A PUBLICATION OF THE CENTER FOR APOLOGETICS & CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT AT LIBERTY UNIVERSITY
FAITH ACADEMY AND THE
Engaging the Culture with Grace and Truth
IDENTITY AND STORY: A CASE STUDY IN JANE EYRE AND CHARLES TAYLOR Dr. Karen Swallow Prior
FROM SOUTH BEND TO LYNCHBURG: WHAT PROTESTANTS CAN LEARN FROM CATHOLICS ABOUT IDENTITY Dr. Mark Allen
CHRISTIAN HIGHER EDUCATION IN A CHANGING CULTURAL LANDSCAPE: TRADITION AS A SOURCE OF RENEWAL
AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMES K.A. SMITH Also featuring
ALUMNA JOY BETH SMITH
Dr. David Dockery
Volu me 1 â€¢ Iss ue 2 Spr in g 2017
Dr. Joshua D. Chatraw, Executive Editor Dr. Benjamin K. Forrest, Managing Editor Joshua Erb, Assistant to the Managing Editor Dr. Tad Hardin, Editorial Board Dr. Edward E. Hindson, Editorial Board Dr. Gary Isaacs, Editorial Board Elisa Rollins, Editorial Board
Joshua Rice, Creative Director Sarah Wittcop, Marketing Director Michael Strobel, Marketing Manager Kati Holland, Project Coordinator Soren Vogel, Graphic Designer
/LibertyUACE | @ LibertyUACE | ACE@liberty.edu | Liberty.edu/ACE
“’Who am I?’: The Question of Identity,” Faith and the Academy: Engaging Culture with Grace and Truth 1, no. 2 (Spring 2017): A publication of Liberty University Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement
FA I T H A N D T H E A C A D E M Y: E N G A G I N G T H E C U LT U R E W I T H G R A C E A N D T R U T H
OUR MODERN IDENTITY CRISIS
IDENTITY AND STORY: A CASE STUDY IN JANE EYRE AND CHARLES TAYLOR
THE IDENTITY OF A CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY: AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMES K. A. SMITH
Dr. Karen Swallow Prior
Dr. James K. A. Smith
CHRISTIAN HIGHER EDUCATION IN A CHANGING CULTURAL LANDSCAPE: TRADITION AS A SOURCE OF RENEWAL
Dr. Joshue D. Chatraw
Dr. David S. Dockery
8 Editorial: Our Modern Identity Crisis Dr. Joshua D. Chatraw, Executive Editor, “Faith and the Academy” and Executive Director of the Liberty University Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement
12 Are We More than Our Genes?: Putting Together the Story of Identity Dr. Gary Isaacs, Associate Professor of Biology, Liberty University School of Health Sciences
16 Identity and Story: A Case Study in Jane Eyre and Charles Taylor Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, Professor of English, Liberty University College of Arts & Sciences
20 Stained Glass Lives: A Mosaic Under Construction Joy Beth Smith, LU Alumna ’11 & ’13, Editor of Boundless
24 The Identity of a Christian University: An Interview with James K. A. Smith Dr. James K. A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy and the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview at Calvin College
27 Christian Higher Education in a Changing Cultural Landscape: Tradition as a Source of Renewal Dr. David S. Dockery, President, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
32 From South Bend to Lynchburg: What Protestants can Learn from Catholics about Identity Dr. Mark Allen, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Biblical Studies, Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity
FA I T H A N D T H E A C A D E M Y: E N G A G I N G T H E C U LT U R E W I T H G R A C E A N D T R U T H
35 Worship: Shaper of Society? Or Shaped by Society?
Dr. Paul Rumrill, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Music Education; Dr. Tad Hardin, Coordinator of Keyboard Studies and Assistant Professor of Piano, Liberty University School of Music
46 Communicational Arts: Cultural Engagement in the Communicational Arts: Once Upon a Time (A Theory)
40 Faculty Responses to the Question of Identity
Dr. Lorene Wales, Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts, Liberty University Cinematic Arts, Zaki Gordon Center
Dr. Michael Torres, Associate Professor, and Durrell Nelson, Associate Professor, Liberty University Cinematic Arts, Zaki Gordon Center; Dr. Gary E. Yates, Professor of Biblical Studies, and Dr. Michael J. Smith, Professor of Biblical Studies, Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity
48 Business and Economics: Cultural Engagement in Business and Economics: Asking “What if?” and “What ought to be?”
42 CRS Revieww: Pornography Use and the Response of the Church Dr. Fred Volk, Professor of Counseling; Carolyn E. Moen, Doctoral Student; Dr. John C. Thomas, Professor of Counseling; Lucy C. Phillips, Doctoral Student; Brittany Lashua, Doctoral Student, Liberty University School of Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Andrew Light, Professor of Business, Liberty University School of Business
50 Health/Medicine: Cultural Engagement in Medicine and Healthcare: Mortality vs. Eternity Dr. Kenneth J. Dormer, Chair and Professor of Physiology, Department of Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology, Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Training Champions for Christ since 1971
Dr. Joshua D. Chatraw Executive Editor, “Faith and the Academy" Executive Director of the Liberty University Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement
OUR MODERN IDENTITY CRISIS “Who am I?” As a middle-schooler I found myself asking this question quite often. So it goes when you grow up in a south Georgia culture wearing off-brand shoes, preferring fútbol to football, and electing not to spend Saturday mornings in a deer stand. But when my 16 year-old eighth-grade classmate—sporting a fishhook in his cap and his newly issued driver’s license (quite the cultural capital for my middle school)—inflicted his customary teasing on me, little did I know he was provoking me to ask myself one of the fundamental questions of our age. Biology is certainly part of who we are, but as humans, we cannot be reduced simply to our physical bodies. If the question “Who am I?” is read strictly through the lens of genetics, I can give an obvious answer: “I am a male. I have white skin.” Despite recent cries against the obvious, sex and race are determined biologically. I knew this as a middle-schooler. But it was not this aspect of the question that I was concerned about. Culturally, “white” and “male” take on a variety of non-biological, significant characteristics. For instance, I was at risk of getting strange looks when I told people I played on the middle school basketball team. This was not a regular cultural occurrence for white males in my school. On the other hand, our school’s golf team was comprised completely of white males. There is nothing inherently Caucasian about golf, and there is no biological reason that white men (or middle schoolers) can’t jump. In this case, identity—which drives us to join one sports team rather than another—has to do with more than biology. Race and sex, among other things that we can describe genetically, take on meanings based on social and historical circumstances. For example, science tells us what it means biologically to be a
OUR IDENTITIES ARE MADE UP OF OUR ALLEGIANCES AND ASSUMPTIONS, AND THEY GIVE US A FRAMEWORK FOR DECIDING WHAT WE SHOULD DO, HOW WE SHOULD LIVE, WHAT IS VALUABLE, WHAT WE SHOULD SUPPORT, AND WHAT WE SHOULD STAND AGAINST. particular sex; other sources and frameworks tell us what it means sociologically to live life as a “woman” or a “man.” In this issue of Faith and the Academy, Dr. Gary Isaacs’ essay will help us navigate some of the biological issues in regards to the question of identity. But as my example from middle school illustrates, a basic description of genetics is not what is likely to come to mind if someone asks you, “Who are you?” Given this, much of our focus in this volume is on the question of identity beyond the limits of genetics, on identity—as Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor puts it—in the sense of “knowing where I stand.”1 Our identities are made up of our allegiances and assumptions, and they give us a framework for deciding what we should do, how we should live, what is valuable, what we should support, and what we should stand against.
The Insecurity of Identity in Late-Modernity Many today feel apprehensive and even disoriented about where they stand, about who they are. Eighth grade is the new normal. Robert Bellah and his co-authors have described what they labeled as expressive individualism: the belief “that each person has a unique core of feeling and intuition that should unfold or be expressed if individuality is to be realized.”2 Taylor adds that according to expressive individualism, individuality
FA I T H A N D T H E A C A D E M Y: E N G A G I N G T H E C U LT U R E W I T H G R A C E A N D T R U T H
must be lived out in a contrarian fashion, “against surrendering to conformity with a model imposed on us from the outside.”3 Thus, accordingly, human flourishing occurs when we look within ourselves and cast off external norms to find our authentic identity. Human flourishing occurs when we look within ourselves and cast off external norms to find our authentic identity. Look no further than my daughter’s favorite Disney princess to be serenaded with the anthem of our day: It’s time to see what I can do. To test the limits and break through. No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free! . . . Let it go, let it go. And I’ll rise like the break of dawn. Let it go, let it go. That perfect girl is gone. Here I stand.4 It seems that Elsa is simply singing along with the liturgy of our age. Expressive individualism results in personal choice being seen as the highest good. This is unprecedented within human history. And despite the promises to the contrary, it offers no stable place to stand. This instability is felt in numerous areas. Expressive individualism corrodes interpersonal relationships. Neighbors, friends and marriages are viewed instrumentally, quickly abandoned if they cease to serve as a means for self-actualization. Recent writers such as Andrew Delbanco in The Real American Dream and Yuval Levin in The Fractured Republic, both in their own ways drawing upon Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, have made the point that the individualism the culture has embraced fails to provide a unifying vision for a cohesive society or a productive political system.5 As one commentator wrote recently, “The great challenge of our moment is the crisis of isolation and fragmentation, the need to rebind the fabric of a society that has been torn by selfishness, cynicism, distrust and autonomy.”6
And in regards to religion, once a culture makes individual choice and independence from external norms the ultimate good, Christianity, with its call to repent and conform to the image of Christ—is not just boring, it is evil. It’s de-humanizing. Such traditional frameworks for understanding identity are viewed as dangerously suppressing individuals’ self-discovery of their “true self.” As the Pastor Tim Keller has noted, “That is why for many today religious faith seems so unimaginable as to be crazy.”7 And yet, we are still haunted by past cultural sources and the desire for something that transcends self. So the affirmation of “the spiritual” still finds a home in an age of expressive individualism—even though traditional spirituality too often ends up being modified to fit our modern zeitgeist. For example, in Soul Searching, Christian Smith found that the majority of American teenagers surveyed are still religious and active in their churches, but they were overall incredibly inarticulate about their faith.8 Still, despite their lack of clear thinking, a dominant discernable theology emerged for this group. One of the common axioms expressed is that “the central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”9 According to Smith, God—for this generation—“is something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist: he is always on call, takes care of any problem that arises, professionally helps us people to feel better about themselves.”10 Perhaps most alarming is that the majority of those interviewed in this study
IN REGARDS TO RELIGION, ONCE A CULTURE MAKES INDIVIDUAL CHOICE AND INDEPENDENCE FROM EXTERNAL NORMS THE ULTIMATE GOOD, CHRISTIANITY, WITH ITS CALL TO REPENT AND CONFORM TO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST—IS NOT JUST BORING, IT IS EVIL.
10 were unaware that they were practicing something different from historic Christianity. This is a version of Christianity that has been hollowed out from the inside and then has placed self-expression at the center. Other recent works support Smith’s study. For example, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons cite a recent survey finding that 91% of Americans agree that “to find yourself, look within yourself.” 76% of Christians also agreed with this statement.11 Apparently it’s not just “the culture” that is suffering from an identity crisis.
