In today’s online news site, Inside Higher Education, Tal Howard, professor of history, teams up with Karl Giberson, author and adjunct professor of science, for a lively essay on ‘reclaiming’ Christian thought. Below is a short excerpt of the essay. Read the entire essay here.

“Restoring the Evangelical Mind Requires Courage”

” . . . If the idea of Christian perspectives raises your eyebrows, it might be time to brush up on Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Karl Barth, Martin Luther King, Edith Stein, Reinhold Niebuhr, and many others.  Consider, too, the recent scholarship of historians such as Mark Noll, Philip Jenkins, and the Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Larson; political theorists such as Jean Bethke Elshtain and Oliver O’Donovan; scientists such as Sir John Polkinghorne, Francis Collins, and physics Nobel laureate William Phillips; and philosophers such as Charles Taylor, Nicholas Wolterstorff and Alvin Plantinga.

Wolterstorff of Yale and Plantinga of Notre Dame, in fact, joined Biola recently for the inauguration of the Center, conducting a seminar with fellows focused on the Center’s first theme, ‘Christian Scholarship in the 21st Century: Prospects and Perils.’

Biola’s center is the latest chapter in a comeback of the ‘evangelical mind.’  While serious scholarship by self-professed evangelical Christians did not disappear entirely in the 20th century, it went into eclipse in the postwar period.  These decades, especially 1960-1980, saw the high-water mark for Western secularism when, contrary to subsequent evidence of religion’s persistence, Time Magazine in 1966 asked on its cover ‘Is God Dead?’  Social scientists in The New York Times confidently predicted in 1968 that ‘by the 21st century religious believers are likely to be small sects, huddled together to resist a worldwide secular culture.’

But of course a funny thing has happened on the way to the 21st century: God and religion came back, and institutions such as Biola are capitalizing on the rediscovery of homo religiosus, both as an object of inquiry and, more relevant for the case at hand, as an inquiring subject. . . .” (Read more.)