Over the last couple of weeks, many evangelical scholars (including myself) attended the annual conferences of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature (not to mention, the Institute for Biblical Research).
Many good papers were delivered (and heard), old friendships were rekindled, and everyone was asked the same question over and over: “So, what are you working on right now?”
While such conferences remind me of the joys of scholarship, they also remind me of the challenges. Sadly, there are many stories of well-intended evangelical scholars who set out to influence the academy, and the academy ends up influencing them. Some end up abandoning the very commitments that led them towards advanced study in the first place.
So, as these conferences come to a close, it seems fitting to reflect on the challenges of being an evangelical scholar in the secular academy. Or, more to the point, what lessons do we need to remember as we pursue our scholarly endeavors?
To answer that question, I turn to a story of a scholar who’s academic career took a highly unusual path. Rather than being an evangelical scholar who became liberal, he did the opposite. He abandoned his commitment to liberal thinking and actually became an evangelical. And when that happened, his eyes were opened up to a number of truths that he had never noticed before (or at least refused to notice).
That scholar was [Read more…]