Nature of the paper
The BFS is an academic conference and the papers are expected to be academic in nature, not sermonic. Papers must be carefully researched, cogently argued, and thoroughly documented with footnotes. Papers may be controversial but must challenge the views of others in a Christianly manner: representing them fairly, acknowledging one’s own weak points, etc.
Topic of the paper
The BFS is a cross-disciplinary meeting, so we expect a certain amount of topical diversity: Old Testament, New Testament, systematic theology, historical theology, church history—all are welcome. Apologetics, missions, and biblical exegesis are also welcome. Keep in mind, however, that in the event that there are more paper proposals than times for presentation, preference will be given to papers that interest the widest audience. Papers of diverse views within the overall spectrum served by BFS are also welcomed and encouraged. Topics may be written from a Calvinist view or an Arminian view; or a Reformed or Dispensationalist view—or somewhere in between. At times two papers may be presented in a point/counter-point format for added interest.
Nature of the paper
In order for your paper to be properly academic while being thoroughly biblically orthodox, it should:
- demonstrate awareness of the history (ancient and modern) of the dialogue/debate/conversation surrounding its topic.
- engage the key participants in that dialogue respectfully; i.e., with the respect you would want someone to show your best efforts.
- extend the conversation substantively via alternate construals, additional evidence, critique of logic and/or method, etc.
- evidence commitment to biblical authority and theological triage.
Length of the paper
The time allotted for paper delivery and discussion is limited to 45 minutes (occasionally, some slots are longer or shorter for scheduling reasons). While the participant may write a longer paper, he or she must insure that the presented portion of the paper does not exceed the time limit: 35 minutes for the formal presentation followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. This means a paper length of approximately 3,600–4,300 words. There will be a signal given when the presenter has 5 minutes remaining in the formal presentation time.
Paper due date
Presenters are expected to make every effort to have a completed paper ready prior to the meeting by 24 hrs. so that a copy may be uploaded to the BFS website. These are password-protected and not accessible to the general public.
Paper Selection Process
Call for Papers
Early each year, a call for papers will be released through the BFS website. Professors, adjuncts, and other qualified academics (including pastors with PhDs) may submit paper proposals by the deadline for consideration for the summer meeting. PhD students are also strongly encouraged to participate. The deadline will be in mid-April so that the committee can select the papers to be presented and the presenters notified by early May.
The committee tries to be even-handed in the selection process, while at the same time looking for papers of the highest quality which will spark the most interest among the participants. A paper proposal rejection may mean no more than there simply isn’t sufficient time for all the papers proposed. Papers are not chosen on a first-come, first-served basis, but will be selected once the paper submission deadline has been reached—based on topic, interest level, a coherent proposal, etc. Proposals which seek to 1) advance their respective disciplines while 2) serving the church will be given priority over others.
A proposal of approximately 200 words should accompany a request to present, and a CV may be requested of potential participants not familiar to the selection committee.