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Editor and Author R.R. Reno to speak at OBU on April 12

March 5, 2024

R. R. Reno, the editor of First Things, a journal of religion and public life, will speak on “How Should Christians Think About Nationalism?” at 4 p.m., April 12 in the Tulsa Royalties Auditorium at Bailey Business Center on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Okla.

Reno serves on the board of advisers of the Edmund Burke Foundation, the sponsor of the 2019 National Conservatism Conference. After earning his doctorate in religious studies from Yale, he taught theology at Creighton University for twenty years. His previous books include Genesis: A Theological CommentaryFighting the Noonday Devil, and Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society.

"I am thrilled that OBU has the opportunity to host as significant a speaker as R.R. Reno,” Dr. Jonathan Ashbach, Elizabeth Randel and Ana Scales assistant professor in American Constitutional Law at OBU, said. “Rusty is a major national figure among Christians seeking to navigate the intersection of faith and politics. This is a great opportunity for students and community members alike to hear his thoughts about one of the most important contemporary political issues: What does Christian love mean for our relationship with our country?”

Born and raised in Maryland, Dr. Reno received a B.A. from Haverford College in 1983 and completed his Ph.D. in theology at Yale University in 1990. Shortly afterwards, he received his first faculty appointment at Creighton University where he taught theology and ethics for the next 20 years. In 2010 Dr. Reno took a leave of absence to work full-time at First Things, where he has remained the publication’s editor since 2011.

He is the author of Return of the Strong Gods: Nationalism, Populism and the Future of the West (2019), Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society (2016), Fighting the Noonday Devil — and Other Essays Personal and Theological (2011), Genesis (2010), In the Ruins of the Church (2002), Redemptive Change: Atonement and the Cure of the Soul (2002) and the co-author of Sanctified Vision: An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible (2005) and Heroism and The Christian Life (2000).

Dr. Reno is the father of two adult children and lives in New York City with his wife.

Ashbach said this event fits perfectly with OBU’s core value of faith integration.

"One of the questions at the heart of healthy politics is how Christians should relate to our nation,” he said. “The OBU politics program is committed to thinking through these issues from a Christian perspective. I am delighted to have one of the country's leading Christian political thinkers joining us in that discussion."

For more information, contact Ashbach at