Item description for The Two Tasks of the Christian Scholar: Redeeming the Soul, Redeeming the Mind by William Lane Craig, Paul M. Gould & Habib C. Malik...
Overview In 1980, Dr. Charles Malik gave a memorable and poignant address at the dedication of the Billy Graham Center on the campus of Wheaton College. He presented a challenge in two tasks: save the soul and save the mind. Malik believed that in order to evangelize the academic world, evangelism must learn to speak at an academic level. He called people to raise their level of thinking and sharpen their minds to this end. In this book several contributors seek to apply this message to our current context. It is a call to academics especially to integrate Christian faith with their disciplines and to be intellectual in their faith for the purpose of communicating at the level of their peers and students.
In 1980, Dr. Charles Malik gave a memorable and poignant addressat the dedication of the Billy Graham Center on the campus ofWheaton College. He presented a challenge in two tasks: save thesoul and save the mind. Malik believed that in order to evangelizethe academic world, evangelism must learn to speak at an academiclevel. He called people to raise their level of thinking andsharpen their minds to this end.
In this book several contributors seek to apply this message toour current context. It is a call to academics especially tointegrate Christian faith with their disciplines and to beintellectual in their faith for the purpose of communicating at thelevel of their peers and students.
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Studio: Crossway Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.56" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.46" Weight: 0.56 lbs.
Release Date Oct 5, 2007
Publisher GOOD NEWS PUBLISHING #65
ISBN 1581349394 ISBN13 9781581349399
Availability 0 units.
More About William Lane Craig, Paul M. Gould & Habib C. Malik
William Lane Craig (PhD, University of Birmingham, England; DTheol, University of Munich) is research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California, and at Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. He has authored or edited over thirty books and is the founder of ReasonableFaith.org, a web-based apologetics ministry.
William Lane Craig currently resides in the state of California. William Lane Craig was born in 1949 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, USA Catholic University of Louva.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Two Tasks of the Christian Scholar: Redeeming the Soul, Redeeming the Mind?
A call to arms Jul 30, 2008
In September 1980 Charles Malik gave a powerful talk on the need for evangelicals to reclaim the mind, and to reclaim the universities. It was published that year in a brief book called The Two Tasks. A century after his birth, a number of Christian scholars, including his son, commemorates Malik and his stirring address. Thus this book.
Seven Christian thinkers, including Peter Kreeft and William Lane Craig, remind us of the crucial importance of what Charles Malik said on that September day. And it was indeed a vital message. I have pulled from my shelves that quite thin volume (a mere 37 pages) and reread that incisive message.
Malik rightly said that the "greatest danger besetting American Evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism." He also said that the most urgent need is "not only to win souls but to save minds". He correctly noted that the universities are the real battle ground today, and we need to see Christ exalted there as much as anywhere else.
He gave his speech at a leading evangelical university, Wheaton College. In his impassioned address, he said he craved to see "an institution that will produce as many Nobel Prize winners as saints". The authors of this new book fully agree, and urge us to take seriously the challenges made by Malik.
Paul Gould reminds us that our universities and professors are the gatekeepers of ideas, and that they have a tremendous influence on every other aspect of life. If bad ideas come forth from our universities, then we will all be on the receiving end, because bad ideas have bad consequences.
Indeed, Malik warned decades ago that the ideas mainly emanating from our universities are not exactly faith-friendly. Worldviews and ideas such as naturalism, humanism, materialism, hedonism, relativism, nihilism, atheism and cynicism are rife in our institutions of higher learning. "All of which are essentially so many modes of self-worship" said Malik. "Any wonder there is so much disorder in the world?"
And the truth that ideas have consequences applies on the individual level as well as the social level. Gould says "there is a two-way causal connection between moral character and intellectual virtue". Indeed, Paul makes the connection when he speaks of "the knowledge of truth that leads to godliness" (Titus 1:1); and being "transformed by the renewing of our minds" (Roman 12:2).
William Lane Craig offers many great insights in his essay. He too acknowledges that "the single most important institution shaping Western culture is the university". Thus the importance of the Christian mind: "If we change the university, we change our culture".
Craig cites J. Gresham Machen who wrote in 1912: "False ideas are the greatest obstacle to the reception of the gospel". Although the battle for truth and ideas is so crucial, most believers have shirked their duties in this regard. Evangelicals especially have "for the most part been living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence".
But Craig says there have been some signs of hope. He refers to the impact of Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga's 1967 book, God and Other Minds, for example. He also notes how one atheist philosopher bewailed the fact that perhaps one-quarter to one-third of all American philosophers are now theists.
He reminds us that Christian academics stand on the church's frontline "in one of the most important theatres in the culture war, that of the university". He reminds them to carefully integrate their Christian faith with their academic calling.
The various essays contained in this much-needed volume remind us of some central truths - truths which Malik sought to hammer home back in 1980. They remind us, as Malik put it, that at the "heart of all the problems facing Western civilization ... lies the state of the mind and the spirit in the universities".
