Overcoming Division (Addenda 5.10 October 2022)

How to be a Christian Scholar in an Age of Division

Dr. Sam


In my conversations with many Christian scholars in recent years, there has been widespread talk about a growing phenomenon: differing views on politics, society, and culture are alienating people with different perspectives. This situation is occurring not just in the West, but also in Asia and other places. Divisions are apparent not only among non-Christians; they are spreading to Christians as well.


There has always been a plurality of views, with people on the left, on the right, and in the middle. However, in recent years, there seems to be less and less consensus among different groups. With the emergence of the Covid epidemic, the split between left and right in society has been further exacerbated. This raises a question: how should we function as Christian scholars in an era of division?


Honestly, this is a difficult question to answer. But the Bible and the history of Christianity may provide us with some insight. In the Gospels, at the time of Jesus, there were huge differences among the Jews, as well as between Jews and non-Jews. The Jews had different ideological positions, represented by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Zealots. And the Jews, as a minority in the Roman Empire, also had a different religious and political attitude from everyone else. In the Gospels, Jesus did not avoid dealing with these division, but he more heavily emphasized the gospel and the message of the Kingdom.


Throughout Christian history, and especially in the early church, great thinkers seeking to respond to the different cultures and religions around them developed highly insightful and dynamic theologies. At the time of the Reformation, theologians were in a similarly divisive scenario as we face today, as traditional Europe was transformed by nation-states and new political forces. Theologians were not silent in the face of social problems; their theologies sought to respond to their context. In other words, Christian wisdom and theological insight grow out of the encounter between social crisis and Christian faith.


Today, the divisions plaguing our societies can make us feel anxious and uneasy. But for a Christian scholar, this crisis also offers the opportunity to encourage deeper understanding. Crises can help us understand more deeply what the essence of the gospel is, and they also stimulate us to understand the relationship between transcendent faith and a specific social situation.


When we encounter a crisis, we often tend to assume that our present crisis is unprecedented. But when we open the Bible and look back at history, we find striking similarities with previous time periods in history from which we can learn, just as Ecclesiastes 1:9 says “there is nothing new under the sun”. And thus, one important task of Christian scholars is to study and apply these similarities.

Dr. Sam (Asia Regional Representative)

First retreat for a Society of Christian Scholars local small group, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Recently, our local small group in Buenos Aires, which  has been meeting for more than five years for movie discussions, had our first retreat. We come from different churches. Our ages vary from the mid-twenties to age 70. Some of us are professors, some are writers and several are university students. Years ago, we began to think about creating a Christian Studies Center in Buenos Aires. There are more than 700,000 students in this city, attending 42 universities. They come from all over South America to study here. 


Our vision is to be a community that cultivates thinking about all of reality in light of the biblical worldview and exerts a redemptive and missional influence in the university, the public sphere, and the church. 


Our mission is to provide a space for community dialogue and learning based on the biblical worldview, offering resources, programs and services to students, academics, leaders, and anyone who wants to participate, with a local and regional focus.


Please pray for us as we seek to accomplish our mission. 


Right to Left: Ezequiel, Nelsón (behind), Micaela, Richard, Ivan, Alejandro (behind), Omar.

Omar Montero is the Society’s South America Regional Representative. You can connect with his local small group here. You can connect with Omar directly here: omontero@SocietyofChristianScholars.org



The Society’s bi-monthly Library Reading Group, led by Dr. Marlene Hines, begins this week on Friday, 21 October 2022 at 1400 UTC. The first reading selection will be Lesslie Newbigin’s “The Gospel and the Cultures.” Join this informal conversation as we seek to grow together in our understanding of what it means for Christian academics to have redemptive influence in the pluralistic university! Be sure to register today!

Society Opportunities

Calling All Authors! The Society is looking for interested authors who would like to write a 6,000- to 8,000-word study guide related to one of the following topics: (1) Integration of Faith and Scholarship, (2) Spiritual Formation, (3) Interacting with Cultures, (4) Pursuing Vocational Excellence, or (5) Relational and Leader Development. These study guides are designed to facilitate personal growth, for small-group conversations, or even as the basis for a workshop. They’re oriented to Christian academics who desire to have redemptive influence among students, colleagues, and disciplines in pluralistic universities

If you’re interested in writing a study guide for the Society, contact Dr. Stephen Garrett (sgarrett@global-scholars.org) and he will provide you with the study guide prospectus and an author proposal guide. If the proposal is accepted by the editorial team, remuneration between $600 and $800 USD is available.

Call for Book Reviewers

If you would like to write a 1000-word review on one of the following books, please contact Dr. Stephen Garrett at sgarrett@global-scholars.org for further details. Reviews will be highlighted and published in a special section of our Society member site.

