God and the Academy

The God-is-Dead mentality has ruled on campus for decades. Largely, in today's unaffiliated universities (and sometimes religious ones), philosophical inquiry seldom allows for faith in the supernatural, the physical sciences assume a priori a naturalistic worldview that renders God irrelevant, and the humanities have been taken over by multiculturalist-postmodern thought.

However, a quiet trend toward bringing religiously informed thought back under the umbrella of higher education is gaining momentum. The intelligent design movement has brought new evidence to challenge the hard sciences in their devotion to Darwinism and other positivistic views. The monopolistic hold of the Modern Language Association spawned a backlash, with the creation of alternative language studies associations. Philosophers discuss theistic assumptions, while Christian societies and journals have increasingly appeared. One of the most profound movements is that of believing scholars gathering to discuss a Christian worldview in their discipline and the integration of their Christian faith with their calling to academics. One such event, the God and the Academy conference, will occur in the summer of 2000 (see our site).

Can science and the humanities be integrated with faith? Should they be? What is the purpose of higher education, to dispense only observable facts, to empower oppressed subgroups or to seek a transcendent set of truths and develop young lives? What was the role of the university--public and Christian--in the first place? We tackle these issues in our special focus.

Feature Articles:

The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship
George Marsden
Dr. George Marsden, a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, offers insight into why Western scholars are reluctant to see connections between faith and scholarship. He explains how making such connections could vastly change the landscape of academia and increase the faith of Christian scholars.

The Place of Religiously Informed Scholarship in the Contemporary Academy
Michael Murray
A popular-level case for taking seriously the views of those scholars whose assumptions have starting points in faith. Murray calls for a stop to the ad hoc exclusion of such views and illustrates their veracity in the realm of philosophy.

Can we recapture the ivory tower?
Gene Edward Veith
Can we recapture the ivory tower? And why is this even important? Because universities shape the culture well beyond their ivy-covered walls.

A Christian Critique of the University
Charles Malik
In this reprint of the first three chapters of his book, A Christian Critique of the University, Dr. Charles Malik expounds on the nature of the university and the implications of faith and scholarship on that institution. Dr. Malik, now deceased, among his other accomplishments, a president of the UN General Assembly and an outspoken believer in Jesus Christ.

The Two Communities of the Christian Scholar
Gregory Ganssle
Christian scholars are caught between two worlds: the intellectual community and the church community. Often, according to Dr. Ganssle, these professors have difficulty in integrating the two and in knowing how or why it must be done. Ganssle offers some explanations.

Ministering in the Secular University (full book online)
Joseph McRae Mellichamp
In the past 100 years, Christianity has been relegated to the unimportant or trivial regions of the university. Today, there is no place in the university for Christian thought - no place in the curriculum for Christian ideals and no place in the university's research enterprise for Christian ideas. The issue must be addressed on two fronts - an intellectual front and a personal front. The intellectual front has to do with the appropriate role of Christianity in the university. The personal front has to do with how Christian academics attempt to impact students, associates, and individual universities for Christ. This book is for the serious Christian academic concerned with having an impact for Christ in the university.

A Call to Counterrevolution
Gertrude Himmelfarb
The Reformation of the church was initiated by a university professor, Martin Luther. Just as Luther effectively disestablished the church, so would later professors remove higher education from the church.

My Quest for Success
Walter L. Bradley
The personal story of Dr. Walter L. Bradley, professor of mechanical engineering, Texas A&M University, and how a personal relationship with the living God has changed his life. This article appears on his Faculty Office Web site.

A Christian University: Defining the Difference
Mark R. Schwehn
The author discusses the place and role of the Christian University. Schwehn states, "I shall mention four of the more recent and significant [cultural] changes [that affect the way we think of the idea of a Christian university], and I shall then move on to characterize what I think must be the features of, and to some extent the grounds for...a Christian university in our time.... Many American intellectuals have gradually moved from a sense that there exists in American society a simple, two-sided culture war to a more nuanced sense that we are in the midst of a reconfiguration of public discourse about a whole range of issues, including issues of religion and higher education."

The School of Sanctification
John J. Haldane
John J. Haldane explores the old-fashioned idea of the responsibility of Christian higher education in the personal formation of its students. This essay is adapted from the 1997 Education Sunday Lecture delivered at St. Andrews College, Glascow.

Featured Sites:

Christian Leadership Ministries' Academic Initiative
Our mission is to influence the university and world for Christ by increasing the prominence of the Christian world view in all academic disciplines by influencing today's professors and cultivating tomorrow's professors.

Academic Integration Page
Christian Leadership's Academic Integration Page is designed primarily for articles which address the complex relationship of integrating one's Christian faith to the academic disciplines, for discussion of philosophical and theological issues which arise within the Christian faith related to academic integration, for exemplary models of Christian academic integration, and for articles primarily from (but not limited to) a Christian perspective that deal critically with the philosophic and academic credentials of a Christian perspective of the disciplines. See our introductory articles by Dr. Alvin Plantinga and Dr. J.P. Moreland.

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