This spring semester, ESN is delighted to introduce a new occasional series, “Why I Appreciate Christian Scholars.” In this series, we’ll hear from believers in many vocations and walks of life who want to share an encouraging word on why they value the work of Christians in academic vocations. We launch the series today with a reflection and prayer by Gary Anderson, a Gordon-Conwell seminary student and Park Street Church pastoral intern with a background in business.
“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” —Titus 2:7-8 NIV
There are many reasons I appreciate Christian scholars. Here are a few:
They set an example. They do work that everyone benefits from and can build upon. This is true of all scholarship, but I’m grateful for distinctly Christian scholarship because it gives me a foundation to start from as I form my own Christian worldview. They open my mind to the realm of possibilities when confronted with a particular question. Christian scholars help to form our thinking (for better or worse), in a Christian way, on topics that are difficult to wrestle with. They “set an example by doing what is good.”
They are fulfilling God’s call to excellence. It is rare to meet a Christian scholar (or any scholar for that matter) who is not passionate about what they do. They have not settled for a practical job that pays the bills, but have found something they love, and have pursued it with excellence. Yet Christian scholars have all the while held that subject matter or research interest in subjection to their commitment to the Lord. With that passion comes a drive to excellence. They are “teaching with integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned.”
They are fulfilling God’s call to missions. Just like Christians who are working in Hollywood, or on Wall Street, in politics, or in thousands of other industries and cultures, Christian scholars are living counter-cultural lives and shining God’s light while neck deep in an academic culture that can be hostile to their worldview. They are holding God and scholarship in tension, and living in such a way that, “those who opposed them may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about them.”
God, I thank you for the men and women you have called, are calling, and will call to serve you in the realm of scholarship and academics. Thank you for men and women who joyfully forgo personal gain in order to serve you and your purposes, for your glory, in scholarly pursuits. Protect them from the attacks of the Evil One. Set their minds and hearts on you. May you continue to raise up Christian scholars who long to serve you, for the furthering of your Kingdom and for your own glory. In Jesus’ name we ask these things, Amen.
Originally from the Cleveland, Ohio area, Gary Anderson went to Wheaton College, and spent a decade working for an investment firm. After sensing God’s call to ministry he is now working full-time on an MDiv at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is a Pastoral Intern at his church, Park Street in Boston. He is married with four children.