28, Dr. Paul Tyson gave a talk entitled “Escaping the Silver Chair: Renewed Minds and Our Vision of Reality,” which explored how the Christian responsibility “to repent” involves more than expressing feelings of regret for moral wrong-doing and the desire to reform. Rather, the New Testament call to “repentance,” the English rendition of the Greek word metanoia, is inseparable from radically reenvisioning what is “really real.” St. Paul’s admonition that we be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” — in other words, metanoia — invokes a process that demands the recognition and rejection of various false enchantments of this world. With the help of C. S. Lewis’s story The Silver Chair, however, we realize that identifying and then escaping the ways in which we are bewitched is no easy task.

Listen to the entire lecture below:

Paul Tyson

Dr. Paul Tyson is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Queensland, Australia. His research interests span across theology, philosophy and sociology. At present he is a principal researcher and a Project Co-Coordinator for the “After Science and Religion” project, run through IASH. This project stems from Peter Harrison’s 2015 book The Territories of Religion and Science (an interview with Peter Harrison was featured on Volume 131 of the Journal) and seeks to re-think what both science and religion could look like as we move forward. The other three leading researchers in this project are Peter Harrison (IASH, University of Queensland), John Milbank (Theology, University of Nottingham) and Tom McLeish (Physics/Natural Philosophy, York).

Dr. Tyson is the author of Returning to Reality (2014) and De-fragmenting Modernity: Reintegrating Knowledge with Wisdom, Belief with Truth, and Reality with Being (2017), about which Dr. Tyson was featured on Volume 139 of the Journal. If you would like to listen to this interview, Volume 139 can be purchased individually as a digital download.


Since 1993, MARS HILL AUDIO has sought to encourage the pursuit of wisdom concerning the cultural consequences of the Gospel. Toward that end, the hundreds of interviews distributed by MARS HILL AUDIO have explored two principal questions: 1) What are the distinctive features of the culture of modernity? and 2) How are those features in conflict with Christian cultural faithfulness? 

One such feature is the assumption that a “religion” is an essentially private, subjective, and non-rational set of beliefs and practices. Thus public life (which is presumed to be a neutral space) must be cleansed of all religiously grounded contaminants. The past several decades have witnessed a more extensive commitment to the de-Christening of the West — the quest for a society freed of interference from Christian claims about human nature and social order. As a result, many Christians are more perplexed than ever about the public consequences of the Gospel.

We believe this is a time for the Church to recognize and remedy the mistake of assenting to the separation of theology from public life. Because the radical privatizing of the claims of Christ is contrary to the ends of human nature and the purposes of God in history, the modern project of radical secularization is inevitably destined to fail. As its failure becomes more obvious (either with a bang or a whimper) the institutions that sustain social, political, and economic life will be open to re-imagination and re-configuration in ways that acknowledge that in Christ, all things hold together. 

In launching the Areopagus Lectures, MARS HILL AUDIO hopes to stimulate conversation among our neighbors about how to navigate this time in the Church’s history with wisdom, courage, and hope. 

Previous Lectures

Please follow the links below to read more about our previous lecturers and to access recordings of their talks.

Spring 2018 Areopagus Lecture — Gisela Kreglinger

Fall 2017 Areopagus Lecture — Simon Oliver

Spring 2017 Areopagus Lecture — Peter Leithart