Annual Global Scholars Grant Opens 1 November 2022


The Annual Global Scholars Grant (2023) application form will be available by link on 1 November 2022. The application will remain open until the submission deadline on 1 February 2023. The Grant Evaluation Committee will administer several grants between $500 and $2,000 USD! The purpose of these grants is to provide funding to help Society members become better equipped to fulfill their calling in academia.  View the additional grant details here.

Upcoming Conference

Here is an announcement from an exciting upcoming conference for evangelical women in Asia.

Asia Evangelical Alliance Women Commission Conference: “Deeper, Higher for Greater Fruitfulness”


WHY? This gathering of women leaders across Asia is intended to encourage, empower and inspire women to rise to greater heights in the Kingdom of God on earth. Asia as a whole is coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic with great pains and losses. We need to gather to be re-affirmed, re-charged and re-fired, with John 15 as our Word and revelation. You as a women leader in the family, church and marketplace have been doing amazing work, and this conference will lift you up further in strength and cheer you on in the Lord.

WHAT? We have lined up three wonderful and anointed speakers who will speak on Intimacy, Identity and Influence, three keys to greater fruitfulness in the Kingdom we serve. We are excited for what God wants to speak to us as Asian women.

WHO? This Conference is open to all female pastors, pastors’ wives, women in ministry and the marketplace, and particularly emerging younger female leaders under 30 years old. Please invite them personally on our behalf to attend. It will be our joy to have all these women come together.

DATE: November 4 and 5, 2022
VENUE: Via Zoom. A zoom link will be sent to you after registration.

Again, to register, please complete the information in this link: Event Registration – Google Forms

We look forward to hosting you, connecting with you and having an anointed time in the presence of God together as women from across Asia.

In Christ alone,

AEA Women Commission

Upcoming Webinars

The Power of the Powerless by Josh Hayden and Monika MacDonagh-Pajerová – Thursday, 20 October 2022 at 1400 UTC

High in the mountains on the border of Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1978, a dangerous meeting took place between intellectuals of these two countries, both under totalitarian regimes. Risking arrest, the group of dissidents decided they needed a clear articulation of their movement and commitment. One of the attendees was the banned playwright
Vaclav Havel, who wrote an essay called “The Power of the Powerless” as a result of that meeting.


In this essay, Havel, who had many close associates who were Christians, challenged his readers to ‘live in truth’, a concept which Havel himself acknowledged as biblical. The essay was circulated underground and internationally, profoundly emboldening the efforts of many groups fighting for human dignity and freedom under repressive regimes. In 1989, Havel’s essay was brought to life in his own country during the Velvet Revolution. What can we learn from Havel’s essay? How can those living under repressive governments today faithfully, and in community, ‘live in truth’?


On Thursday, 20 October 2022 at 1400 UTC, Dr. Josh Hayden, Department Chair of Social Sciences at Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic, and Dr. Monika MacDonagh-Pajerová, a leading personality from the 1989 Velvet Revolution, advisor to Havel for foreign affairs, and lecturer at Charles University and the CEVRO Institute (both in Prague), will discuss the main points and themes of Havel’s essay, how it influenced the Velvet Revolution, and how dissident movements today might be able to ‘live in truth’ under oppressive circumstances.

Join the conversation by registering below as we reflect on these important and relevant questions that many Christian academics face today. As background, be sure to read Havel’s essay.


Immediately following the webinar, you will have the opportunity to connect and catch up with colleagues from around the world. So plan to stay on the call for another 30 minutes or so if possible.

“He Leadeth Me”: My Three Decades of Adventure in Conflict Resolution Scholarship by Olajide Olagunju – Thursday, 17 November 2022 at 1400 UTC


As a young lawyer thirty-three years ago, Dr. Olajide Olagunju endeavored to settle his cases amicably. He was not a Christian; indeed, at one point, he considered himself an atheist. Yet Dr. Olagunju is convinced now that even when he did not know God personally, God was still guiding him.


Twenty-six years ago, Dr. Olagunju gave his life to Jesus Christ. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, he grew more and more conscious of God’s leadership in his life, becoming an internationally respected mediator. How did God produce this change in his life?


On Thursday, 17 November 2022 at 1400 UTC, Dr. Olagunju, adjunct professor of Organizational and Business Dispute Resolution at Bakke Graduate University, will discuss what God has taught him through developing the ‘Seven Secrets of Effective Conflict Resolution’. Be sure to read the summary of his award winning e-book, How to Resolve a Conflict, as background for the conversation. We hope you will be able to join the conversation by registering below.


Immediately following the webinar, you will have the opportunity to connect and catch up with colleagues from around the world. So plan to stay on the call for another 30 minutes or so if possible.

Note: Be sure to explore the Soceity Webinars Page for upcoming webinars including third-party webinars that are often added with short notice and for updated presenters and topics that may be helpful in equipping you to bring the gospel to bear in your university context.

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