Significant Sources of Identity: Communities, Stories, and Gods One of the cracks within this modern search for identity is that no one simply looks “within themselves” to find their authentic self. It is impossible. Instead we are all looking to those around us to learn what we should value and how we should legitimize our own worth. As Taylor puts it, “No one acquires the languages needed for self-definition on their own.”12 We are always defining our personal identity in dialogue with our community as, for example, our communities and traditions tell us “hero” stories and we embrace these narratives, seeking to live them out. And both, the communities we live in and stories we tell, are indelibly linked to our propensity as humans to worship. No matter how irreligious, we are all seeking what the Jewish anthropologist Ernest Becker describes as the universal search for “cosmic significance.”13 We each look to something or someone for identity and worth that we venerate. Money, beauty, power, intellect, and self, are some of the more obvious deities, but we could go on cataloging the contemporary sources for “cosmic significance.” And despite the promises for freedom, whatever we look to for significance and affirmation will, in the end, enslave us. As Jesus taught, everyone has a master. And the cruelty of the modern gods, in always promising but never delivering, further contributes to the modern identity crisis. Without sources that have emerged from the transcendent, the pubescent question remains: “Who am I?”14 Despite this crisis, neither panic, nor fear, nor resentment—each representative of my eighth
grade responses to personal insecurity and bullying—should be the Christian reaction. Middle school need not be our new normal; we have a stable place to stand. Join us in this issue as we reflect not only on our own lives and the life of our institution but also as we consider how to engage the modern identity crisis of our age. In the articles that follow you will see the three aforementioned sources of identity— stories, communities, and gods—continue to emerge as significant. Christianity offers sources in each area that are thicker, more coherent, and more stable than their modern rivals. These Christian sources have persisted through the many crises of the past 2,000 years; these are the sources that will be standing long past the modern identity crisis of today.
1 Charles Taylor, Sources of Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), 27. 2 Robert Bellah, et al., Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1985), 333–34. 3 Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007). 486. 4 Though I first used this example independently, I later also found it used to make the same basic point by Timothy Keller, Preaching (New York: Viking, 2015). 5 Andrew Delbanco, The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009); Yuval Levin, The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism (New York: Basic Books, 2016); Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America and Two Essays on America, trans. Gerald E. Bevan (New York: Penguin Books, 2003). 6 David Brooks, “The Death of Idealism,” New York Times, September 30, 2016, accessed October 12, 2016, http://www.nytimes. com/2016/09/30/opinion/the-death-of-idealism.html. 7 Keller, Preaching, 123. 8 Christian Smith with Melina Lundquist Denton, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005). 9 Ibid., 162–63. 10 Ibid., 164. 11 David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme (Downers Grove: Baker), 57–58. 12 Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), 33. 13 Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death (New York: The Free Press, 1973), 3. 14 See also Christian Smith, Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), who makes a similar point: “Postmodernism wishes to liberate individuals form moral orders by granting the freedom of unfettered self-creation. Such liberation is an illusion, a sociological absurdity. As heretical as it sounds to both modern and postmodern ears, it is necessarily only by giving ourselves to, indeed by submitting ourselves to, specific moral orders derived from particular historical traditions that we can ever have anything like flourishing humanity. The truly autonomous individual turns out to be a dead individual in every way imaginable” (156).
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Senior Fellows Essay
Dr. Gary Issacs, Associate Professor of Biology Liberty University School of Health Sciences
ARE WE MORE THAN OUR GENES?: PUTTING TOGETHER THE STORY OF IDENTITY When I was growing up as a preacher’s kid in the small town of Lincoln, Delaware, it was my weekly duty to hold the door for people arriving at church each Sunday morning. Amidst the typical greetings, I would invariably hear a comment from an appreciative, elderly individual stating that I “looked just like my father” or that I “had my mother’s eyes.” This began a process of thought in my own mind where my identity was linked to my parents, my appearance, my personality, and my talents. It seemed that even aspects of my future fell on a continuum between my father and mother.
DNA This idea of our identity stemming from our genome is not limited to the scientific community, as it shows up in daily conversations concerning health and fitness. There are times where a “genetic blame game” is played out in our society, sometimes with medical data to support, but many times without. We understand that our DNA holds the information for life within each of our cells. We understand that our DNA can confine us within various biological limits (e.g., height, weight, color of our hair and skin) and that these limits extend to more than just attributes of appearance. Most relevant for the mindset of our culture are the pervasive limits that are stamped on each of our cells; we use our genome as an excuse: “This is simply how I was made.” That is how the blame game is played. The structure of DNA and the process of its replication to daughter cells ensures a faithful rendering of the original. This suggests that our identity has been forged; it is steadfast and concrete, and written with permanence in cell and tissue. Not only do we view ourselves as the product of our DNA, but we also project our understanding of identity, of our human brokenness, on the DNA itself. As scientists have sequenced the 3.2 billion bases of the human genome we discovered
vast stretches of DNA (hundreds of thousands of bases) between genes which were referred to in many circles as “junk DNA.” This label seemed appropriate because researchers could not ascribe a specific function for these DNA sequences, and it was believed that they were the garbage – the genetic errors and inefficiencies accumulated over evolutionary time. We now know, however, that many of these sequences are not “junk,” and that in fact they often direct gene activation even though the nearest gene may be far away. So why were these sequences ever referred to as “Junk DNA”? It is as if we viewed ourselves as broken people with baggage – even at the biological level.
A Code Above Our DNA Although Christians know that we were “fearfully and wonderfully made,” we also often relegate that fact to a past event located in our mother’s womb for which we are not responsible. Having no hand in our own construction would push the responsibility of who we are to our parents and ultimately to God. But what if my construction, my biological development, were not complete? What if my genomic fate were yet to be fully determined, and the “genomic concrete” were still wet and malleable? If our DNA were like this, we would find ourselves subject to another set of rules that aim to influence who we will become. Life is full of examples that suggest we are more than just our base DNA sequence. Studies with monozygotic twins (a.k.a., identical twins) have identified discordance with various disease states.1 While one twin develops Alzheimer’s disease, the other does not. Even though one twin seems perfectly healthy, the other undergoes chemotherapy as a part of their cancer treatment. Since identical twins have the same DNA sequence, something else must be responsible for the apparent discrepancy in their health. Identical DNA sequences do not necessarily produce equal identities. Even within
14 a single individual, the same DNA sequence can produce multiple outcomes depending on how it is influenced by the environment. For instance, cellular differentiation is the process by which primordial cells develop into the specialized cells that form our organs and tissues. All the cells of the human body contain the same DNA sequence, yet they use that information differently. Chemical marks, such as DNA methylation, are imprinted on the DNA and direct the cell to turn on certain genes or turn off others. The local external environment of the cell acts as the stimulus to initiate these different marks – making the environment a major contributor to the identity of each individual cell. The term “epigenetics” refers to this chemical code which acts above the normal code of our DNA sequence. If the genome were compared to the cell’s library of information, then epigenetics refers to the availability of various books and journals within that library. If we want to describe the identity of a cell, we cannot look simply at the contents of the library (the DNA sequence) but rather the portions of the library that are used.
Affecting the Present So we see that our genetic identity is framed by several variables. One of these is the contents of our library, established for the most part by the contributions from our parents at conception. The other is the environmental influence (through epigenetics) which can alter the accessibility of these contributions and even modulate the use of individual genes. Together, these mechanisms contribute to our genetic identity. The question remains though, “Can we contribute to the identity of others?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!” We ourselves are part of the environment; we do not
SINCE IDENTICAL TWINS HAVE THE SAME DNA SEQUENCE, SOMETHING ELSE MUST BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE APPARENT DISCREPANCY IN THEIR HEALTH. IDENTICAL DNA SEQUENCES DO NOT NECESSARILY PRODUCE EQUAL IDENTITIES. operate on an island but as part of a community. Genetically speaking, our actions and environment not only alter our own development, they also can contribute to the development of others. One of the best examples of how the epigenetic influence of one person can affect another is from a study published in 2005 on the mother-infant
relationship in rats.2 The study centered around two types of mothers — those that took good care of their young by licking and grooming them, and those that took a laid-back approach to their parental responsibilities. Initial observations of the offspring from these two cohorts revealed that pups with “low-licking mothers” had severe difficulty dealing with stress. They would bite caretakers when handled and scream when people entered their cage room. Medical tests also revealed a significant elevation in their blood pressure and stress hormones during times of stress. These responses were not caused by a mutation passed down through the maternal or paternal line as the effects were negated when the new-born mice were switched at birth (a process known as crossfostering). Pups born to “low-licking mothers” developed normally if raised by “high-licking” mothers. Conversely, pups born to “high-licking mothers” had difficulty dealing with stress if raised by “low licking” mothers. This study opened the door to the concept that we are not only responsible for our own genome (both genetic and epigenetic), we are also responsible for the influence we have on the world around us.
Affecting the Future: A Transgenerational Response This influence may be deeper than any of us realize, as several studies have demonstrated that epigenetic identity developed in one generation could be passed down to the next. Research from Dr. Michael Skinner’s lab determined genetic differences in rats that resulted to maternal pesticide exposure three generations earlier.3 The experiences of one generation were preserved as a chemical signature on the DNA and passed down to subsequent progeny. This phenomenon is not unique to animals, as human history has recorded world events now known to have caused a transgenerational response. Century-old public health records from a small town in Överkalix, Sweden, have been used to correlate the nutrition of grandparents to the health of their grandchildren noting that some ancestral environments can produce positive or negative outcomes in subsequent generations.4 In 1945, the events of World War II set the scene for the Dutch Famine, which reduced the caloric intake of pregnant mothers along with the rest of the urban west of the Netherlands. An examination of the children born or conceived during that time suggests that the mother’s nutrition before pregnancy plays a role later in the disease susceptibility of their offspring.5 Together, these studies paint a clear
picture of the biological influence we can have on those that come after us.
Concluding Thoughts: Identity and Culture Based on our understanding of epigenetics, how should we define our identity and our role in society? I believe this can be answered with one word, “stewardship.” As created beings we were formed in our mother’s womb, but we are also being made in the likeness of Christ, and we are challenged to make disciples. We are creatures dependent on our maker. And yet, we are still being re-made to shape the world around us (Gen. 1:26-28; Matthew 28:28-20). The call to be “in the world and not of it” is a challenge towards
IF WE VIEW OURSELVES AS "THIS IS ALL I AM" THEN THE THOUGHT "THIS IS ALL I CAN DO" IS NOT FAR BEHIND. fulfilling the cultural mandate – to leave a positive mark on the world (not unlike the chemical marks on top of our genetic code). Our mission is not to uproot the culture and destroy its base, but rather, to influence it through our faithful presence in all the communities we find ourselves in. We are thus stewards of who we become and who we enable others to be. Our Lord, after all, has given us dominion as his image bearers. If we dismiss ourselves with statements such as “this is all I am,” then the thought “this is all I can do” is not far behind. Using a model of epigenetics, if we view each other as impressionable people who are easily
influenced by our environments, we will realize the importance of forming intentional countercultural Gospel communities for the sake of those around us and those yet to come.
