“Striving to Cultivate the Life of the Mind for the Sake of the Body of Christ” by Roger Lundin (Excerpt from Christ across the Disciplines

Roger Lundin is Arthur F. Holmes Professor of Faith and Learning at Wheaton College, Illinois. The excerpts that follow come from his new book Christ across the Disciplines: Past, Present, Future, an edited collection of essays written by distinguished scholars from across the theological spectrum that explores the dynamic relationship between the Christian faith and the life of the mind. 

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From the Introduction by Roger Lundin

Almost four decades ago, a professor of philosophy at a Midwestern liberal arts college published a slim volume on Christian higher education. It was, he explained years later, a book he wrote out of frustration “at narrower views of education and Christian service” he had encountered early in his teaching career. His goal was to promote an alternative view of education as the “integration of faith and learning that brings Christian beliefs and attitudes into all of life and all the arts and sciences.”

Roger Lundin
Roger Lundin

This book, The Idea of a Christian College, became a classic of its kind, and its author, Arthur Holmes, went on to exercise a powerful influence on the academic practices of several generations of Christian professors. A key to the outsized importance of Holmes’s book had to do with the forcefulness of its argument and the clarity of its expression. The Idea of a Christian College is a model of crisp, clear prose pressed into the service of a wise and deeply learned intellect. In the evangelical Protestant world of that time — 1975 — perhaps only Arthur Holmes could have produced such a work.

Strong historical forces and cultural dynamics coursed their way through The Idea of a Christian College and its arguments for the integration of faith and learning. Holmes wrote the book while teaching at his alma mater, Wheaton College. When he enrolled at Wheaton as a freshman in the fall of 1947, the college and the fundamentalist tradition it represented were gradually taking the form of what would eventually become modern evangelicalism. By the time Holmes set out to write about faith and learning in the early 1970s, the evangelical movement had expanded rapidly, and its colleges were energized to engage the academic disciplines in ways that fundamentalism had rarely sought to do.

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To describe the approach to faith and learning taken by the authors in [Christ across the Disciplines], we might begin by acknowledging the remarkable diversity evident among them. They are, to start, a theologically diverse group, with representatives from the Catholic and Anglo-Catholic traditions as well as from several Protestant denominations; some are emerging scholars of great promise, while others are established figures of longstanding importance within their fields; they have ethnically diverse backgrounds and represent an international, three-continent range of nations and cultures. As a result, whether they are developing possibilities or confronting challenges to Christian thought, the authors in this book do so as representatives of vibrant Christian traditions rather than as members of a cohort seeking to supplant what they take to be a shopworn faith and learning model.

Which is another way of saying that these authors and their essays seek to do what Arthur Holmes did almost half a century ago. They strive to cultivate the life of the mind for the sake of the Body of Christ, the church universal, which has been seeking, however imperfectly, for two thousand years to love and serve God with all that the human heart, soul, mind, and strength can offer.

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From the Table of Contents

Christ across the Disciplines
Christ across the Disciplines

Roger Lundin

The Discipline of History and the Perspective of Faith since 1900
David W. Bebbington

The Blessings of an Uneasy Conscience: Creative Tensions in Evangelical Intellectual Life
John Schmalzbauer

Science and Religion: Place, Politics, and Poetics
David N. Livingstone

On the Theology of the Intellectual Life
John Webster

Christianity and the Contemporary Challenge
Eleonore Stump

Modern Physics and Ancient Faith
Stephen M. Barr

The Future of Theology amid the Arts: Some Reformed Reflections
Jeremy S. Begbie

Emerging Conversations: Race and Redemption in the Age of Obama
Katherine Clay Bassard

“The History and Future of the World”: Christian Scholars and Race, Culture, and Nation
Sujit Sivasundaram

Click to order Christ across the Disciplines: Past, Present, Future, edited by Roger Lundin.