Addenda 3.8 (August 2020)



In Honour of Ravi Zacharias

Image courtesy https://www.zachariastrust.org/

It is one thing to receive the life of Christ, and another thing entirely to submit your life to him. The critical question for Christians is not whether Jesus Christ has given us his life, but whether we have submitted our lives to him. We may be comfortable in the ivory tower, perfecting our pedagogies, pursuing profound research, and attending conferences, but the question remains: Are we living for Christ?

The name Ravi Zacharias was synonymous with apologetics. As I reflect on his life, I wonder what passion my name will evoke when it is mentioned anywhere.

As a teenager, Ravi felt so worthless and ashamed that he decided to take his own life. He wrote, “I don’t know when I made the decision—sometime at age 17—but when I did, it came firmly and calmly: A quiet exit will save my family from further shame. I was neither depressed nor impulsive. I had seen it coming for some time, perhaps always lurking in my mind as the final escape.”
Fortunately, on the day he took poison in a suicide attempt someone was around to rush him to a hospital. There a Youth for Christ director brought a Bible to Ravi, and his  mother read the words that hit him like a ton of bricks: “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14.19). “Jesus”, Ravi prayed, “if you are the One who gives life as it is meant to be, I want it. Please get me out of this hospital bed well, and I promise I will leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of truth.”

Five days later, when he was discharged from hospital, Ravi was a changed person. Jesus not only saved him from death but also gave him a reason to live. From that time onwards, Ravi lived a purpose-driven life, becoming an important voice for Christianity, a rigorous defender of the faith and a philosopher for the church. He countered atheists, relativists, Buddhists and secular culture with crisp arguments, showing why Christianity is best equipped to answer the fundamental questions of life and existence. These arguments were laid out in more than two dozen books, and his voice echoed all around the world.

On May 19, 2020, at age 74, Ravi Zacharias took his last breath on earth. His life had been a beautiful symphony of faith and scholarship. He had lived up to the words of his motto: “Helping the thinker believe. Helping the believer think.” As he exits the stage, he leaves behind a world in which the voices of idolatry and relativism threaten to drown the voices of faith and love. Our universities are known to be bastions of atheism, our economics elevates profit over people, our science places machines over people, and our cultures uplift money over relationships. As Christian scholars, whatever corner of the earth we inhabit, we must confront the idols of this civilization. Just as Ravi did many years ago in that hospital bed, have we made that important commitment? Have we decided to live for Christ?

Prof. Osam Edim Temple
Society
Executive Chair

 

The Addenda Minute
Brief Reflections on Faith and Scholarship:
Redemptive Influence

Christian Academics who seek to have redemptive influence among their students, colleagues, universities, and disciplines see their vocations as Kingdom work.

They understand their life as participating in the missio Dei in that all of life, including all our natural and spiritual gifts and opportunities, is part of God’s mission to the world, whether locally or cross-culturally. They strive to redeem, renew, restore, reclaim or (re)create that which is good, true and beautiful in their academic vocations as co-laborers in God’s reconciling and liberating purposes. In doing so, they participate in God’s work in Christ by the Spirit to reverse the effects of the fall, restoring and renewing what has been broken. This redemptive influence seeks to provide a glimpse and taste of the fulness of human flourishing and the common good––a shalom that will only be fully realized in Christ’s second Advent. 

What do you think it means to have redemptive influence? What kind of redemptive influence are you having in your cultural context?

COVID-19 & Society National Movements

The pandemic has been catastrophic in many ways, from personal struggles to administrative challenges to travel woes. But as believers we know that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). In other words, God brings good from bad. Reports from Society members confirm this. For example, scores of quarantined scholars, many of whom had never heard of Zoom prior to COVID-19, have found fellowship through our group Zoom service. Similarly, attendance at our Society webinars continues to increase.   
 