1 Diego Mastroeni, Ann McKee, Andrew Grover, Joseph Rogers, and Paul D. Coleman, “Epigenetic Differences in Cortical Neurons from a Pair of Monozygotic Twins Discordant for Alzheimer’s Disease,” PLOS One, August 12, 2009, accessed October 17, 2016, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/ journal. pone.0006617; Jaun E. Castillo-Fernandez, Tim D. Spector, and Jordan T. Bell, “Epigenetics of Discordant Monozygotic Twins: Implications for Disease,” Genome Medicine, July 31, 2014, accessed October 17, 2016, https://genomemedicine.biomedcentral. com/articles/10.1186/s13073-014-0060-z. 2 Moshe Szyf, Ian C. G. Weaver, Francis A. Champagne, Jose Diorio, and Michael J. Meaney, “Maternal Programming of Steroid Receptor Expression and Phenotype through DNA Methylation in the Rat.” Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 26, no. 3-4 (October-December 2005): 139-162, accessed October 17, 2016, http:// www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0091302205000476. 3 David Crews, Ross Gillette, Samuel V. Scarpino, Mohan Manikkam, Marina I. Savenkova, and Michael K. Skinner, “Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Altered Stress Responses,” PNAS, April 18, 2012, accessed October 18, 2016, http://www.pnas.org/ content/109/23/9143.full. 4 Marcus Pembrey, Richard Saffery, Lars Olov Bygren, and Network in Epigenetic Epidemiology, “Human Transgenerational Responses to Early-life Experience: Potential Impact on Development, Health and Biomedical Research.” NCBI, July 25, 2014, accessed October 18, 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ articles/ PMC4157403/. 5 Tessa Roseboom, Susanne de Rooij, Rebecca Painter, “The Dutch Famine and its Long-Term Consequences for Adult Health.” Early Human Development 82, no. 8 (August 2006): 485-491, accessed October 18, 2016, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0378378206001848.
Senior Fellows Essay
Dr. Karen Swallow Prior Professor of English, Liberty University College of Arts & Sciences
IDENTITY AND STORY: A CASE STUDY IN JANE EYRE AND CHARLES TAYLOR Since I was a very little girl, I have lost myself in books.1 I’ve found myself in them, too. In fact, I wrote an entire book about the books that shaped my soul and formed my identity, Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me. The book that was most formative in my life was Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. In addition to teaching me how, ultimately, to be myself, Jane Eyre perfectly portrays the quest for identity within the context of the modern condition. In fact, the novel embodies, to a remarkable degree, the modern quest for selfidentity described by Charles Taylor in The Ethics of Authenticity. According to Taylor, authenticity as a moral value emerged in the late 18th century, and is rooted in Enlightenment subjectivity. As Taylor describes it, authenticity was connected to another moral value of the age, “self-determining freedom,” which he explains is the impulse to “decide for myself what concerns me, rather than being shaped by external influences.”2 Not coincidentally, it was also around this time, in the eighteenth century, that the novel developed as a literary genre. The novel is a form uniquely expressive of modernity, particularly individual autonomy and subjectivity – the central ingredients of identity. Bronte’s publication of Jane Eyre in 1847 marks a point at which the rise of the novel and the rise of the modern notion of the self converge. Centered on the heroine’s quest for her authentic self, Jane Eyre depicts what Taylor calls “the massive subjective turn of modern culture, a new form of inwardness, in which we come to think of ourselves as beings with inner depths.” 3 Modernity radically changed the way we form our individual identities. Before the modern age, Taylor says, being “in touch with some source—God, say, or the Idea of the Good—was considered essential to full being.”4 In addition to drawing from transcendent notions of God and the good, the peoples of the ancient and medieval worlds gained
their identities from their communities: the families they were born into, the traditions they were raised in, the social class they were part of, the bonds of religious belief they shared with others. Before the rise of the modern self, people simply inherited their identities, their “selves” directly from their families. The boy born to a shoemaker was destined to be a shoemaker. The girl born to an aristocrat would be a lady. But with the modern age came a new social mobility and with it the idea of the individual. The modern shift, however, replaced this external source of authority with the notion that, in Taylor’s words, “the source we have to connect with is deep in us.” The story of Jane Eyre reflects this inward turn through its masterful use of first-person narration—Bronte’s primary contribution to the novel form. It is essential to the story of Jane Eyre, even though it is a fictional work, that it takes the form of an autobiography. One of the most distinguishing aspects of Jane Eyre is the “voice” of Jane, and it is no coincidence that the term “voice” has come to mean in modern usage much more than just the sound made by the vocal organs, but also the means by which we make our individual selves known, not only to others but to ourselves. For the connection between the self and language is inseparable: it is through language that the self becomes and that identity is formed. Most critics and readers agree Jane’s voice—not the overly romantic plot—makes an otherwise unrealistic story so compelling and believable. Jane’s powerful narrative voice illustrates Taylor’s observation about the “dialogical character” of the human condition in the modern age. He explains: We become full human agents, capable of understanding ourselves, and hence of defining an identity, through our acquisition of rich human languages of expression. . . . No one acquires the languages needed for self-definition on their own. We are introduced to them through exchanges with others who matter to us.5
18 Jane comes to find her own voice—and therefore her authentic self—through a dialogical process with the people in her life who are her friends and her foes. Her story—which finds her going from being an orphan abused by a cruel aunt, to being a student at a deplorable charity school, to being a lowly governess in love with a wealthy employer—is one in which she seeks love from others, but not at the price of sacrificing her individual identity or self-respect. Hence Jane embodies what Taylor describes as modernity’s “new importance to being true to myself ” as a “certain way of being human that is my way . . . not in imitation of anyone else’s.” But while modernity makes authentic identity and autonomy seem inseparable, they aren’t, as Jane’s character shows. Jane embodies Charles Taylor’s notion of the genuine authenticity possible for the modern subject, one achieved only by looking outside the self. True self-fulfillment, Taylor explains, is derived “against the background of things that matter” with attention to “the demands of our ties with others.” As Taylor explains, a quest for the authentic self-detached from “horizons of significance” outside the self leads to relativism and, ultimately, insignificance: The agent seeking significance in life, trying to define him- or herself meaningfully, has to exist
in a horizon of important questions. That is what is self-defeating in modes of contemporary culture that concentrate on self-fulfillment in opposition to the demands of society, or nature, which shut out history and the bonds of solidarity. . . . To shut out demands emanating beyond the self is precisely to suppress the conditions of significance, and hence to court trivialization. Only if I exist in a world in which history, or the demands of nature, or the needs of my fellow human beings, or the duties of citizenship, or the call of God, or something else of this order matters crucially, can I define an identity for myself that is not trivial. Authenticity is not the enemy of demands that emanate from beyond the self; it supposes such demands.6 This is precisely the genuine authenticity we see in the character of Jane Eyre. For unlike many subjects lionized in great modern literature, Jane’s true self is rooted in something outside herself. And that something is God. Throughout the novel, Jane is tempted to betray her true self by imitating the ways of others. She’s tempted to imitate her beloved Christian friend Helen Burns by embracing Burns’s otherworldly stoicism. She’s tempted to imitate her cruel aunt
by returning an unforgiving spirit. She’s tempted to imitate her cousin in marrying not for love but for service on the mission field. She’s tempted to imitate her beloved by compromising her Christian faith in order to remain with him. But, despite pain and struggle, Jane resists each of these temptations to be something other than her true self. When Jane realizes that to be her authentic self she must choose between passion and principle, she determines: I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad—as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigor; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? 7 Jane’s self-determination does make her a modern, self-created subject. But because she turns outward rather than inward, she achieves the genuine authenticity Taylor describes. In using her sense of self and her moral agency to become the person God calls her to be, Jane achieves genuine authenticity
and true freedom, which are necessary for healthy identity. In portraying a character whose self-creation is rooted in something outside the self, Charlotte Bronte offered a great gift to the modern world— and to me, personally, as I was seeking my own identity and sense of self as a young Christian woman. As Marshall McLuhan was known for saying, “Beholding is becoming.” Jane seemed in so many ways to be someone like me. In reading and studying the book many more times later in life, I came to realize that this was because she really was. The story of Jane Eyre, in giving me something worthy of beholding and in so doing helped me to become myself. 1 A version of this article originally appeared at The Gospel Coalition. Additional passages are drawn from Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior (T. S. Poetry Press, 2012). 2 Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), 27. 3 Taylor, Authenticity, 26 4 Ibid. 5 Ibid.,33. 6 Ibid.,40. 7 Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, (New York, NY: Bantam Dell, 1987), 342-43.
Joy Beth Smith, LU Alumna '11 & '13 Editor of Boundless
STAINED GLASS LIVES: A MOSAIC UNDER CONSTRUCTION I once read a quote by Marc Chagall I couldn’t fully process: “A stained glass window is a transparent partition between my heart and the heart of the world.”1 But as I stare at the intricacies of the glass in the Cathedral of Maringá, I’m beginning to understand his meaning. The mural isn’t flawless— the shades of blue are inconsistent, the shaping of each piece varies, and the overall spacing displays more artistic vision than visual perfection. But it’s undeniably beautiful. It’s a hard-won beauty though, one that speaks to great inspiration and great effort. And in many ways I see myself, as Chagall must have, in the mural. My own identity feels like it’s being constructed, pane by pane, in an attempt to create a stained glass masterpiece. All the parts are here—the childhood trauma, the talents, the heartbreak, the community, the love of God—but working them together to create a striking, cohesive whole seems daunting, even impossible. How can I create a mural for a life I never wanted to lead? In the wake of graduation, I’m averaging an outof-state move and career change every two years. Teacher, barista, editor. Nashville, Chicago, Colorado Springs. My shifting, haphazard vision for my life has less to do with a lack of roots and more to do with unmet expectations. This is not the future I always dreamed of (and was promised as a reward for being a good Christian girl), and I’m not sure how to reconcile the person I’d imagined I’d become with the woman I see in the mirror. It’s like I was shown this picture many years ago of the mosaic my life would create—and it was so lovely. It looked like other pictures around me, and the familiarity was comforting. It was predictable and safe, full of large panes that fit easily together: frantic days filled with grad classes and friends; a graduation weekend seamlessly transitioning to a quaint Virginia wedding; sleepless nights spent rocking a fussy newborn; piles and piles and piles
of laundry that never seem to end. I used to conjure these images on a regular basis, waiting until I was handed the glass that would build it. I never received those pieces though; instead, I’m holding others that seem misshapen and discolored by contrast. Standard glass is replaced with disappointing deviations, and I’m left without any vision for how they all fit together. In an attempt to salvage the mural, I tirelessly work to construct a new image. I cultivate a character that wins me friends and opportunities. I take risks and shake off failures. A few more slivers of glass to add to the pile. But I’m still lacking purpose and understanding. At times I feel like Moses must have in Exodus 3 in response to God’s instructions: “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” And God answered as He often does with me—in place of affirming my own strengths and the arc specific to my narrative, He provides the only justification, the only purpose, I need: “I will be with you.” Much like Moses, I find myself carrying these bulky panes I never expected. He became a leader of thousands, I’ve become a reluctant career woman. I thought I’d be that wife and mom by now too, but instead I defer to my career. The longer I spend in this role, the more successful I become. Ironically, this success corresponds with an off-putting intimidation for potential suitors: I’m investing in my career because I’m single, but in investing in my career, it seems I’m prolonging my singleness. I’d love to trade my laptop for a minivan and my empty apartment for an over-full schedule, but those aren’t the glass pieces I’ve received. All of my struggles surrounding identity are only compounded by the fact that “biblical womanhood,” as I’ve heard it discussed in the church and presented in books, depends on the context of marriage and motherhood. I have no idea how to be a godly woman apart from being a wife and a mom,
22 creating yet another source of frustration. Biblical manhood seems to embody certain characteristics: strength, integrity, leadership (and a mighty fine beard). But biblical womanhood feels rooted in relationships: patient wife, flexible and present mother, accommodating but firm daughter-inlaw (whose womanly figure and modest clothing convey both allure and chastity). Without those relationships? I’m left to aspire to be merely “sweet and subdued,” and I threw in the towel on those years ago. What’s worse is my identity is constantly in flux; the pieces could fit together in a thousand different ways. In one job, my extroversion makes me likable; in another, it makes me seem too weak and accommodating. Am I a writer who edits or an editor who enjoys writing? I vacillate between being strong (a universally admired trait) and strong willed (a death knell for my romantic and professional success). I’m a product that’s never quite finished with the picture always obscured by grout, painters tape, or the “under construction” sign. Some days I feel guilty for caring so much about the what I’m creating instead of simply enjoying the process. Shouldn’t I be placing my identity more in Christ, the frame and foundation of the mural, and less in all of the tiny panes and how they fit? C.S. Lewis concluded his classic work Mere Christianity by saying, “Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”2 My identity is determined and contained and
defined by Christ—in inspecting the frame, I learn more and more about the mural in progress. While this brings a certain amount of peace, it by no means assuages all my fears or fills all my longings. I often feel like I’m playacting life, years after I should be owning my adulthood. I’m simply guessing where the pieces go because I’m growing into this big thing, this identity, and I’m too close to understand exactly what it is. I’m still cutting the glass and sanding away the edges. I’m trying to steward each piece well, even if it’s one I never wanted or expected to hold. And while I can’t see the whole thing and my arms feels tired and the job feels far too big for one, I think it’s coming together. In the end, I take great comfort from the fact that my stained glass, no matter how the pieces are arranged or the picture turns out, only serves to filter light from a much greater Source. In the dark of night or in the shade of a tree, a perfectly pieced identity is mediocre at best. But in the break of dawn or in the light of the Son, even the most crudely constructed mosaic is a testament to glory. When they were originally created, stained glass windows were said to be the poor man’s Bible; may my slivers and pieces, no matter their arrangement, come together to reveal that same Truth, Goodness, and Beauty for which these windows were intended.
