Brokenness, Sin and Grace in Human Formation

Education, Formation and the Church II 
An academic conference organized by researchers from the Theological University Apeldoorn and the Theological University Kampen.

Within Christian education we are used to expressions such as ‘growth’, ‘talents’ and ‘human flourishing’. Observing current pedagogical and psychological approaches it may seem that human perfection is the norm. The emphasis on the positive side of faith in human formation can entail the risk of the reality of sin and brokenness being dismissed from the educational vocabulary. At the same time, there is an intrinsic pedagogical motive for adopting stimulating perspectives. The question can, therefore, be raised whether Christian education has become infected by a narrow and reductionist conversation about human flourishing, understood in the meaning of growth, perfection and success.

The upcoming EFC conference will explore questions connected to the place of brokenness and grace in the pedagogical theory and practice. How are we to understand good and evil in human nature? How do good and sin manifest themselves in education and formation? Do positive and negative views on pupils, teachers and pedagogy contribute to human formation or to human frustration? How are we to evaluate the current instrumental strive for perfection? How do we cope with the effects of sin and brokenness; the effects of evil in classrooms, learning processes and human formation? This is an opportunity for pedagogues and theologians to inform and inspire one another by understanding and rethinking brokenness and grace in the process of human formation.

The Formation Conference wishes to continue the conversations initiated at the successful conference in 2018. Main speakers of the 2021 conference are David Smith (USA), Jan Habl (CZ), Ros Stuart-Buttle (UK), Ronelle Sonnenberg, Wolter Huttinga, Petronelle Baarda, Tirza van Laar (NL). Conference chair is Roel Kuiper (NL).

The conference will be held online.


  • 25 August 2021, 15:30-17:00 PM (CET): Introduction
  • 25 August 2021, 19:30-21:00 PM (CET): Short Paper Sessions
  • 26 August 2021, 19:30-21:00 PM (CET): Short Paper Sessions
  • 27 August 2021, 10:00-12:00 AM (CET): Evil and Grace
  • 27 August 2021: 14:00-16:00 PM (CET): Christian Education and the Church

Short Paper Sessions

Presentations by: Bob Bowie, Fieke Bijnagte, Boaz Da, Mark Halvorson, Pavel Hanes, Maarten Kater, Daniëlle van de Koot and Rinke van Hell, Peter Christiaan van Olst, Jeanet Oosterhuis i.c.w. Evelien Vermeulen en Jan van der Stoep, Hans Schaeffer, Jan Scheele-Goedhart, Mathilde Tempelman-Lam, Wilco de Vries, Fianne de With

The initiative for this conference is supported by partner institutions of Christian Higher Education in the Netherlands:

  • Christian University of Applied Sciences Ede (CHE)
  • Driestar Christian University for Teacher Education
  • Christian University of Applied Sciences VIAA


It is possible for theologians from the Netherlands to participate in the conference within the scope of Permanent Education (0.5 ECTS Credits; 14 hours).


  • Participation in all online sessions (7 hours) – choosing one short paper session.
  • A report reflecting on the main theme of the conference (2 A4)
    Should we pay more attention to sin and grace in education? Why and how?
    Which focus would be your choise? Brokenness, sin, or grace?

Those not attending the conference in relation to Permanent Education, not interested in the 0.5 EC certificate or attending as a student, can register for this conference through

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