Faith & Academics

"Finally, someone recognizes my calling to serve God as a professor," one university faculty member sighed in relief. Christian professors have a very unique and strategic role of service to God within the university, but they often feel isolated and discouraged. Faculty colleagues are sometimes aloof or even hostile, and the Christian community sometimes does not seem to value theoretical research or the life of the mind. The God-is-dead mentality has ruled on campus for decades. Largely, in today's unaffiliated universities (and sometimes in 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. Christ-professing professors often find themselves marginalized and deprived of free speech rights.

However, a quiet trend toward bringing religiously informed thought back under the umbrella of higher education is gaining momentum. Faculty Commons (formerly Christian Leadership Ministries) the creator and host of LeaderU.com, will host academicians for the National Faculty Leadership Conference (NFLC) June 27-29 2008 in the Washington, D.C. area. The NFLC is open to college and university professors and administrators and to those in graduate school preparing for a professorship.

If you are not a university faculty or staff member, do you know one? Please tell any Christian professors you know about this strategic conference. At the NFLC, Christian scholars will explore academic integration—the balanced and appropriate blending of a personal faith in Jesus Christ with the pursuits of teaching, research and writing. They will learn ministry skills to appropriately reach students and colleagues with the claims of Jesus Christ. Professors will meet others in their own academic discipline as well as like-minded professors of all disciplines from across the nation and several other countries. Meanwhile, explore the "outrageous idea of Christian scholarship," as one of our Special Focus authors puts it. .

—Updated by Paul Hartgrove, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University

Featured Articles:

What Is a Christian Professor? A Model of Maturity and Ministry
Joseph McRae Mellichamp, Ph.D., Editor

An online collection of chapters on the 12 characteristics which typify a Christian professor. The appendix features a self-assessment questionnaire designed to help professors determine where they are in their personal spiritual journey and to encourage them in spiritual growth. Each chapter ties back to the self-assessment. A practical, revealing tool for faculty members serious about spiritual growth.

The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship
George Marsden, Ph.D.
Dr. George Marsden, 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 Christian Scholar in the 21st Century
Alister McGrath, Ph.D.
Dr. Alister McGrath of Oxford University explains the history of evangelicalism in the university and in academic scholarship. He outlines why evangelicalism abandoned the academy in the past and how it can regain a foothold in the university once again.

On Integrating Your Faith
Rae Mellichamp, Ph.D.
The difference between the Christian who happens to be a professor and the professor who happens to be a Christian can be measured by how well one has thought through the issue of how the Christian worldview resonates with his or her academic discipline.

The Calling of a Christian Professor
Walter Bradley, Ph.D.
From the Biblical precedents for a professor's calling to addressing common fears about having a public faith and specific ways in which faculty can minister to students and colleagues on campus, Dr. Bradley speaks from years of experience and draws from numerous personally tested ministry strategies.

Faith and Scholarship
Rich McGee, Th.M.
Rich McGee, director of research and publications for Christian Leadership Ministries, illustrates why faith can and should be the cornerstone of the university and not the doormat, as it has often become.

Ministering in the Secular University: A Guide for Christian Professors and Staff (full online book)
Dr. Rae 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.

Laboring for God
Mike Sorgius
From the weekly devotional of Christian Leadership Ministries written by the National Field Director. "Sometimes, we fall into the trap of separating the 'spiritual' from the 'secular' callings we have. But God has ordained all honorable labor as His gift to us, and a central arena of our lives to bring glory to Him." See archived MMM's at www.facultylinc.com/local/mmm.nsf.

Professors Who Integrate Academics & Faith:

The Courageous Christian Professor
Jim Jones, Ph.D.
The personal story of a professor who decided to take a stand for his faith on campus.

Toward Integrating Your Life and Your Work
Edward Harris, Ph.D.
Does your work matter to God? Is your vocation an integral part of who you are as a Christian? The answers have implications for all believers in secular vocations, especially those in academia.

When Worldviews Collide
Armand Nicholi, M.D.
A professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Nicholi has developed an undergraduate course at Harvard comparing the worldviews of C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud. This article contrasts their viewpoints on life, pain and death. Nicholi's class provides a fine example of integrating faith with the teaching role of professors.

God Grades the Papers
Carol Valentine
"As professors, we affect so many more lives than most people do," writes Carol Valentine. She shares how she maintains her Christian witness in the university.

Related Links:

FacultyLinc, a Web portal where Christian professors access ideas, encouragement and proven strategies for ministry while integrating their faith with their unique calling as scholars. Professors can share ideas within and across disciplines with others around the globe. Features include ministry "best practices," a discussion forum and "virtual" Faculty Offices—mini-Web sites they can easily build themselves to highlight their writings, biographical information and testimonies and use as a ministry contact point for students and Internet visitors.

Academic Integration Pages
Christian Leadership's Academic Integration Pages 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.

Christian Professional Societies
Extensive list of Christian associations, missions, ministries, societies and affiliations for academics. NOTE: although we include contact information, updates have not been possible. If more up-to-date information is required or if any links are bad, please research them through a search engine like Google.com.

The Real Issue
The quarterly of Christian Leadership Ministries, the faculty ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ International, aimed at Christian professors who wish to integrate their faith with their teaching, research and writing. See the current edition, subscribe to the e-zine that announces each new issue and (eventually) see all past issues online in full.

For now, see archives online here at LeadershipU. Click through past issues for themes like Christianity and science, postmodernism and technology.

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Go here to see our past Special Focus features.