Recently we’ve been running a mini-series of posts on “Why faith-in-scholarship?” These attempt to provide reasons for and excite Christian academics to be engaging their disciplines from a distinctly Christian perspective.
Today we thought we’d share with you some aims of the FiSch Fellows, the team of us who write this blog wanting to see Christians pursuing their calling to live for Christ in the academy.
Faith-in-scholarship (FiSch) pursues three types of activity:
- Nurture of Christian postgraduates’ groups in order to foster discussion that recognises Christ’s authority in all things, including academic work;
- Facilitating the mentoring of Christian students by mature Christian thinkers.
- Conferences and collaborations for learning, research and development in the paradigm of reformational philosophy.
The first of these is the primary aim of the FiSch Fellows, but they also get involved in the other two as relevant opportunities arise. So what is this “reformational philosophy” framework mentioned in point 3?
Reformational philosophy builds on the thinking of Abraham Kuyper, who in 1880 famously said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!'”. A rich philosophical framework unpacking this has since been developed by the Dutch philosophers Herman Dooyeweerd and Dirk Vollenhoven and their numerous students worldwide. The framework is characterised by seeing the created order as intrinsically diverse, such that the academic disciplines complement each other, each proceeding by abstracting one or more aspects from that order. This stands in contrast to the reductionism that pervades much academic thinking, in which the disciplines are in competition with each other to provide a fundamental account of reality.
As such, the guiding beliefs of the FiSch project include:
- the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all things, including theoretical thought;
- that reality is given its structure by the Word of God that also became flesh and is revealed through the Scriptures;
- that the many-sidedness of this rich reality calls for interdisciplinary collaboration,
- that God calls people to scholarly work in the history of His Kingdom;
- that human interpretation of reality is impaired by sin but still produces good fruit insofar as God graciously guides both believers and unbelievers;
- that faithful, Spirit-led communities of study can enhance Christian responses to God’s diverse callings.