1 Benjamin Harshav, ed. Marc Chagall on Art and Culture (Stanford University Press, 2003), 145. 2 C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Francisco, HarperOne, 1980), 227.
Inaugural Conference on Theology and Culture Co-Sponsored by Liberty University Student Activities
INCH “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!’” Abraham Kuyper
FEATURING: JAMES K. A. SMITH
March 29 Coffee, Discussion, and Book Signing with James K.A. Smith | 1:30-2:30 p.m. Liberty University Barnes & Noble Bookstore March 30 “You Are What You Love” Lecture | 7-8:30 p.m. Center for Music and the Worship Arts Concert Hall
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
THE IDENTITY OF A CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY:
AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMES K. A. SMITH Recently, James K. A. Smith took some time to have a conversation with the executive editor of “Faith and the Academy,” Joshua Chatraw. Smith is Professor of philosophy at Calvin College, where he holds the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview. An award-winning author and widely-traveled speaker, he has emerged as a thought leader with a unique gift of translation, building bridges between the academy, society, and the church. This interview also serves as a preview to Smith’s upcoming visit to Liberty University for the Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement’s Inaugural Conference on Theology and Culture, March 29-30, 2017.
Chatraw: In Desiring the Kingdom you write that Christian universities have “unwittingly bought into a stunted picture of the human person and a somewhat domesticated construal of the Christian faith.” Can you explain what you mean by this? Smith: A Christian university is a unique, hybrid sort of institution. On the one hand, it inhabits the ecosystem of the university and the world of higher education. On the other hand, it is an outpost of the body of Christ, intersecting with the ecosystem of the church. And surely its being Christian should make a difference. What worries me is that too often a Christian university just sort of picks up off-the-shelf models of the university and status quo paradigms of education and then adds a kind of Christian adornment, like a spiritual decoration. In doing so, we can miss the fact that the university as we know it—the configuration of the university handed down to us from nineteenth-century Germany and the Enlightenment—is a contingent, and not very healthy, version of what higher education should look like. Today, that model of the university has been co-opted by an unmitigated pragmatism
This text is the first of three volumes that will ultimately provide a comprehensive theology of culture. The entire set will address crucial concerns in ontology, anthropology, epistemology, and political philosophy. Desiring the Kingdom focuses education around the themes of liturgy, formation, and desire. The author contends--as did Augustine--that human beings are “desiring agents”; in other words, we are what we love.
James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2010), $22.99.
that turns universities into mere credentialing factories for “the market.” (That’s why, ironically, I think Christians should resonate with Nietzsche’s critique of University, Inc., in his lectures on Anti-Education!) Christian universities should, in some way, reach back beyond the German Enlightenment model and look at the vision of higher education that nourished Paris and Oxford and Cambridge—a holistic vision of education not only as informative but formative. (For a history of this Christian foundation of the university, before Enlightenment reorientation, take a look at Jean LeClerq’s study, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God.) A Christian university should be shaping citizens of the city of God. That involves more than just content dissemination and career preparation
Chatraw: You received some criticism from those who think you are too dismissive of Christian worldview. What role does Christian worldview have in formation of our loves? Smith: Most of the criticism stems from not reading the books! Because as I clearly point out, I’m not saying we need less than a Christian worldview; I just think we need more than a worldview. So I don’t “dismiss” worldview at all; I just point out the limits of such an approach. The fact is, you can parse all the nuances of a Christian worldview and still love the wrong things. And since our action and behavior is driven less by what we think and more by what we want, I argue that a holistic Christian education has to shape the “habits of the heart” (as sociologist Robert Bellah once put it). In other words, a holistic Christian university has to be a school of virtue, and that requires reaching beyond teaching students what to think. But this builds on, rather than displaces, the worldview approach. The Christian worldview paradigm emphasizes that the Gospel has something to say to all of life and not just some “spiritual” sector. So we absolutely need to equip students to think about the world from a Christian perspective. My project assumes this as a baseline. I’m just arguing that once we’ve done that, we still have a lot of work to do.
Chatraw: How would you suggest going about
changing a university’s focus from information to formation?
Well, I think it starts with asking ourselves, “What is a Christian university for?”
In philosophy we would say this is a teleological question—a question of the telos, the goal or end, of the university. You could get at the same question by asking, “What sorts of students do we want to graduate? What do we want our alumni to look like?” As I’ve argued, I think that comes down to asking: What do we want our alumni to love? Then we need to turn to the Scriptures to see the picture the Bible paints as the telos of creation. What are the features of flourishing society that we see in the “kingdom” passages of Scripture? It’s a world without poverty, without hunger, without racism, where there is joy and delight in the Good, the True, the Beautiful. These are the hints of the kind of world to which we should be laboring. Graduates of Christian universities should be people whose work—across the professions—is caught up in that vision. Finally, I suggest that we “catch” this vision not merely in didactic, informative lectures but in communal, embodied practices—rhythms and rituals and routines that “carry” the biblical vision in such a way that seeps into our imagination. I’ve suggested that the best place to find that repertoire of imagination-shaping practices is the historic liturgy and spiritual disciplines of the church. So the future looks ancient.
Chatraw: Does this infringe on the local church’s
turf? Or to put this question more positively, how might a Christian university work together with the church for Christian formation?
Smith: That’s a fair question. I don’t mean that the Christian university should replace the church. All I mean is that if a university is going to be Christian in terms of its ethos, then its rhythms and practices should be informed by the practices of the body of Christ and not just because the university is disseminating a disembodied “Christianity” that seems to float in an abstract, intellectual ether disconnected from lived congregations. Indeed, I think the Christian university will only be as healthy as the church. And as I regularly tell both students and faculty, you have to plug yourself into the life of a local congregation to truly nourish the teaching and learning you’re called to in the Christian university. Chapel isn’t church; the classroom isn’t church; the Spirit does something to us in the space of local, multigenerational, worshiping congregations that forms us to take up our work as students and professors. But the Christian university should reverberate with echoes of the practices of the body of Christ.
26 The life of the Christian university is a chance to extend the life-giving work of the Spirit in intentional, communal, formative practices every day of the week. In some ways, the Christian university is a chance to realize John Calvin’s dream for the city of Geneva—that it would be a magnum monasterium, a kind of macrointentional community shaped by the repertoire of worship.
Chatraw: It seems that the university today spends a great deal of time and energy evaluating, surveying, and assessing. If you could wave a magic wand and be in charge for the day, would you change this and, if so, how? What tangible things would you point to in order to assess whether a Christian university is a success? Smith: Oh, man; don’t get me started! I can’t even tell you what I’d do with that magic wand! I’d probably march straight to the Department of Education and go ballistic. There are at least two problems with our “culture of assessment.” First, the assessment model assumes a reductionistic model of education (and human persons). So what they choose to measure is cut to the measure of a shameless utilitarianism. Second, the hegemony of assessment breeds a culture of mistrust. We have to do all this external, objectified assessment because we don’t trust professors as professionals. It drives me crazy. If I had to assess but could change how we do it, I would tie assessment to alumni. I’m not
interested in what 22 year olds exhibit. Formative Christian education is a long game. You can’t know what you’ve accomplished in four years. I often say: don’t judge my parenting by my 17-year-old. Wait til he’s 27, or better yet, 37! Then you’ll know whether our parenting has really been formative. Similarly for education in virtue: we need to measure what our alumni are doing— what they love, what they work toward. Good assessment takes patience. But of course, that’s precisely what’s missing in our short-term culture.
Chatraw: As a parent of a three and a seven year-old, I appreciate you giving me twenty or thirty years before my report card arrives! In closing, do you have any tips you’ve learned along the way that might help professors manage the constant pressures to respond to the tyranny of the urgent and operate faithfully in the modern university? Smith: I’m afraid I don’t have any magic answers, though that might be a good thing, because I think what nourishes our work is pretty mundane. I think it starts with friendships. A faithful faculty has to be a kind of fellowship of the ring, which means doing things to make friendship grow, which is as simple as eating lunch together or gathering for fellowship around books we love. That doesn’t sound too earth-shattering, but the academic life of the modern university drives us into the seclusion of our offices and the pressure of scholarship can sequester us into privatized silos. So, in that sense, just to make time for lunch together or evening book groups or a morning prayer fellowship is a counter-cultural act.