COVID-19 is also reminding us of our need for face-to-face time together. Conversations from Jamaica to Cote D’Ivoire to Nigeria and beyond continue to discuss the pressing need for locally formed and locally led Society of Christian Scholars national movements. These Society members intuit that George Marsden, in his classic The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, was right twenty years ago when he said:
 

Contemporary Christian scholarship will not realize its potential unless it can establish a strong institutional base. Isolated individuals in university culture can make impressive efforts here and there, but unless their voices are united, they will be lost in the general cacophony of the contemporary academy. (p. 101)

 
Are you interested in seeing Marsden’s vision realized by establishing and leading a national movement of Christian scholars in your country or region? Society leadership would love to serve you. Simply drop me an email at kcampbell@societyofchristianscholars.org and I will connect you with a Society representative. 

Keith Campbell, PhD
Society Executive Committee Member

 

Society News

Meet a Society Partner: InterVarsity GFM

InterVarsity’s Graduate and Faculty Ministry (GFM), part of InterVarsity/USA, assists and establishes communities of graduate students and faculty on campuses throughout the United States.

It focuses on fostering spiritual formation, vibrant community, integration of faith, learning and practice, and forthright and contextually appropriate witness and service in the university. InterVarsity GFM also hosts area and regional conferences and offers extensive online resources including articles, webinars and networking opportunities with other scholars. You can find more information at the GFM website, the Emerging Scholars Network (equipping aspiring scholars on the pathway from undergrad to faculty), or about the Women in the Academy and Professions outreach at The Well

If you are interested in connecting with a local community on your campus, visit Find a Chapter and contact the staff at your campus, or if InterVarsity is not yet at your campus, contact the staff member nearest to your campus. If you still have questions, contact InterVarsity’s office directly.

Library Curator Spotlight
An Interview with Dr. Marlene Hines (Jamaica)  

The Resource Library is a place to nurture respectful, charitable and meaningful conversations about what it means to be, think, live and grow as missional Christian academics. Resources are curated by an international team of experts including Dr. Marlene Hines of Kingston, Jamaica, who is a project manager at the Jamaican Ministry of Education.

Dr. Himes has expertise in educational administration, library sciences and transformational leadership. She has been a college librarian and lecturer at several teaching colleges in Jamaica.

We asked Dr. Hines a few questions about what it means to be a missional Christian academic and why she believes the Society is vital to her academic vocation.

Society: Tell us why you decided to enter academia and why you chose the fields of educational and library sciences.

Dr. Hines: My interest in education started early in my adult life, when my high school principal invited me to join the staff as a ‘pre-trained” teacher. As a result of this experience, I decided to pursue training at one of the teacher training colleges in Jamaica. I did not however, enjoy teaching at the secondary level and decided to pursue a degree at the University of the West Indies (U.W.I.), Mona. I was encouraged to enroll in the B.A Library Studies programme and later thought this was a result of God’s divine intervention. I then earned a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration at the U.W.I. after which I went on to earn a doctorate in Transformational Leadership from Bakke Graduate University, USA that further helped me orient my thinking on how to think Christianly about my vocation.

Society: How does your work at the Jamaican Ministry of Higher Education shape your understanding of higher education?

Dr. Hines: My work in the Ministry has furthered my understanding of the importance of addressing the gap in access to information and knowledge within society. These gaps show up in different ways depending upon the culture, but it’s incredibly important for the government and tertiary intuitions to work together on closing these gaps in access to knowledge, as education is a public good important to the well-being of any society.

Society: How has your faith in Christ influenced these decisions, and how do you seek to bring the gospel to bear in your work at the Jamaican Ministry of Higher Education?

Dr. Hines: My grandmother was a committed Christian and an important influence in my life. We had family devotions regularly, so living a Christian life was normal for me. I am not sure when I became a Christian but I was baptized at age sixteen. My doctorate in Transformational Leadership helped me to see my educational studies from a Christian perspective, which I now try to live out in my work at the Ministry of Education by being a servant leader to those who work for me and by serving and ministering to the poor, marginalized and uneducated who come through our offices.

Society: Share something you think might be of interest to your fellow Society members.

Dr. Hines: My work with the government has helped me bring my interests in educational and library studies together, but I have not taught as a lecturer for some time. I would like to return to the classroom as I focus more on becoming involved in mission-related activities. So I am grateful to help the Society as it allows me to begin reengaging in academia, especially in a Christian environment.

