One of the things we are aiming to do through Faith-in-Scholarship is to direct Christian postgraduates (and others) to helpful resources and initiatives. This week I wanted to draw your attention to a book that helped me understand the academic task from a Christian worldview. This book is Cornelius Plantinga’s “Engaging God’s World: A Christian vision of faith, learning and living”.
Engaging God’s World is essentially a Bible overview split into the three aspects of God’s plan for the world: creation, fall, redemption, before finishing by demonstrating how these three aspects affect our vocation.
What’s important about Plantinga’s book, and what sets it apart from other Bible overviews, is that it doesn’t just retell the story of the Bible but invites the reader to think about what effect the Christian worldview should have on his/her life.
To share one particularly apt conclusion, Plantinga writes, "Learning is a spiritual calling: properly done, it attaches us to God. In addition, the learned person has, so to speak, more to be Christian with."
Plantinga reminds us that the academic life (and, indeed learning more broadly!) can be a calling: something that God wants us to do. Not only this but, Plantinga points out, investing time in understanding God’s world means that we will have more opportunities to show off God’s creation for what it is: God’s.
I found Plantinga’s invitation to academia so compelling I started an MA and now PhD – but it also came with a stark warning. Plantinga writes:
“Christian students on secular campuses may expect to stand against these ideas without caving in to them and without hardening into pious anti-intellectuals. If so, they expect a lot. And if they expect to develop a mature Christian philosophy of life without the help of their professors – in fact, with the hindrance of some of their professors – they expect even more.”
Plantinga, as such, encourages Christian students and scholars to be seeking to be actively engaged in some Christian organisation or institution that will help them develop a Christian philosophy able to correctly steer the young Christian academic toward developing a rigorous Christian worldview that will enable them to be better disciples for Christ. A central aim of Faith-in-Scholarship.
So I thoroughly recommend this book for those who are about to start out on the road of learning, whether undergraduate or taught graduate study or those of you who are engaged in high-level graduate or academic research, Plantinga’s book offers a must-read apologetic for knowing and developing a thorough Christian worldview for anyone in the academy.