27 Dr. David S. Dockery President, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Christian Higher Education in a Changing Cultural Landscape: Tradition as a Source of Renewal The year was 1955: I was a mere two years old. The White House had become home to the American war hero, General Dwight David Eisenhower; Winston Churchill concluded his terms as the British Prime Minister and Richard Daley had just started his powerful reign as Chicago’s 48th mayor. Yet, it was the groundbreaking work of philosopher Will Herberg that best captured the essence of American culture during that period with the publication of his classic work, Protestant-Catholic-Jew.1
1. Religious Identity: The 1950s Herberg described an America with an overarching sense of unity and a common shared religion. He suggested that each religious tradition—Protestant, Catholic, Jew—possessed the same spiritual values of North American life, a soft-hearted democracy. With much insight, contrary to many other observers at that time, Herberg proposed that the popular religious revivals were more superficial than many recognized.2 Herberg identified America as a “triple melting pot” with each tradition, for the most part sharing and shaping life within their self-contained communities.3 As evidence of the importance given to Herberg’s work, it should be noted that Reinhold Niebuhr, the most influential public religious intellectual of the day, provided a prominent and praiseworthy review of the publication shortly after the volume had been released in the September 25th edition of The New York Times.4
2. Cultural Trends: 1960—2016 As thoughtful and insightful as Herberg’s book was at the time, the reality is that even he did not anticipate the rapid and radical changes forthcoming in the 1960s. By the 1960s, the many who identified with a church or synagogue were quick to leave them once their children were grown, once Vatican II opened the doors for changes in Catholic liturgy, once the civil rights movement put on display the outright racism and bigotry
of many in the churches, and once the sexual revolution raised doubts about the theological teachings and moral practices of both church and synagogue. University of Illinois professor Kevin Schultz, author of the Oxford publication Tri-Faith America: How Catholics and Jews Held Post War America to Its Protestant Promise, has observed that during the 1960s a cultural revolution arose that attempted a comprehensive transformation of American cultural values.5 These societal shifts appeared in almost any direction one looked, largely fueled by a backlash against the Vietnam War, but also energized by racial unrest and sexual experimentation, whether the “sit-ins” and “love-ins” on college campuses or protests in major cities. The pragmatic religion of the 1950s left most religious observers ill-prepared to respond to the changes.6 The revolution of the 1960s took place on multiple fronts, aimed at several targets, but one of its primary focuses was religion, which was understood to be the bastion of traditional values. Religion stood for everything that the Revolution opposed, including such things as the elevation of virtue over self-actualization, the individual’s submission to a higher authority and moral judgment, self-restraint, and the very notion of sin itself. Instead of functioning as a primary marker of social identity, religion began to be seen as a perpetrator of repression and injustice. The cultural trends of the 1960s and 70s introduced new social identifiers to replace the religious identity of the 1950s.7 During this time people began to see the breakdown of denominational identity, the rise of parachurch groups, major and observable divisions between progressives and evangelicals resulting in what Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow would describe as the very “Restructuring of American Religion” that has continued into the current decade.8
28 Now, according to Boston University scholar Peter Berger, that coherent religious world of the 1950s no longer exists. Instead, the world is more disconnected with what Berger pictures as the removal of “The Sacred Canopy,” the growing influence of secularization, the expansion of pluralization, the aloneness of privatization, and the confusion triggered by cognitive contamination, resulting in the loss and breakdown of plausibility structures,9 opening the door in this current decade for 23% of the American adult population to now identify without a religious identity and creating the expanding category of “Nones.”10 The most important recent work in this regard, demonstrating the implications for the radical changes of the past six decades, however, has come from the brilliant cultural analysis of Mary Eberstadt in her extremely well-researched 2016 volume with the alarming title It’s Dangerous to Believe. This new HarperCollins publication proposes that the revolution of the 1960s has resulted in a new secularized religion, with abortion as its primary sacrament.11
3. The Role of Christian Higher Education: Tradition as a Source for Renewal How, then, shall those of us who serve in the world of Christian higher education respond to these things? In our various roles across the spectrum of Christian higher education, we must first seek to affirm a convictional confession, augmented by a sense of civility in our living, in our learning, and in our service. We do so with an unflinching commitment to a truthful and authoritative Bible and with heartfelt gratitude for a gospel message that has been entrusted to us. I believe it is time for those of us who serve in the world of Christian higher education to reconsider the importance of tradition as a means of clarifying our mission as we seek to navigate many of the challenges in the changing cultural landscape of the 21st century. As we have observed, religious, cultural, and societal challenges abound in this world we are called to serve. In light of these things we want to propose a future for Christian higher education that seeks more intentionally to connect teaching, learning, research, and scholarship with the Christian heritage and tradition. Our invitation is to look to the past in order to navigate the future.12 Personal faith and genuine piety are certainly essential for the life of Christ followers, for the church, and for the work of evangelical higher education. Helping students recognize the importance of serious thinking about God, Scripture, the church, tradition, and the world needs a renewed emphasis at this time in order for the truth claims of the Christian faith to be passed along to the next generation.13 The world in which we live, with its emphasis on diversity and plurality, may well be a creative setting where we can ground our unity not only in the biblical confession that “Jesus is Lord,” but in the great confessional tradition flowing from the early church
29 councils. The current educational emphasis on the interrelationships of all things allows us to speak intelligently of the Christian message historically and globally. Such historical confessions, though neither infallible nor completely sufficient for all contemporary challenges, can provide wisdom and guidance when seeking to balance the mandates for right Christian thinking, right Christian believing, and right Christian living.14 At the heart of this calling is the need to prepare a generation to think Christianly, to engage the academy and the culture, to serve society, and to renew the connection with the church and its mission. To do so, the breadth and depth of the Christian tradition will need to be reclaimed, renewed, revitalized, and revived for the good of our shared work. One important place for us to begin is with the key commitments found in the Nicene tradition. The Creed of Nicea was drafted to refute the claim that Jesus was the highest creation of God and thus different in essence from the Father. What we refer to today as the Nicene Creed was most likely approved not at Nicea in 325, but at Constantinople in 381. While articulating the importance of the unity of the Holy Trinity, the authors insisted that Christ was begotten from the Father before all time, declaring that Christ is of the same essence as the Father.15 When we contend that Christian higher education must be distinctive, Christ-centered education, we are in effect confessing that Jesus Christ, who was eternally the second person of the Trinitarian God, sharing all the divine attributes, became fully human. Thus, to think of Christ-centeredness only in terms of personal piety or activism resulting from following select teachings of Jesus, while important, will be quite inadequate. A healthy future for our shared work must return to the past with the full affirmation that when we point to Jesus, we see the whole man Jesus and say, â€œThat is God.â€? This is the great mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). It is necessary that Christ should be fully God and fully human. Only as a human could he be the redeemer for humanity; only as God could his life, ministry, and redeeming death have infinite value and satisfy the demands of God so as to deliver others from death. Any attempt to envision a faithful Christian higher education for the days ahead that is not tightly tethered to the great confessional tradition of the church will most likely result in an educational model lacking a compass. The most clear way to counter the secular assumptions that
The calling of Christian higher education is to reflect the life of Christ and to shine the light of truth. That distinctive mission cannot be forced into an either/ or framework but rather a both/ and calling. It is a commitment to Jesus Christ himself, who is both fully God and fully human and who for Christian educators is both light and life. This multi-authored volume explores the question of the Christian faithâ€™s place on the university campus, whether in administrative matters, the broader academic world, or in student life. Philosophy, Sociology, Science, Arts, Business, Media; Faith and Learning explores how significant Christian thinkers have addressed such topics and their related issues throughout the history of the church. The historical, theological, and biblical framework will help students interact with and engage contemporary challenges to the Christian faith in the various fields of study and inquiry.
David S. Dockery, ed. Faith and Learning: A Handbook for Christian Higher Education (Nashville: B&H, 2012), $39.99.
30 shape so many sectors of higher education, indeed of the larger culture, is with the confession that the exalted Christ, who spoke this world into being by his powerful word, is the providential sustainer of all things (Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:2). It is this understanding of Christ-centeredness that we seek to bring to bear upon the learning process in the work of faithful Christian higher education. In doing so, we will seek to adjust the cultural assumptions of our post—Christian context in light of God’s eternal truth. We therefore want to call for the work of higher education in the days ahead to take place through the lense of the Nicene tradition that recognizes not only the unity of the Holy Trinity, but the transcendent, creating, sustaining, and self-disclosing Trinitarian God who has made humans in his own image. We envision a future for Christian higher education that seeks to engage all subject matter and the issues of our day in the various areas of learning, while recognizing that the Trinitarian God, the source of all truth, is central to the study of every discipline. This aspiration involves not only the study itself, but also the motivation for both teaching and learning, providing a distinctive shape for the work of Christian higher education. This is the call for this day and for tomorrow, for the present and the future, a call where all teaching and learning are carried out with a view toward reality found only in the self-revealing God.16 We appeal for an apostolic oneness, a faithful confession, founded on what Kevin Vanhoozer refers to as “anchored sets,” grounded in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the common salvation we share in him.17 We will need to understand the value of Christian tradition that can both inform and shape an intergenerational, intercultural, transdenominational, and transcontinental approach to our work.18 Particularly, new opportunities for partnership and collaboration need to pull us out of our inward-focused insularity where we can serve together in cultural engagement. We need to trust God to bring a fresh wind of his Spirit, to bring renewal to our confessional convictions, to strengthen our commitments to distinctive Christ-centered education, and to revitalize our connections with and service to the church.19 Let us pray that we can relate to one another in love and humility, bringing new life to our shared efforts.
1 Will Herberg, Protestant-Catholic-Jew: An Essay in American Religious Sociology (New York: Doubleday, 1955). 2 Ibid., 13-17; 85-112. 3 Ibid., 8-39. 4 Reinhold Niebuhr, America’s Three Melting Pots, New York Times, September 25, 1955. 5 Kevin M. Schultz, Tri-Faith America: How Catholics and Jews Held Postwar America to Its Protestant Promise (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 178-93; also Kevin Schultz, “Protestant-Catholic-Jew, Then and Now” First Things, January 2006, accessed October 11, 2016, https://www.firstthings.com/article/2006/01/ protestant-catholic-jewthen-and-now. 6 See Carl F. H. Henry, Evangelicals at the Brink of Crisis (Waco: Word, 1967); also, Helen Lee Turner, “Fundamentalism in the Southern Baptist Convention: The Crystallization of a Millennialist Vision” (PhD diss., University of Virginia, 1990). 7 See Paul Johnson, Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, rev ed. (New York: Harper, 1991). 8 See Robert Wuthnow, The Restructuring of American Religion: Society and Faith Since World War II (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988); Wuthnow, America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005). 9 See the essays in The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics, ed. Peter L. Berger (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999). Also, see Peter L. Berger, The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (New York: Doubleday, 1967); Berger, The Many Altars of Modernity: Toward a Paradigm for Religion in a Pluralist Age (Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2014). 10 James Emery White, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2014); White, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post—Christian World (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2016). 11 Mary Eberstadt, It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies (New York: HarperCollins, 2016); Eberstadt, How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization (West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Press, 2014). 12 See Thomas C. Oden, The Rebirth of Orthodoxy: Signs of New Life in Christianity (San Francisco: Harper, 2003). 13 See David S. Dockery, Renewing Minds: Serving Church and Society in Christian Higher Education, rev ed. (Nashville: B&H Publications, 2008). 14 See D.H. Williams, Evangelicals and Tradition: The Formative Influence of the Early Church (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005); Stephen R. Holmes, Listening to the Past: The Place of Tradition in Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002). 15 See Timothy George, ed., Evangelicals and the Nicene Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011). 16 See David S. Dockery and Timothy George, The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012). 17 Kevin J. Vanhoozer and Daniel J. Treier, Theology and the Mirror of Scripture: A Mere Evangelical Account (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016) 51-53. 18 See David S. Dockery, “Denominationalism: Historical Developments, Contemporary Challenges, and Global Opportunities,” in Why We Belong, ed. Anthony L. Chute, Christopher W. Morgan, and Robert A. Peterson (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 209-31. 19 See David S. Dockery, “Toward A Future For Christian Higher Education: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future,” Christian Higher Education 15, no. 1-2 (January 2016), 115-119.