Malik was right to argue that all our ills stem primarily from the "false philosophies that have been let loose in the world and that are now being taught in the universities". And the consequences have been profound. "No civilization can endure with its mind being as confused and disordered as ours is today".
Fortunately, Malik's original address is included in this volume. The writers of these essays urge us to take seriously this most urgent of challenges. They, like Malik, have sounded the trumpet. The question is, who will respond?
Required Reading for Christians in Academia May 20, 2008
I got the book when it came out in October. Since then I have read it three times, lent it out to 4 different people, and led a small group examining the book.
The book is well balanced with the philosophical and abstract characteristics for the integration of faith and learning and for evangelism in academia, and with practical and specific methods for accomplishing this. Not only this, but the contributors come from a wide variety of disciplines and each has a different slant to their insight.
The introduction by Gould was one of my favorite chapters, though it only reads like an introduction for a few pages. I may be showing my affinity for philosophy, but the chapter by Peter Kreeft was incredible. As soon as I finished I saw that I had taken so many quotes from it with the intention of sharing with some friends that I just handed the book over with the chapter bookmarked. Speaking as someone weary from fighting the battles over the integration of faith and learning and the proper place for faith and religion in academia, this book was an excellent refocusing and encouragement.
My only problem is that Malik's chapter on the priority of uniting the orthodoxes and caring for our churches around the world didn't really belong in the book. I thought it was a great call to service, but perhaps it would be better placed in another book or journal, as it really didn't touch on Christian scholarship. But this won't knock the review down to 4 stars because the material in the rest of the book more than makes up for the flaw I just mentioned.
I apologize for not being terribly specific in the review, but the other reviews on this site have already done a good job with that. I encourage you to look at them should you want more specifics on the material.
Two Tasks of the Christian Scholar...Paul Gould's Ch 1, is fabulous Mar 31, 2008
I got up at 3am to turn down the heat in the house and saw the book on my desktop. I read the foreword and chapter one. Chapter one is worth the price of the book. I loved the way Paul Gould unpacks the difference between 'agnostic pluralism' (merely being allowed a seat at the table of philosophical relativism) versus the 'committed pluralism' (what I believe Os Guiness calls a 'principled pluralism) which the book attributes to L. Newbigin.
I loved the C.S. Lewis quotes throughout the chapter in the text and footnotes. One example was on scholarship not being an end in itself but neither being merely instrumental and linking such to an essay from "God in the Dock" and to a C.S. Lewis's speech, and in the illustrative footnote from John Piper on worship and mission and the One who is Ultimate. What an intriguing way to get at scholarship as an act of worship, not of the endeavor but of the God who affirms it.
The world-view overview and the part on human flourishing (which is the theme of the upcoming GFM conference) was vintage creation mandate BUT the book's mention of the significant missing puzzle piece for many, e.g. the part on the image of God and human responsibility as moral agents was masterful. Paul Gould's mention of how Darwinian determinism and American autonomous individualism really hate that reality was worth the late night musing.
In his rendition of recent history (on the shoulders of Mark Noll and others) of the western university and Christian transformational potentials, mentioning study centers like MacLaurin in Minnesota where I have a friend now studying in a Ph.D. program at Indiana University, and Harvey Fellowships where I also have a friend at I.U. are all worthy affirmations. What Gould offers as hope is indeed such. I've seen the scholarly fruit and high caliber players.
Quotes from F. Schaeffer, M. Noll, G. Marsden, D.A. Carson, and even the select ones from L. Newbigin all rocked in the big picture challenge Paul Gould describes as did his distinguishing scientism and naturalism. Well written.
Thank you Paul for your part in editing this work and for your chapter in particular. I love Peter Kreeft's writing and KNOW I'm going to love that chapter as well as Walter Bradley's. Got to stop the review and read the rest. All the grad students and faculty I know at Purdue and I.U. really need to read, read slowly, savor, and discuss this chapter in particular. The familiar dodge (in a new context) on the 'play the game' (kind of a methodological naturalism) and wait for getting through the ABD phase, to waiting for tenure, to waiting for more time... pg 30...oh goodness, bulls eye challenging but it is written very graciously as is the tone throughout the chapter.
Did I mention the book's high view of biblical authority (if chapter one is any indication)? It is a very rich book indeed. Get it. Enjoy it. Share it widely!
Outstanding resource for Christian scholars Jan 21, 2008
This is an outstanding collection of essays centered around the theme of Charles Malik's 1980 address regarding redeeming the soul and the mind. It seeks to encourage Christian academics to glorify Christ in the secular university both in their academic research and their spiritual lives. Far from proffering a simplistic vision of the calling of a Christian academic, the book presents a deeply thoughtful, godly and concerned critique of the secular academy and how Christian scholars might successfully navigate the unfriendly waters there.
