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Noted C. S. Lewis to speak at Blackduck Free Church Bible Conference

"Jerry will make you feel like an old friend after about 10 minutes with him. He is incredibly well read and is able to speak scholarly about a wide variety of subjects, but also speaks to the heart of matters. If you don't feel spiritually refreshed after listening to Jerry you were probably asleep."

That's how Elliott Warden, a 2007 Blackduck High School graduate and current Wheaton College student describes Dr. Jerry Root, the speaker for the 11th Annual Spring Bible Conference at Blackduck Evangelical Free Church. The conference will be held April 2-3.

Elliott's father, Pastor Dwight Warden, noted that as the church leadership was looking for a speaker for this year's conference Root's name was enthusiastically suggested by Elliott and Tony Nord, a 2000 Blackduck and 2004 Wheaton graduate. Both Warden and Nord had the opportunity to study with and be mentored by Dr. Root as Christian Education majors at Wheaton.

"Jerry Root was my academic advisor and one of my favorite professors during my time as a student at Wheaton College. While Jerry started as my advisor, he quickly became much more. I began signing up for office hours with Jerry on a regular basis to talk about things far beyond scheduling classes.

"Jerry became a personal mentor and counselor. While I know nobody in Blackduck has any emotional, relational, or spiritual issues they need to work through, I did at the time and Jerry helped me see and understand things about myself that I could not see or understand on my own.

"Jerry Root is gifted with an incredibly intelligent mind, but more importantly for me, Jerry was gifted with an unusual ability to simplify and clarify complex thoughts when communicating them so even I was able to begin to understand," said Nord, who is currently finishing work on his Master of Divinity degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Another current Wheaton student, Liz Harbers, commented that Root is "One of the most respected professors at Wheaton because of the deep integrity of how he lives out his faith."

Root's popularity as a professor went beyond those in the Christian Education Department. Cody Nord another Blackduck and Wheaton graduate who is now teaching mathematics at Blackduck High School, made room for courses with Root in his courses for his math major.

Pastor Warden and the Blackduck Free Church family would like to extend an invitation to the community to hear Dr. Root speak at the 11th annual Spring Bible Conference.

"The opportunity to have a speaker of the caliber of Jerry Root come to Blackduck is an extraordinary one. As one can pick up from the comments of the Wheaton students who have a Blackduck connection, this is one speaker who will be worth investing an evening to come out and hear," said Pastor Warden.

Root will be speaking four times at the church. The conference begins April 2 at 5 p.m. with a message on "God's Love For Us." The second Saturday session is entitled "Our Love for God."

Sunday Dr. Root will speak on "C. S. Lewis and the Longing of the Heart" at 9:15 a.m. The conference concludes with Dr. Root delivering the message, "Participating in God's Love for the World" as part of the 10:30 a.m. worship service.

"Jerry has traveled the world speaking and teaching which has provided him with an incredible breadth of experiences to draw upon in illustrating truths from the Bible. One of my favorite aspects of Jerry's teaching method in class and in personal conversation was

"Jerry's ability to tell stories that captured the imagination and engaged the heart. For anyone who has read and benefited from the writings of C.S. Lewis, Jerry is a must hear for Jerry is one of the leading C.S. Lewis scholars in the world. On top of all this, Jerry also has a great sense of humor," said T. Nord.

The conference is free and open to the public. A free meal will be served between the Saturday sessions. Following the Sunday worship service, the church will be hosting its second annual Spuds and Splits dinner (baked potato and ice cream sundae buffet), with proceeds from that dinner going toward the church building fund.

Nord concluded that if all of this "is not enough to convince you that it will be well worth your time to come hear Jerry teach during the Free Church Bible Conference, Jerry also loves to shoot guns. If there is any way possible for you to hear Jerry teach when he visits Blackduck, I strongly encourage you to do so and make sure you bring your friends, family and youth as well."

For more information on the Bible conference, call 835-4580, email the church at or visit