CENTER for APOLOGETICS & CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT Upcoming Senior Fellow Publications and Articles
GREEK FOR EVERYONE
“THE PASTOR THEOLOGIAN AS APOLOGIST”*
by A. Chadwick Thornhill
by Joshua D. Chatraw
AT THE BEND OF THE RIVER GRAND
by David and Marybeth Baggett with Joelee Bateman
“FIRST AND SECOND PETER”*
by Chris Gnanakan *Chapter contributions
Senior Fellow Speaking Engagements DR. GARY HABERMAS JAN. 5-9, 2017 Defend the Faith Conference at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary APRIL 20-22, 2017 Worldview Apologetics Conference at Westminster Chapel Bellevue, Wash.
DR. KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR APRIL 3-5, 2017 “The Virtues of Reading: How Great Books Cultivate Virtue and Promote the Good Life” at The Gospel Coalition National Conference Indianapolis, Ind.
DR. KEN DORMER MARCH 16, 2017 “Nanomedicine and Atrial Fibrillation” presented to the VCU Department of Physiology, College of Medicine Richmond, Va.
32 Dr. Mark Allen Associate Professor and Department Chair of Biblical Studies Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity
From South Bend to Lynchburg: What Protestants can Learn from Catholics about Identity If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in their Protestantism, I have more: born again in the eighth grade and baptized by immersion; of the people of the Fundamentalists; of the tribe of Independent Baptists; an ordained Baptist preacher of ordained Baptist preachers; in regards to the Bible, a KJV’er; as for zeal, a tractcarrying soul-winner; persecuting the Ecumenical Church, as for righteousness based on the Scofield Reference Bible, a non-smoking, no dancing, Hollywood-hating, teetotaler. Yes, I grew up an Independent Baptist. My church tradition is one of separation. Dividing. Pulling away. Isolating ourselves from . . . well, everyone else. We have a big tent; the problem is we find ourselves sitting in it all alone . . . but at least we are right! But then, at age 45, after a slow process of opening myself up to a more generous, non-denominational, evangelical Protestantism, I found myself sitting in PhD courses at the University of Notre Dame with Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, and Presbyterian colleagues. One of my favorites was Sister Luma, an Iraqi nun. I remember the sweetness of the day that we finished our comps, got a Starbuck’s coffee, and walked around St. Mary’s Lake together. As we chatted, I mused to myself thankfully, “How did an Independent Baptist preacher get here?” It was wonderful, beautiful, and deeply satisfying. For seven years on Notre Dame’s campus, I was surrounded by the architecture of the Catholic
Church. The basilica. The chapels in each building. The grotto. The football stadium (wait, that’s another religion). Daily mass, several times a day. The liturgical seasons. Priests and nuns. Further, on the ND campus there is a sense of universality and history, a breadth and depth of theological reflection, a prudent unhurriedness and a beautiful impracticality which is coupled with stubborn conservatism. Once a young priest told me that he took a two-year period of discernment before he surrendered to the priesthood. In some of our old time Baptist churches, a preacher boy walks down the aisle to surrender to preach on Sunday and he is preaching at the next Wednesday night’s prayer meeting. Along with its calming prudence and thoughtful reflection, I found in the Roman Catholic Church an emphasis on the mind, a desire to serve the world, and an appreciation of religious beauty that allure the entire person — head, hands, and heart. My Catholic friends, one of whom had been a worship leader in an evangelical college ministry before becoming a Roman Catholic, encouraged me to consider “coming home” or becoming a “completed Christian.” They were never overbearing, forceful, or shaming. While I did read the journeys from Evangelicalism to Roman Catholicism of John Henry Newman, Scott Hahn, Francis Beckwith, and Christian Smith, I was not persuaded to become a Roman Catholic. There are several aspects of the Roman Catholic Church that I could not embrace.1 Yet, from my Catholic friends and my Catholic University, I learned the value of catholicity and a catholic identity. Now, I
can say that I am Protestant and catholic. Catholicity, as I am using the term here with a small “c,” refers to the general or universal church throughout the world and throughout all time, along with its rich historical and multicultural expressions and traditions. The local, autonomous church, therefore, is a microcosmic expression of the catholic church within a given locality. It is the place where the marks of the church, which are the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, are practiced. I believe that catholicity has the power to shape the identity of our individual lives, our local churches, and our engagement with culture in positive ways. How so? There are many, but I will mention four.2 First, catholic creeds give our faith shape, contours, and boundaries. Also, these short, agreed upon statements center our faith in what we share in common. Many protestants say things like, “No creed but Christ; no book but the Bible.” “Really?” we might respond with tongue in cheek, “Is that your creed?” Theologian Michael Bird, would call that an “anticreedal creed.”3 The historic, church creeds are straightforward, worked out, unifying statements of biblical truth. They unite us and, to some extent, define us. Those are good things. Some of the most important catholic creeds are The Apostle’s Creed (ca. AD 200), Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (AD 325, 381), the Chalcedonian Creed (AD 451), and the Athanasian Creed (ca. AD 500). These Mere Christianity-type creeds remind us of the beliefs that are most essential, most important, and most unifying for us. They move us from an isolated “I believe” to the communal “I believe” of confessional and missional solidarity. Second, embracing catholicity situates our individual lives and our local ecclesial experiences within the continuity of a big, unfolding, church story. It gives us context. It keeps us from jumping straight from the last Apostle to today without acknowledging the work of God in and through his church over the past 2000 years. Also, it allows us to see ourselves in a church tradition without obsessing over our “rightness” and everyone else’s “wrongness.” It gives us a measured and humble
estimation of our unique way of conceptualizing, articulating, and practicing our faith. I am Baptist for sure, but Baptist within a wider story. Put another way, our ecclesial situatedness is situated within a larger situation—and by accepting that and accessing the resources of the larger situation into our local church we are all the richer. Surprisingly, to myself and to others, I am more of a Baptist now than before I attended Notre Dame. It was my discovery there of catholicity that moved me to locate myself firmly and happily back within a particular church tradition.4 Third, is it possible that with modern, protestant evangelicalism’s embrace of pragmatic ecclesial autonomy and individualized spiritual experiences, we have left behind richly-resourced, identityshaping, well-established, and historically-formed communal and personal practices? Admittedly, something is definitely askew when tradition gets in the way of mission, when rituals impede the fiery work of the Holy Spirit, and when congregants just go through the motions of the same week in and week out routines, but it is equally, if not more, dangerous to assert casually things like “It’s not about ritual; it’s about a relationship” or “I’m about Jesus, not the church.” Such popular aphorisms put us in danger of an undisciplined, amorphous, me-centered, and squishy Christian identity, but catholicity encourages us to take shape and to be something. Finally, catholicity takes us back to the future. There are significant connection points between our present context and the world of the catholic Early Church.5 The Early Church lived in a pluralistic society, as do we. Their ethics were strange to their neighbors, as are ours. They felt like outsiders in their own country, as we increasingly do. Their religious beliefs were not mainstream, as ours are not. They felt political pressure from the state against their faith, as do we. In many ways, the further back we go into church history, the more things can feel like the present . . . and the future. Granted, we are on this side of the Enlightenment. We can’t live as if Locke, Descartes, and Kant never existed. That is naïve; in the West, we live in a world shaped by modernity. But in our postmodern
or late modern context, the Early Church extends to the 21st century Protestant church their vast resources for theology, apologetics, and cultural engagement. Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Irenaeus, Origen, Chrysostom, Augustine, and many others are waiting to guide us into shaping an effective identity in the emerging postmodern world. Catholicity opens us up to the resources of the Early Church. This year, we observe the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. For an entire year, we will celebrate the great “solas:” • • • • •
Sola Fide, by faith alone. Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone. Solus Christus, through Christ alone. Sola Gratia, by grace alone. Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.
These are the primary identifying markers of Protestantism. As children of the Reformation, we are devoted to these five principles. But our commitment to the solas does not negate catholicity. It actually “enhances our reception of the catholic fullness of the church’s past” and present.6 When I was at the University of Notre Dame, I had a shtick in which I would introduce myself like this: “I attended a Fundamental Baptist College, a Dispensational Seminary, and a Reformed/ Charismatic-lite Seminary. I pastored a small, nondenominational community church. Now I am studying at a Catholic University and attending a Methodist megachurch. Do you know what I am now? Confused!” I had an identity crisis.
Not anymore. I am a Baptist, just not so independent, a Protestant rooted, stretched, broadened, informed, equipped, and shaped by catholicity. Today, I live in Lynchburg, but I have not left South Bend behind.
1 For an analysis of commonalities and differences between Protestants and Catholics, see Mark A. Noll and Carolyn Nystrom, Is the Reformation Over: An Evangelical Assessment of Contemporary Roman Catholicism (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005); Gregg Allison and Chris Castaldo, The Unfinished Reformation: What Unites and Divides Protestants and Catholics after 500 Years (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016). 2 We could talk about the great literary spiritual resources, like Origen and Gregory of Nyssa’s meditations on Israel’s wilderness wanderings in Homily XXVII on Numbers and The Life of Moses respectively; Augustine’s Confessions; Julian of Norwich’s Revelation of Divine Love; St. John of the Cross’ Dark Night of the Soul; François Fénelon’s The Seeking Heart; G. K Chesterton’s Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith; Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain, Henry Nouwen’s The Wounded Healer, and many, many more. 3 Michael F. Bird, What Christians Ought to Believe: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine through the Apostles’ Creed (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016). 4 J. Todd Billings writes, “By using the term ‘catholic-Reformed,’ I am suggesting that being Reformed is not an autonomous end in itself, but is a way to occupy the ‘holy catholic church.’ I sometimes describe this dynamic in terms of an underground water table: many American Christians today think that they do not have to occupy any particular tradition, but can pick and choose from many traditions—like digging a hole here and there looking for water. But when one learns to really inhabit a tradition with depth, one can hit the ‘catholic water table.’ At that point, Baptists, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, Reformed, and Orthodox can all find common ground, even amid real and significant ongoing differences.” In Michael Allen and Scott R. Swain’s Reformed Catholicity: The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015), 153. 5 I was put onto this idea partly through a personal conversation with Dr. Darrell Bock, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. 6 Allen and Swain write specifically of sola Scriptura’s place in the church’s reception of catholic fullness, 49-70.
Worship: Shaper of Society? Or Shaped by Society? Dr. Paul Rumrill, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Music Education, Dr. Tad Hardin, Coordinator of Keyboard Studies and Assistant Professor of Piano Liberty University School of Music
Is the “spirit and truth” worship – worship that Jesus commends in John 4 – completely separate from today’s culture? What makes worship authentic in the Christian faith and daily life? Mankind is a worshipping creature.1 We operate poorly as individual entities, but marvelously in union with another, and best with God Himself. Worship is supposed to be the climax of this relational connection to God. God made man in His own image and likeness, fashioning him to walk with Him, live with Him—bringing pleasure to Him by delighting in Him alone. When Adam and Eve fell, they did not cease worshipping as much as transfer their heart and allegiance to someone/thing other than God—to self and Satan. The great problem of the Fall was that mankind can now choose to worship whomever and whatever he/she wants, in whatever fashion desired. The law of sin and death dictates that we will worship unlawfully, at some point, sooner or later. The thing man cannot do is choose not to worship. Thus, our identity, is shaped by how we express this worship and by the direction to which we direct our worship.
WHILE WORSHIP EXPRESSION INVOLVES SOME DEGREE OF CULTURAL INFLUENCE, WE HAVE GENERALLY ALLOWED IT TO DOMINATE THE DEVOTIONAL LANDSCAPE.