Perhaps the best essay in the book is the first one, Gould's "Two Tasks Introduced." The interesting and original discussion here of what "academic integration" really means is thought-provoking and immensely useful for those concerned with questions such as "what exactly is Christian scholarship?" and "what is an integrated Christian life?" Gould makes a helpful distinction between "explicit Christian research" and "latent Christian research," and how both can further Christian thought. "Explicit" Christian research is research that is asking "distinctly Christian questions" or "applying distinctly Christian concepts," while "latent" Christian research supports or implies the Christian worldview without explicitly discussing it. Both are useful and necessary in the academy, Gould says. But he doesn't rest there when describing the Two Tasks, as he includes the life and worship of the scholar in his definition. That is, in order to be a fully integrated Christian scholar, such a scholar must seek to glorify God with her life, how she treats and serves others, as well as standing up for Christ when necessary. These latter, practical areas are topics which, it must be admitted, are all too often forgotten in discussions of this type. Also included in this chapter is Gould's sketch of the metanarrative of Scripture and what that implies for distinctly Christian scholarship.
The essays by Robert Kaita, a physicist at Princeton, and John North, English professor at the University of Waterloo (Canada), are also very thought-provoking reflections on the two tasks from the perspectives of the sciences and the humanities, respectively. Kaita places the Christian integrative life within Paul's address at Mars Hill (Acts 17:16-34), and then discusses Intelligent Design with regard to Paul's approach to his audience at Athens. Kaita makes quite useful observations about the term "theory" as it is applied in physics, and how that differs from its use in biology. This, he says, has interesting implications for the acceptance of Intelligent Design in biology. North, as well, makes very interesting observations about the Christian roots of Western literature, and how his teaching of such literature has led to many spiritual discussions with students. In fact, North says, it was his study of the Christian symbolism in Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" which led him to study English literature as a career. He encourages scholars to simply select certain texts and let those texts, which have Christian themes, speak for themselves in the classroom.
There are a number of other outstanding essays in the book as well. Walter Bradley, professor of Engineering at Baylor University, gives very practical suggestions in his essay about how to reach out with the gospel to students and colleagues in a secular environment. Charles Malik's original "Two Tasks" address is reprinted here, and his son Habib Malik writes the introduction as well as an essay about the Two Tasks and "the clash of civilizations." William Lane Craig and Peter Kreeft offer fitting tributes to Charles Malik as well. Overall, this volume is an essential one for the scholar who desires to glorify God in the secular academy through integrative research as well as richly-flourishing soul. Highly recommended.
The Imperative Oct 26, 2007
The imperative for the Christian thinker is to integrate being a Christian with living and working in the academic world. A decade ago Should God Get Tenure? explored the legitimacy and participation of the Christian in the academic world. In The Two Tasks of the Christian Scholar, William Lane Craig and Paul M. Gould, with a cadre of academics, take the work of Charles Malik and propose the place and participation of the Christian in the academy. What they propose is specifically Christian, without compromise and without equivocation.
There is no honest Christian in the academy who compromises Christianity and attempts to segregate Faith from Knowledge. The fully integrated life is the best life for ministry. The following are some of the more significant points made in the book:
As Christian scholars continue to permeate academia we will have the opportunity to open doors for the gospel. That is one of the themes of this book. Not theocracy, not a conquest of the university, but an advance into a world often untouched by the Christian. It is sometimes closed, but when it opens, Christians as capable scholars and participants will gain the opportunity for ministry in the secular cathedrals.
Ideas have consequences, and the university in general and professors in particular are the gate-keepers of ideas -- influencing directly or indirectly all aspects of thought and life in our world. Christian professors must live a fully integrated life even in the face of challenges from within and without, for the sake of the lost -- and as Malik states, for our future generation of children. (p. 19)
...this very obvious fact -- that each generation is taught by an earlier generation -- must be kept firmly in mind .... None can give to another what he does not possess himself. No generation can bequeath to its successor what it has not got. You may frame the syllabus as you please. But when you have planned and reported ad nauseum, if we are skeptical we shall teach only skepticism to our pupils, if fools, only folly, if vulgar only vulgarity, if saints sanctity, if heroes heroism. ... Nothing which was not in the teachers can flow from theminto the pupils. We shall all admit that a man who knows no Greek himself cannot teach Greek to his form: But it is equally certain that a man whose mind was formed in a period of cynicism and disillusion cannot teach hope and fortitude. (p. 30, quoting C. S. Lewis, "On the Transmission of Christianity," in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics)
Gone are the days of Constantinian Christianity where Christianity rules the culture. Rather, we should be principled pluralists -- recognizing that to be a Christian is always to stand in tension with what the Bible calls the world. (p. 41)
The Christian scholar is on the front lines of the battle of ideas. (p. 49)
I urge every Christian in the academy, as a student or a professor, to read this work along side Should God Get Tenure? Then take some time to evaluate your position and your ministry with all honesty.