A Shift toward the Local Churches: 1980–1987
In 1980, after considerable discussion, there was a shift in focus by the Institute, as it moved its programs away from the University of Maryland to a variety of locations, mostly churches, around the greater D.C. metro area. The goal was to have a greater impact on the lives of Christian professionals working in the nation’s capital. Between 1980 and 1985, the Institute conducted a variety of summer studies programs, seminars and symposia on biblical studies and in areas of public policy that involved issues of morality and ethics.
Institute events took place in Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Baptist churches, at Fellowship House, Cedar Point Farm, and at public venues such as the Brookings Institute. Again high-rated speakers headlined the offerings, including J.I. Packer, Charles H. Malik, former president of the United Nations General Assembly, Jim Houston, Becky Pippert, Earl Palmer, and John Stott.
Throughout its first decade, the Institute relied on volunteers to plan and implement its programs with the exceptions of Ron Jenkins, who served as a part-time executive director in the early 1980s, and Kathy Arveson, who served part time as administrative assistant. During the mid-1980s, organizers debated whether to stay the course with programming or develop into an organization modeled after a think tank. As a result, there was a one- to two-year hiatus in Institute activities, after which the Hiskeys, Arvesons, and Hamrins resurrected it. In a serendipitous moment, John Bernbaum met Art Lindsley at a theological meeting at Eastern College and referred him to the CSLI leadership committee, which would lead to a new chapter in the Institute’s history.
Hiskey stated that the Institute always sought to do God’s work, God’s way, and trusted that God would supply. He noted that the leaders of the Institute were always trying to find the right niche, doing things that others couldn’t or wouldn’t do.11
Mentoring, Apologetics, and Theological Training: 1987–1998
When he met Bernbaum, Lindsley was already familiar with CSLI. He had attended one of the summer study programs, hearing lectures by Carl Henry, among others. Lindsley attended the program because he wanted to “vacation with purpose.”12
Lindsley had been on the staff at R.C. Sproul’s Ligonier Valley Study Center for six years and had been Director of Educational Ministries for that organization. He was currently working for the Coalition of Christian Outreach, but he hoped to do something more like L’Abri or Ligonier Valley, with a retreat center outside of a city as well as city programs.
After interviewing Lindsley, Hiskey immediately invited him to come to D.C. and serve as the scholar in residence of the C.S. Lewis Institute, albeit without a salary. Fortunately Lindsley had financial supporters who were committed to his ministry. Lindsley would also have the title of President.
Stan Rosenberg would join Lindsley and serve as the Academic Programs Director between 1987 and 1996. Katherine Doster came to the Institute in 1993 and served as public liaison, volunteer coordinator, and women’s mentor for four years. Dan Painter served as Executive Director of CSLI between January 1997 and January 1998.
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