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The New Evangelization Editor’s Corner – May 2017

Rev. Thomas A. Baima, S.T.D. With this issue Chicago Studies becomes an open access, peer reviewed academic journal. Also with this comes a change in editors. Let me express the thanks of the editorial board to the Reverend Michael J. K. Fuller, who faithfully served both the University of Saint Mary of the Lake as associate professor of spiritual theology and Civitas Dei as the Editor of Chicago Studies. A priest of the Diocese of Rockford, Father Fuller was invited by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to take up the position of Executive Director of its Secretariat for Doctrine and Canon Law. This appointment is certainly a testimony to his scholarship and leadership capacity. He will be missed. Fuller’s work to transition Chicago Studies into the open access world comes to fruition with this issue. We are proud that Chicago Studies move into this new frontier of publishing has been acknowledged by the Omega Alpha Open Access site on theology and religion. You can read the article at Father Michael Fuller is succeeded by an Editorial Board which includes Doctor Melanie Barrett, Father Lawrence Hennessey, Father David Olson, Father Martin Zielinski, and myself, Father Thomas Baima. I was selected to assume the role of contributing editor and will introduce each issue as Fuller did. This issue is titled “The New Evangelization.” It includes the academic papers presented at the 2016 Albert Cardinal Meyer Lecture Series at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. The two keynote papers were by William Lane Craig. Doctor Craig was featured with a cover story in the Chronicle of Higher Education which recognized him as among the most credible of Christian philosophers who are confronting the new atheists. Craig offered two contributions, “What Philosophy Offers the New Evangelization” and “Methods for Sharing the Gospel on College Campuses.” Craig tries to take seriously the challenges to the Christian faith which have emerged from philosophy and science. He does so by being serious about philosophy and its capacity to aid us in the engagement of serious question such as the problem of God. In a particular way, he offers philosophy as having a dynamic role in the evangelization of culture. Culture’s presuppositions stand in the way of individuals engaging the question of faith. Philosophy offers a language, capable of serving as a lingua franca for those wishing to explore these questions outside of the household of faith. Craig traces the development of culture’s presuppositions back to linguistic analysis and the work of A. J. Ayer and his verifiability criterion. Ayer meant to eliminate not only metaphysics but ethics from philosophy in favor of philosophy of science as the supreme and sole arbiter of truth. An equal opportunity offender, Ayer attacked both faith statements and experience as simply meaningless. This trajectory, of which Ayer was one of the important proponents, eventually led to the death of God theology of the 1960’s. What is important for the consideration of evangelization is what happened next. Unfortunately, on most college campuses, the story in the philosophy classroom ends with A. J. Ayer. But Craig demonstrates that the Death of God theology itself died, and traces why this


Chicago Studies Spring 2017  

Volume 56:1

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