F&L a Brief Overview

Bringing together Our Faith and Our Learning

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The Ontological Perspective

From an objective and eternal perspective no division can ever occur between theology and other disciplines in the academy.  Everything is theological.  And, as Anselm says, “Theology is faith seeking understanding.”  The verb is highlights the essence of truth and knowledge finding its generation in God.  By way of analogy, in The Silmarillion Tolkein helps us to see that man and Satan (Melkor) do not create truth or knowledge; they pervert it or destroy it. God alone is the author of truth.  So, in essence faith and learning are integrated.  Why then, must we explore an integration of Faith and Learning?

 

The Historical Perspective

Through history we have seen that mankind has exercised a God-given ability to explore concepts and know the truth.  Romans tells us that from the beginning God made things plain through natural revelation; in other passages we find that God made known the truth through Scripture and the Truth’s embodiment in Christ. 

 

From the inception of Christianity there has been a tendency toward division.  The division of Faith and Learning has been one area that Satan has used to marginalize the church of God.  Tertullian complained, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” It seems that there are those who believe that by faith we transcend logic, knowledge and truth in its universal usage.  In The Renaissance there were many Christian thinkers who had a unified view of the world where the truths that they understood as extra-biblical were not a surprise to the mind of God.  However, the church’s opposition to scientific investigation, especially in cosmology, created a rift between the church and academia.  In the time of The Enlightenment the rift became a chasm.  Theologians like Schleiermacher were on the cutting edge of bringing Christianity into the scientific age – but they did it by opening the door to demythologizing and skepticism. We see a high view of man dominate anthropology and a low view of sin enter the common psyche.

 

Christian scholarship was undermined by the revivals of North America which emphasized emotional responses to impassioned deliveries, rather than careful investigation of truth claims.  In the face of new ideas like Darwinism and Marxism, Christians responded by refusing to engage in debate and forming a separatist Fundamentalist enclave.  Faith was to be practiced in the private sphere of life; learning was for public life.  Theology was relegated to a hobby and an opiate for the weak. 

 

The Modern and Post-Modern Dilemma

Christians today do not put enough time into studying theology.  I recently visited an evangelical church where a pastor publicly declared that they had no theology.  Christians no longer know how to think christianly about truth claims.  Academia has been dominated by the Modernist and Post-Modernist world views so that many Christians read the Bible with Naturalistic or Relativistic worldviews rather than reading the world with a Christian world view.  We see students who believe that many contradictory assumptions about a passage can be held at the same time.  We see students who tenaciously hold onto the opinion that a verse can mean what they want it to, when their interpretation contradicts millennia of Christian Scholarship.  What should we do to reassert that ‘all truth is God’s truth’?

 

The Integration Solution

Integration of Faith and Learning is more than living a Christ-centered life before the students.  A housewife, CEO or truck-driver should do that.  The peculiar task of Christian educators is to show how the knowledge of their discipline is rooted in the revelation of God.  This is more than illustrating theological concepts.  An example of this misapplication would be that 2+2=4 so we can always depend on God.  Despite the fact that 2+2 does not equal 4 in modular arithmetic, the truths here are parallel but not necessarily connected.  Integration relies on the necessary existence of God.  Nothing else in the universe is necessary.  Because all truth claims in every discipline relate to the nature of God, the rigorous academic has a duty to show the connection.  With our 2+2=4 analogy, it would be good for the academic to show that 2+2 is a concept that is generated in the mind, which is disproof of some basic naturalistic worldview assumptions – specifically, that the origin of all truth is external. 

 

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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2 Responses to F&L a Brief Overview

  1. greaseball says:

    i’m not dissing Myers-Briggs…it has revealed and explained a lot about me
    anyways, God is teaching me a lot and preparing me for something…just not sure what yet.
    i was talking to some Christian friends Saturday night and I was able to share Christian Education with them and it was like a foreign concept to them on how to approach teaching with a Christian worldview…one even came from a Christian school (high school, and he is now in Grad School for Elec. Eng.) but still they didn’t fully grasp starting with God and then explaining everything else in all of education….or they didn’t see it as necessary to use God in all of your teaching (i.e. math).  My heart is sad and I wish I could send them to Moody but I’ll keep working on them.
    I hope all is well at Moody, tell everyone (your wife, Mrs. Kendrick, and Mrs. Fledderjohann) hello and I miss them greatly!
    Kristin

  2. prgeri says:

    If you want this Christian Educators to follow, you gotta dumb it down a little. Really Peter? Was the last paragraph necessary? But seriously, I love the piece, I just wish I didn’t have to read it four times to try to get it. It sounds great, but it’s not so easy to make those “connections” especially when there is almost no time to just research and plan your strategy, material, scope and tactics… oh, and Teach! Not to mention all other necessary functions, bodily and otherwise. And I only have TWO!This would be a great concentration in a Christian education degree. I miss your teaching.2+2 is not 4? Now I have to go google modular arithmetics? Can you give me another conclusion here?JK (hey, I’m hip now – kids are teaching me text lingo…)Geri

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