Therefore, we ask the question, “Can Christian worship truly be free from ALL influences of society?” In reality, no. We are commanded to sing to the Lord (Psalm 98:1, Col. 3:16); in the United States, our songs are usually sung in some sort of Western melodic-harmonic tradition. We are called to love to our neighbor (Lev. 19:18, Mark 12:31); here it is typically expressed in relational, sacrificial, meaningful ways particular to the needs of our society. Our church buildings (encouraging public assembly, Heb. 10:25) are framed in architecture and scope appropriate to what many deem as regionally appropriate or artistically valuable. In short, our expressions of worship and obedience have a cultural bent to them – even for the best and most biblically normative practices. Many pastors and theologians decry the problems arising from the influences of culture that tempt us to conform to the patterns of this world and not to the mandates of our Lord and Savior. Polls from Gallup (2005), The Barna Group (2004, 2009), and Lifeway Research (2016) indicate concern that an effort toward increasing cultural relevance in the churches has failed to produce true disciples that serve as salt and light in their society. Ed Stetzer summarizes the problem saying, “We have spruced up the worship, spiked up the sermons, and become great at organization— all the while we are failing to produce disciples.”2
36 The corporate approaches of Wall Street, the public eloquence of Oprah, and the production values of Nashville in our churches have not produced the righteousness of God. While worship expression involves some degree of cultural influence, we have generally allowed it to dominate the devotional landscape. Yet it is only the word of the Lord that is perfect, converting the soul, enlightening the eyes, rejoicing the heart, making us wise (Psalm 19:7-8). Since the word of God has this wisdom-inducing potency, can Word-saturated worship influence the society around us? We believe it should! Corporate worship should honor the God of the Bible, making known his name among the nations (c.f., Mal 1:11, 14; Rom. 15:8-13). It should call us to deeper obedience and devotion to Christ (c.f., 1 John 5:2-3). It should encourage us to seek repentance, change, and forgiveness (c.f.,James 4:7-10; 2 Cor. 6:16b-7:1). It should exalt Jesus’ rule and reign – His lordship – over our lives and over all (c.f., Col. 1:13-18). It should certainly testify to His crucifixion, death, and resurrection (c.f., Gal. 6:14, 1 Cor. 15:3-8). It should also, however, capture the longings and the struggles of our hearts – our spiritual condition before following Christ – and the reality of who we are in Him now (c.f., Eph. 2:1-7). As a royal priesthood, we should declare our identity: unified in one blood, and called to the purposes of Christ alone, as adopted sons (c.f., Rom 8). This Christ-centric, authentic worship cannot help but transform the participating people of God and, by extension, impact society outside the walls of the church. Healthy communities of faith realize that when various peoples come together to worship God week after week, they do so all the more richly as their faith identity is built by meaningful, shared experiences. These experiences can give voice to heart cries that respond specifically to the Lordship of Christ and His death and resurrection. Unfortunately, we often seem to lack the fortitude to intentionally communicate the greatest message of all time in ways that address the deepest needs of our people, and in a culturally-constructed mechanism that makes contextual sense from their vantage point. This failure to target the gospel message in order to knit differing hearts together in Christ is one of the reasons why we lack authentic church worship in a culturally shifting society. Authentic worship in our faith communities intersects with culture in many ways, but can be viewed in four frameworks, working simultaneously in our churches. As highlighted in the Nairobi Statement on Worship and Culture, worship expressions that forge a meaningful, Christ-centric identity touch
on transcultural, contextual, countercultural, and cross-cultural realities.3 Transcultural elements of worship refer to the immutables of the faith: the work of Christ in His sinless life, crucifixion, death, and resurrection; the Bible text, water baptism, and the administration of communion elements. These essentials are a significant part of every true Christian community among all peoples and cultures. Thus, our prayers, songs, motives, responses, and actions should be mindful of these realities. In forming identity, we should ask: do our expressions of worship stay close to these truths? Do they celebrate the power of these things, or minimize them? Are we emphasizing something other than these transcultural features in our Christian communities? Such challenges are important to face directly. A vigorous dichotomy exists between Biblical mandates and cultural relevance, between legalism and licentiousness. Even the initial use of electric guitars in our own Western church services brought debate, which was healthy and important. The debate was arguably strongest from 1970 to 1990, when electric guitars served as the showpiece for contemporary bands, many of which modeled immorality and rebellion to a remarkable degree. A few churches incorporated guitars quickly, either with rugged intentionality or with uncritical acceptance. In many churches the guitar was adapted over time, cautiously; some faith communities did so only after much dialogue among leaders, while some chose to avoid adapting it at all. Today, however, the guitar within the church has more or less transcended its worldly association and is one of the most important instruments enhancing worship today. Perhaps the electric guitar’s fate would have been different, had the dispute not been so spirited in past years. The impetus for sanctified uses of the guitar became all the stronger as a result. In recognizing the contextual framework of worship, we should ask: how driven are our spiritual gatherings by stylistic preferences? Do our expressions of worship proclaim transcultural values in contextual settings, or do they just trumpet contextual values with a coating of transcultural afterthoughts? Without contextualization, the Gospel message cannot take root in each diverse culture found outside the church walls. Its meaning and manifestations must find expression in local relevant behaviors and traditions. Yet it is not just cultural irrelevance that threatens the influence of the
37 church; contextual adaptation merely for the sake of assimilation and progress can so easily taint a sound doctrine and liturgy. Elements derived from any culture, including that with which we are most familiar, must be distilled and held to the timeless standard of Scripture, rather than the shifting foundation of modern morality. For example, in the labors of ministries everywhere in the United States, efficiency tends to be one of the practices that is supposed to demonstrate commitment to Biblical values such as “excellence” (Phil. 1:9-10, Dan. 6:3) and “good stewardship” (Luke 16:10-13). It is a useful, effective, corporate, American value. Should efficiency, however, be the primary measuring stick for our intersection with people week-to-week? Is time management supposed to be the primary driver of our worship events? Promoting efficiency may not be as important as emphasizing relationship-building, accountability-developing, devotional depth in our gatherings. The American value of efficiency may be a value that actually gets in the way of the most essential goals for ministry. Thus, addressing questions of context are important markers in the pursuit of Christ-centered worship. While certain dimensions of our identity in Christian community must be contextually relevant, others need to be expressly countercultural. The call to discipleship requires putting everything “on the altar,” including personal preferences, cultural values, individual aspirations, and religious forms - even fashionable societal views of church. Everything passes under the scrutiny of the cross. Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and fol-
WITHOUT CONTEXTUALIZATION, THE GOSPEL MESSAGE CANNOT TAKE ROOT IN EACH DIVERSE CULTURE FOUND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH WALLS. ITS MEANING AND MANIFESTATIONS MUST FIND EXPRESSION IN LOCAL RELEVANT BEHAVIORS AND TRADITIONS. low Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 16:24-25). For a true disciple, nothing involving one’s former identity is automatically exempt from change or discard; it all must take second place to Christ. In allowing our faith identity to be distinctly different than greater society, we can ask: must we have our choice songs, our favorite Scrip-
38 tures, our audio mix, our preferred styles in church? Does our worship community pursue the gospel as the means to fulfill the American Dream? Does our gathering emphasize national controversies more than personal repentance and a walk with the Lord? Do we promote the adulation of Christian celebrities? Do we only go to church with people who look like us? Answering yes to any of these questions may reveal how and where we need to better answer God’s call to no longer conform ourselves to the pattern of this world.Finally, the experiences of today’s society compel us to look at cross-cultural realities in our congregations. The United States is more diverse than ever in race, socioeconomics, ideology, and micro-communities. Cross-cultural communication is not just a world missions issue; it is an essential component of ministering on our own streets and in our own church buildings. Generational differences are significant enough that many ministry strategies for reaching an age group require cross-cultural ways of constructing worship events. Lovingly connecting them to Christ will call us to change some of our approaches for “doing church.” Immigrations and migrations may require us to embrace numerous kinds of people in our city, intentionally adjusting some features of ministry and worship expression to speak to them. Perhaps it will include allowing Christians who look, think, and worship in atypical ways into our leadership and devotional representation. All of this entails music cultures meeting (with all the messiness this implies), cross-cultural friendships developing, differing worldviews wrangling, and worship forms evolving from the life of Christ being brought into another culture.
Conclusion: Shaper of Society? Or Shaped by Society? Jesus said that if we greet only people like us (“our own”), how are we different from anyone else? The blood of Christ should wash away the color line, the gender line, the socioeconomic line, the generation line, and many other divisions imposed by and expected in society. In connecting cross-culturally with the gospel, we need to ask ourselves: are we only meaningfully loving and connecting with those like us? In the United States, ethnic divides are perhaps the notable blight of our nation, and cross-cultural disciples in relationship can be a mighty cure. Christ-following worshippers should lead the way by learning and intersecting with cultures far different than ourselves that we might be salt and light that shapes society. 1 For more on this, see G. K. Beale, We are What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008). 2 Ed Stetzer, “Weeping for Willow’s Disciples,” Christianity Today, July 7, 2008, accessed November 2, 2016, http://www. christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2008/july/weeping-for-willows-disciples.html. 3 Charles E. Farhadian, ed. “Appendix: The Nairobi Statement,” in Christian Worship Worldwide: Expanding Horizons, Deepening Practices (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007), 285-90.
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Faculty Responses to the Question of Identity On October 3, 2016, the Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement, along with the Provost’s Office at Liberty University, hosted a faculty convocation addressing “Our Modern Identity Crisis.” Several papers were presented from multiple disciplines. Following these presentations, faculty were encouraged to consider three questions and submit reflection-responses to a question of their choosing. Here are the questions and what select faculty members had to say in response to two of the themes that were explored:
does seeing our lives as part of a story—whether a true or false 1. How story, whether happy or sad—shape our sense of self and identity? How can we help our students tell better stories about themselves?
DR. MICHAEL TORRES, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CINEMATIC ARTS, ZAKI GORDON CENTER In storytelling disciplines, such as the one I am blessed to be a part of, cinematic arts, the prospect of the artist is to discover in the process of creating art what it means to be human, that is, our existential search for purpose and identity. Both character and plot reveal this search, and fundamentally the choices that characters make move a story forward and reveal the character’s true identity. The reflection of how our choices as unique individuals moves our story and us through the journey on which we find ourselves unmasks a paradox: the paradox of being so loved by an omnipotent God that we are individually considered
so invaluable that ultimate sacrifice rules, and at once in the face of omnipotence we are humbled and we recognize we have no identity apart from rightly relating to God. Our students are encouraged to explore to both the depths and heights of what it all means. In the exploration, they grapple with the historical Jesus of Nazareth, the essence of faith in His incredible person and story. As a consequence, we hope they wrestle with how in our contemporary culture, both at large and at a micro level in our communities, familial groups and within ourselves, we communicate how to discover true identity through the revelation of Christ as both the ideal person/identity and the great I AM.
DURRELL NELSON, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CINEMATIC ARTS, ZAKI GORDON CENTER Identity in the Ring Like Frodo Baggins, many of us have endured in our youth the sear of insignificance. It has been in this comradery and journey with Frodo through Middle Earth that we have been stirred to accept the call toward something of greater importance than ourselves. However, as we discovered the infinite pleasures of the ring, Gollum became a more amicable companion. It is in this tension of story that we see our reflections. Whether scripture, stage play, or movie, story
reveals the universal truths of our human nature and compels us to examine our identity. We must be redeemed for the ring to be exposed. This is the power of story. It is incumbent upon us as teachers to encourage students to write stories that reflect the human condition and present the answer. Our identity is ultimately in the Bride Ring.
