Society Executive Committee member Joel Heugel, Ph.D.
Looking for a creative way to inform colleagues about the Society? Look no further! You can share this video by Society Executive Committee member Joel Heugel, Ph.D. (University of Washington). Prof. Heugel, originally from Mexico, is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Guadalajara, Mexico and Visiting Researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Spread the news!
From the Executive Chair
I feel very excited that the Society of Christian Scholars is no longer a proposal but a reality. Praise God!
Let me seize this opportunity to congratulate everyone who contributed to the formation of the Society. Although it began as the vision of a few, it quickly became the project of many nations, tribes and tongues! For over a decade, the train had been moving towards its destination, sometimes inching its way slowly and sometimes increasing velocity, depending on the leading of the Holy Spirit. As in every train journey, we did not all begin from the same station––some joined at the beginning, others in the middle, while others joined towards the end of the journey. Today, as we celebrate the birth of the Society, we must all join our voices to echo the words of the Psalmist: “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes!” (Psalm 118:23).
Congratulations to all of you who sacrificed valuable time and resources to give birth to the Society. It would be impossible to mention all the wonderful people who played a role in the project. What we see today as the website is a product of God’s grace as he motivated dozens of committed men and women from all over the world to action. We must acknowledge the leadership of Global Scholars for all its hard work and focus on the vision. I also wish to acknowledge the Society’s planning team for their useful suggestions during the journey; the beta testers, without whom we would not have noticed various errors; members of the technical team, who did so many things behind the scenes and resolved numerous vexing issues; and all those who agreed to serve on the Executive Committee. To these and many more, including all those who have just joined as members, I say congratulations.
As we move on together as a family, let us always remember our statement of purpose, which reads as follows:
The Society of Christian Scholars exists to equip missional Christian academics to have a redemptive influence for Christ among their students, colleagues, institutions, and academic disciplines.
I cherish these words greatly and I consider them a call to duty. Wherever we go, it is our duty to seek missional Christian academics, and when we find them, it is our duty to draw on the resources of the Society to equip them. This is our pledge as we march into the future. May God give us the grace to honour it. Amen.
Osam Edim Temple
The Executive Committee chose its first-ever Chair, Professor Osam Edim Temple, on January 17. He is also the Society of Christian Scholars’ regional representative for Anglophone Africa. Professor Temple and his family reside in Abuja, Nigeria.
Considerations: A Devotional
‘A Christian scholar can find several reasons to integrate faith and scholarship. Because truth is a unity, compartmentalisation of one’s faith commitments and one’s scholarly discipline is effectively denying God’s lordship over all of life. Vocational integrity requires that Christian scholars allow their faith to inform their scholarship. God has called Christians to excellence in all activities of life, including scholarship. Jesus Christ provides the foundation, motive, and sustenance for learning. For these reasons, the integration of faith and scholarship is a vital function of a Christian academic.
‘The above reasons gain greater meaning and significance within the larger framework of God’s story as articulated in the Bible. Drawing on this grand narrative of Scripture can help Christian scholars develop a more robust model of faithfulness. In my opinion, it is a failure to fully appreciate the biblical narrative that has produced many disparate and truncated views of the integration of faith and scholarship. Although [many] authors address the topic of integrating faith and scholarship, [some fail] to clearly define academic disciplines and/or place such integration within the grand narrative of Scripture, [and therefore] overlook a key component of faithfulness. That key component is the missional impulse that runs throughout Scripture. Consequently, we will be guided by this missional impulse in developing a model of faithfulness. The missional calling does not dichotomize the sacred and the secular. God’s mission includes all of creation. Under the Lordship of Christ, worship and work, prayer and conversation with friends, and all of life are divinely ordained activities that can bring honor and glory to Christ. Thus, part of the scholar’s task is to think biblically about how to connect research, teaching, and service in the academy to the progress of the gospel in all of its dimensions, bringing shalom and blessing to all the earth.
‘To integrate faith and scholarship, Christian scholars would be wise (1) to value the intrinsic good of academic pursuits (see below), (2) to pursue research that engages their—and, given the current need for interdisciplinary pursuits, other—academic disciplines, and at the same time (3) to engage the needs of the world. By taking this approach, scholars can provide the world with a plausible view of the gospel, and their research can be directed toward meeting tangible needs, both physical and spiritual. Thus, any model of faithfulness within the university or an academic discipline must consider the missional calling of the Christian scholar. A key question, then, is this: How does the Christian scholar, guided by the missional imperative, faithfully serve Christ within an academic discipline?’
An excerpt from Paul Gould, with D. Keith Campbell, Li Ma, Omar Montero, Granville W. Pillar, Osam Edim Temple, and Bee-Lan C. Wang, The Outrageous Idea of the Missional Professor, 107–109. Download the entire book below.
Free e-Book The Outrageous Idea of the Missional Professor: International Edition is now available for all Society members. The outrageous idea of this book is that God wants to use professors as professors to reach others, transform the academy, and meet the needs of the world. Download a free copy of this e-book today!
Newly added Local Community Recently Prof. Neil Foster posted on our Society member site information about a local community of Christian Scholars. We contacted Neil and asked him to tell us more about his group. Here is his reply:
‘At the University of Newcastle, a regional city in New South Wales, Australia, there is a small group of Christian academics and post-graduate students meeting regularly for prayer, Bible study, encouragement, discussion on the relevance of the Christian faith to academic life, and to testify to Christ in the University. There are two groups, one which meets on the main (Callaghan) campus in the suburbs, from 8–8:30 am for prayer every Thursday in the Chaplaincy Centre and one which meets fortnightly in the new Central Business District campus on the 5th floor of the University building from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. More details are available on the group Facebook page.’
New Database Added! Would you like to hear from some of the leading experts on biblical, theological, and philosophical figures, themes, and events? If so, check out the Theology and Philosophy Video Timeline, a database created by a team in the U.K. providing illustrated video content from over 100 specialists.
Here is how one theology professor praised the reliability and content of the database: ‘I find this a superb resource for teaching undergraduate and graduate students, and always encourage students to go here first. The Timeline Project attracts leading experts on key thinkers and movements. These experts not only manage to provide a highly stimulating introduction to the topic but often set out state-of-the-art research. The student is introduced to a thinker in the best possible way, being taken directly to the heart of fundamental questions, by someone who has lived with the material for a long time. The visual backdrops are subtle and well-judged, enhancing the listener’s engagement. There is nothing quite like it available anywhere else, and it gets more comprehensive in its range week by week.’ –Prof. Christopher Insole (University of Durham).
Society Profile Your Society Profile helps you connect to colleagues more easily by letting them know your discipline and academic interests. Compare the two profiles shown below and complete yours today!
Participants will be encouraged to learn about the notion of beauty and its progression throughout the ages. Rich understandings of Russian values, in the light of this notion, will help to highlight the spiritual, cultural, and historical developments in Russia during the past ten centuries. Engagement with Russian traditional icon painting will help to clarify perceptions and visions of beauty through insights into the values of Russian Orthodoxy.
Conference Internationale de Recherche Interdisciplinaire in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) Theological studies, like those in other disciplines, are taking new directions in terms of content, didactic approaches, and research methods. Unfortunately, for several reasons, some researchers and students are struggling to adapt to these changes. At this conference, the speakers, professors from several universities, will report on this reality in relation to their fields of research: Old Testament, New Testament, Systematic Theology, Church History, Practical Theology, and Missiology. Master/DEA and Ph.D. students and other researchers will benefit from this conference for their scientific work and can now register.