Many thanks for your efforts, Dr. Hines, to be the salt and light of Christ in the Jamaican Ministry of Education and in your culture. We so appreciate your service to the Society as a curator in the Resource Library.

Society Resources

Suggest a Library Resource 
Dr. Hines and the other Library curators need your help! Do you know a resource that might help your colleagues––an article, book, video, PowerPoint, etc.?  Simply click on “Suggest a Resource” at our Society Library.

A Webinar Gets Members Talking
Our most recent Society webinar, “The Outrageous Idea of Christian Teaching”, is generating further questions and discussions! Join these discussions in the Webinars: Continuing the Conversation Group. Did you miss the live webinar? No problem. You can watch it today.

A Call for Book Reviewers
In coordination with several upcoming webinars in 2021, IVP Academic Press has made several books available for review by Society members. We still have one book left: Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Social Justice, Theology, and Identity by Robert Chao Romero. If you’re interested in providing a review (up to 1,000 words) of this book, please contact Dr. Stephen Garrett (sgarrett@global-scholars.org) for further details. Reviews will be highlighted and published in a special section of our Society Member Site.

Scholarships Available for Colleagues
Do some of your colleagues struggle to afford Society membership? Remember, when inviting your friends to join our Society, to encourage them to apply for a scholarship to offset their membership fees. Simply tell them that scholarship instructions are available at registration! 

Also, don’t forget that we provide Society promotional materials for your colleagues, small groups, church functions, etc.

Upcoming Events and Webinars

Webinar: Community Cultural Wealth and the “Glory and Honor of the Nations”: A Biblical Model of Cultural Diversity
Thursday, 20 August 2020 at 1400 GMT

Some within the global Christian community shudder at the term “diversity”, believing that it implies moral relativism in a secular context. Dr. Robert Chao Romero, Associate Professor in UCLA’s César Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, who is trained in both history and law, will explore a biblical model of cultural diversity during a webinar on Thursday, 20 August 2020 at 1400 GMT.

Romero’s model places Revelation 21:26-27 in conversation with the highly influential education theory of community cultural wealth. In his presentation, he will compare and contrast the biblical framework of “the glory and honor of the nations” with Dr. Tara Yosso’s definition of community cultural wealth as “an array of knowledges, skills, abilities and contacts possessed and used by Communities of Color to survive and resist racism and other forms of oppression”. Romero is author of Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Christian Social Justice, Theology, and Identity (IVP Academic, May 2020).

Join us THIS THURSDAY for this intriguing webinar! Register below and share the URL with your colleagues!

Register here: https://scshub.net/webinars/community-cultural-wealth-and-the-glory-and-honor-of-the-nations-a-biblical-model-of-cultural-diversity-thursday-20-august-2020-at-1400-gmt/

Webinar: The Spiritual and Intellectual Journey of a Palestinian Christian Scholar
Dr. Yohanna Katanacho

Thursday, 17 September 2020 at 1400 GMT

On Thursday, 17 September 2020 at 1400 GMT, Dr. Yohanna Katanacho, Academic Dean at Nazareth Evangelical College, will discuss his faith journey as a Palestinian Christian scholar. He began as an atheist who despised the idea of God and hated his Jewish neighbors. Then, he met Christ and was transformed into a messenger of faith, hope and love. 

Dr. Katanacho has addressed complex faith questions in the Palestinian context, such as the land of Israel, justice and peace (in his 2013 book The Land of Christ: A Palestinian Cry); the relationship between Israel and the church; Romans 9-11; and reading the Old Testament as a Palestinian Christian. He has written or contributed to dozens of books in English and Arabic; his most recent book is Reading the Gospel of John Through Palestinian Eyes (2020). He is also actively involved in peacemaking in the region.

Register TODAY and share the below URL with your colleagues. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear about Dr. Katanacho’s exciting story as a Palestinian Christian scholar and peacemaker.

Register here: https://scshub.net/webinars/the-spiritual-and-intellectual-journey-of-a-palestinian-christian-scholar-thursday-17-september-2020-at-1400-gmt/

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Addenda Volume 3.8 (August 2020)
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