“Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” – I Cor. 16:13, NIV, emphasis mine [Read more…] about The Courageous Christian Scholar (Scholar’s Compass)
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge . . . Â – 2 Peter 1:5, NASB, emphasis mine
A Review of Matt Permanâ€™s Whatâ€™s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (Zondervan: 2014)
By David H. Leonard, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics, Luther Rice University, Atlanta, GA
It might be tempting to think that productivity is a topic more suitable for business leaders and entrepreneurs, for whom itâ€™s essential to â€œget things doneâ€ as efficiently as possible.Â As Matt Perman argues in Whatâ€™s Best Next, however, productivity is mainly about loving others by putting their needs first.Â Such an emphasis results not only in greater productivity, but is also consistent with a Christian view of such matters.Â Indeed, the implication is that all Christians, regardless of their vocation, are called to excel in their productivity.Â To achieve that goal, itâ€™s not sufficient that weâ€™re merely aware of the relevant skills of productivity; rather, our employment of these skills must be motivated and informed by a proper theological foundation.Â In this regard, Permanâ€™s book offers readers a unique and insightful perspective on the topic of productivity, explicitly informed by the Christian faith.
Christian scholars, in particular, ought to take seriously Permanâ€™s insights on productivity, for the ideas and principles he develops have direct relevance for the quality of their teaching and research.Â Whereas Andreas KÃ¶stenberger, for example, has challenged scholars to pursue their work with excellence, in terms of demonstrating boldness amidst the pressures of â€œacademic respectabilityâ€ and displaying integrity in their scholarly activities, Perman highlights for readersÂ the practical steps that might be taken to clear the way for such excellence to be achieved.Â [Read more…] about In Pursuit of Gospel-Driven Productivity
Not long ago I wrote anÂ Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) blog postÂ about my experiences on the tenure track, sharing my concerns about whether I would get tenure and contemplating my priorities. I wanted to think through whether tenure even should be my primary goal, and what I would give up to achieve it. It was encouraging to me to see that Iâ€™m not alone, and that others feel some of the same pressures I do. Thank you to those who commented.
Looking back, though, I realized that I made some generalizations that I probably should have qualified, and that my tone at times came across as both arrogant and whiny. In my essay, I suggested that as a Christian, itâ€™s hard to meet the universityâ€™s standards, since my values donâ€™t always correspond to the expectations of my institution. I also expressed my frustration with the pressure I have felt in Christian circles that view excellent work as part of my Christian duty. But this isnâ€™t the whole story.Â In many waysâ€”dare I say most?â€”my faith has helped me to do better work than I may have done otherwise. [Read more…] about Success, Failure and the Protestant Work Ethic
A Review of Andreas KÃ¶stenbergerâ€™s Excellence
When posted, guest contributor and ESN member David LeonardÂ had recently completed a Ph.D. in philosophy and was teaching a wide range of courses at several universities in the Twin Cities.Â His project at the time involved developing a taxonomy of the intellectual virtuesÂ to be used in college-level philosophy courses. David’s scholarship on virtue gave him particular insight to review the book under consideration,Â Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue byÂ Andreas KÃ¶stenberger, Director of PhD Studies and senior professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Now David serves as anÂ Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics at Luther Rice University in Atlanta, GA. Learn more in his bio below (Update: 4/30/2014).
Nearly twenty years ago, the esteemed Alvin Plantinga wrote the following words, in offering his advice to Christian philosophers:
The Christian philosopher who looks exclusively to the philosophical world at large, who thinks of himself as primarily belonging to that world, runs a two-fold risk. He may neglect an essential part of his task as a Christian philosopher; and he may find himself adopting principles and procedures that donâ€™t comport well with his beliefs as a Christian. What is needed, once more, is autonomy and integrality. [1. Alvin Plantinga, â€œAdvice to Christian Philosophers,â€ Faith & Philosophy, Vol. 1:3 (1984), p. 264.]
In similar fashion, according to Andreas KÃ¶stenberger, the field of biblical studies desperately needs more evangelicals that are firmly committed to the â€œnarrow path of scholarship and integrity.â€ His latest book, therefore, represents a unique and challenging contribution to the broader theme of the relationship between Christian commitment and the academic disciplines.
Excellence in Evangelical Scholarship
If George Marsdenâ€™s aim, in his provocative work, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, was to convince secular universities to take Christian scholarship more seriously, then KÃ¶stenbergerâ€™s objective, very generally, is to encourage Christian scholars to take themselves more seriously, by insisting that the terms â€œevangelicalâ€ and â€œscholarshipâ€ can be wonderfully wedded together (25). In particular, he directs his attention to young and aspiring theological students, who are â€œoften tempted to sacrifice their integrity for academic respectabilityâ€ (103). [Read more…] about Evangelical Scholarship and the Pursuit of Excellence