Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Mission of a Christian Scholar

I've been thinking about the question of what, as a Christian NT scholar, is my vocation, purpose, calling, mandate or mission? I came up with the following manifesto:

As a Christian scholar my goals are:

(1) To assist in the spiritual and theological formation of students and to enable them to articulate and live out a Christian worldview.

(2) To act as a mediator between the Academy and the Church, which involves making scholarship a tool for Christians and deciphering the complexities of modern debates for non-academics.

(3) To make contributions to the collective knowledge of biblical and theological research through continuous and disciplined efforts in research for the benefit of fellow scholars, theological students, and lay people.

(4) To equip Christians to discover a ‘faith seeking understanding’.


Jim said...

On 1- Perhaps you should also include something about the intellectual formation of your students.

On 2- I agree completely- indeed, as you can imagine, I share this goal with you.

On 3- My interest is in the opposite direction- i.e., to make a contribution to the intellectual life of the Church as the community of faith without concern as to how the academy views that contribution.

True, I don't think they are mutually exclusive- but the central concern has to be one or the other. Either / Or.

On 4- Again, we agree. Understanding seeking faith is idolatry. It is that approach that characterizes, in my mind, the work of fundamentalists and some evangelicals. This is, at its heart, the difference I have with Joe Cathey; i.e., his work seems to base faith ON understanding whereas I see understanding as based ON faith.

Anonymous said...

These are very ambitious goals!

Keep up the good work.

eddie said...

This is very helpful for me, as I wonder whether I will go down this track in the future.

Thnx Mike

Paulos said...

Great summary of a Christian scholar's mission!