Does the metaphor of slavery throughout the Bible (the loss of human freedom) destroy the individual identity of a modern Christ follower?
DR. GARY E. YATES, PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL STUDIES, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY RAWLINGS SCHOOL OF DIVINITY The figure of servant/slave of God is not a demeaning one in part because of the other metaphors used in Scripture to portray the relationship of humans to God. Our destiny is not to be slaves but to rule as God’s vice-regents--his “images” (statues) here on earth (Gen 1:26-28). Slavery is degrading when the master is concerned only with his own advantage and profit, but God calls us as his servants to enable us to reach our full human potential as we glorify him. Moses and Joshua are the only individuals called “servant of the Lord” in the Old Testament, and David and the prophets were also
known as “servants” of God. The Lord honored all of them with the privilege of accomplishing great tasks for him. Servants like Joseph and Nehemiah were exalted to positions of great authority because they faithfully served those over them, but God goes further by adopting his servants as sons and daughters and even calling them his friends. God honors his servants so much that his own Son is given “the name above every name” (Phil 2:9) because he was willing to suffer and die as a faithful servant.
DR. MICHAEL J. SMITH, PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL STUDIES, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY RAWLINGS SCHOOL OF DIVINITY The answer to the question seems to depend on the perspective of the slave. If the slave looks horizontally, slave to slaves, then yes, he/she is just another one out of a large company of slaves. The ability to create an identity on this level is determined by how effectively they can push themselves to the front of the crowd. But when one looks at the relationship vertically, slave to Master, one sees an incredible privilege where their identity is established by the personal attention of the Master. We serve the God of all creation who has already bent the knee to serve us. Jesus told His disciples that He did not call them
slaves, but He called them His friends (John 15:15). Then Jesus demonstrated that He would serve His friends when He knelt and washed the feet of the disciples (Think of it: God serving on His knees!! Phil 2:3-7), followed the next day by His going to the cross to serve us all as He died as a substitute in our place. And not only are we friends, who have been personally represented on the cross, but our Master has adopted us as His children (Rom 8:15, 23). Can we have a greater identity than that?
Pornography Use and the Response of the Church Dr. Fred Volk, Professor of Counseling, Carolyn E. Moen, Doctoral Student, Dr. John C. Thomas, Professor of Counseling, Lucy C. Phillips, Doctoral Student, Brittany Lashua, Doctoral Student Liberty University School of Behavioral Sciences
It is safe to say that, broadly speaking, pornography use is common, (Brown, Durtschi, Carroll, & Willoughby, 2017; Nelson, Padilla-Walker, & Carroll, 2010; Wright, 2013) and that pornography use among religious individuals is not particularly rare, albeit still less frequent than non-religious users (Grubbs, Sessoms, Wheeler, & Volk, 2010; Laaser & Adams, 1997). Individuals who indicate that religiosity is central to their day-to-day lives are more likely to abstain from pornography use (Brown et al., 2017; Hardy, Steelman, Coyne, & Ridge, 2013; Short, Kasper, & Wetterneck, 2014), and religious pornography users have less frequent use than nonreligious users (Short et al., 2014). Yet, religious users are more likely to indicate that they are addicted to pornography than non-religious users (Abell, Steenbergh, & Boivin, 2006; Grubbs et al., 2010; Grubbs, Volk, Exline, & Pargament, 2015). Pornography “addiction” nomenclature has gained traction in religious communities, so much so that religious individuals are more likely to report that pornography addiction is a more pressing societal issue than other issues (e.g., racism) when compared to non-religious samples (Macinnis & Hodson, 2016).
help alleviate the compulsiveness of behavior, but their efforts may be misguided. With a quick Internet search, one can find numerous programs and groups that are offered by local churches to support
Christians who choose to use pornography, even though sexual behavior outside of the marriage relationship is inconsistent with their values (Griffin et al., 2016), may be overwhelmed by associated negative outcomes including shame (Volk, Thomas, Sosin, Jacob, & Moen, 2016), guilt, relationship dysfunction, decreases in marital satisfaction (Muusses, Kerkhof, & Finkenauer, 2015; Perry, 2016), and spiritual struggles over time (Grubbs, Exline, Pargament, Hook, & Carlisle, 2014). Incongruence between beliefs and pornography use may cause Christians to exaggerate the severity and meaningfulness of their use. As a result, they misinterpret their unwanted behavior as pathological, and this interpretation further amplifies the distress related to use. Some well-meaning churches and individuals have developed treatment programs to
people struggling with sexual sin and pornography use. Unfortunately, these well-intended efforts are likely misaligned with many of the needs of those who are seeking help from the church. These interventions may address only the spiritual aspect of the use, while ignoring the biological, psychological, and social aspects of the problematic behavior.
THE CRS REVIEW WILL BE A REOCCURRING RESEARCH UPDATE FROM THE CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP (CRS). THE PURPOSE OF THIS REPORT IS TO CONVEY TO FACULTY THE VARIOUS TYPES OF RESEARCH BEING CONDUCTED BY FACULTY AND STUDENTS AT LIBERTY UNIVERSITY. AS THE QEP IS FOCUSING ON INCREASED RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR FACULTY AND STUDENTS, THIS REPORT WILL PROVIDE A VEHICLE TO SHARE THE MULTIFACETED WAYS THAT LIBERTY HAS ENGAGED IN THE ONGOING TASK OF RESEARCH.
Common Conceptions of Pornography Use (in the Church) There are three types of people who present in churches with problems related to pornography use, yet all of these people are conceptualized as having “an addiction” to pornography. The first group of individuals makes up the smallest percentage and
44 includes people who view pornography at rates that could be classified as truly addictive although pornography use as the primary addictive component in a clinical diagnosis is still controversial (Cooper, Delmonico, & Burg, 2000; Cooper, Putnam, Planchon, & Boies, 1999; Hilton, 2013; Ley, Prause, & Finn, 2014; Schneider, 2003; Wetterneck, Burgess, Short, Smith, & Cervantes, 2012). While users who experience true addictions are infrequent, religious pornography users experience greater inner conflict associated with use; therefore, it is reasonable to expect a higher percentage of these cases to occur in a religious population. Individuals who use pornography at extreme rates are clearly in need of professional counseling that incorporates evidence based-treatments. Any purity group participation should be in concert with individualized therapeutic intervention. Best clinical practice supports use of individualized evidence-based approaches in order to address an individual’s symptoms that are associated with distress and impairment. Churchbased interventions are likely insufficient because they lack empirical support, an individualized approach, and a holistic perspective. Like others (e.g., Chisholm & Gall, 2015), we advocate the application of evidence-based treatments for believers who seek help for problematic pornography use. The second type of pornography user that comes to the church with issues of addiction to pornography is likely the most common. These users are not using pornography at rates that could be truly described as addictive and they experience distress because their personal values conflict with their use. For example, users who morally object to their own pornography use are much more likely to view their use as addictive and have negative feelings about their own use (Grubbs et al., 2014; Volk et al., 2016). It appears that for the vast majority of pornography users (i.e., non-compulsive users), their own perceptions about their use are the source of negative consequences (e.g., psychological distress) instead of the use itself. It is this group of users that the church is most equipped to help, but unfortunately there may be unintended consequences of applying current addiction models to what could be described as only a sin problem. That is, by taking on the “addiction” label, pornography users may become identified by and begin to view their interaction with God and others through lens of their experiences with pornography. This can result in increased and ongoing spiritual struggles. Any treatment that encourages or suggests addiction without the coordination of a licensed treatment
professional with sexual addiction training and experience is ill-advised. If it is singularly a sin issue, the path to reconciliation (i.e., repentance, forgiveness, and restoration) is well defined for believers. The third type of problematic pornography users who seek help from a church cannot be assessed solely on the basis of their pornography use. In fact,
IF IT IS A SIN PROBLEM AND NOT TRULY AN ADDICTION ISSUE, THE PATH TO RECONCILIATION IS WELL-DEFINED FOR BELIEVERS WITHOUT TAKING ON THE ADDICTION LABEL. they may report that they are using pornography infrequently. They are seeking guidance or joining sexual purity groups due to much more serious underlying sexual (e.g., hypersexuality) or mental health (e.g., obsessive compulsive disorder) (Laaser & Adams, 1997) issues, which require assistance from a licensed professional. Often there are other addictions, paraphilias, and other psychopathological problems that interact with the pornography use. Professionals are in the best position to assess and treat these issues.
Christian Responses As Christians who are called by God to care for each other, we should make every effort to effectively care for every person who seeks help from the church. Part of caring for others responsibly is recognizing when we encounter a problem that is outside the scope of our abilities to treat. Traditionally, many churches stifle dialogue about healthy sexuality and sexual problems, but the public denial of problems may only add to the secret struggles of pornography users. Instead, churches should encourage open dialogue. When people present with a pornography problem, the first duty of a caring church leader, faculty member, or mentor is to assess the depth of the problem. If people show signs of addiction or a mental health condition or if the church leader is uncertain about these, the user should be referred to a licensed and trained professional for assessment and possible treatment. It would be beneficial for those who find themselves in a position where others come to them with confessions such as this
to become aware of professionals in their area so that they can refer those who need treatment. The church can play a key role in making sure that those with potentially serious mental health issues get the help they need while providing those same people with spiritual and financial support. If it is clear that they are dealing with a non-pathological sin problem, then spiritual methods should be used. In these cases, the church should continue offering spiritual direction and providing a network of accountability and support groups. Church leaders should actively seek information and research about identifying pathologies and effective programs for helping believers, without pathological use, to overcome this stronghold in their lives.
Abell, J., Steenbergh, T., & Boivin, M. (2006). Cyberporn use in the context of religiosity. Journal of Psychology & Theology, 34(2), 165–171. Brown, C. C., Durtschi, J. A., Carroll, J. S., & Willoughby, B. J. (2017). Understanding and predicting classes of college students who use pornography. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 114–121. http:// doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.09.008 Chisholm, M., & Gall, T. L. (2015). Shame and the x-rated addiction: The role of spirituality in treating male pornography addiction. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 22(4), 259–272. doi:10.1080/1072 0162.2015.1066279 Cooper, A., Delmonico, D. L., & Burg, R. (2000). Cybersex users, abusers, and compulsives: New findings and implications. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 7(1–2), 5–29. http://doi. org/10.1080/10720160008400205 Cooper, A., Putnam, D. E., Planchon, L. A., & Boies, S. C. (1999). Online sexual compulsivity: Getting tangled in the net. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 6(2), 79–104. http://doi. org/10.1080/10720169908400182 Griffin, B. J., Worthington, E. L., Leach, J. D., Hook, J. N., Grubbs, J., Exline, J. J., & Davis, D. E. (2016). Sexual congruence moderates the associations of hypersexual behavior with spiritual struggle and sexual self-concept. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 23(2-3), 279–295. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10720162.2016.1150924 /10.1080/10720162.2016.1150924 Grubbs, J. B., Exline, J. J., Pargament, K. I., Hook, J. N., & Carlisle, R. D. (2014). Transgression as addiction: Religiosity and moral disapproval as predictors of perceived addiction to pornography. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44(1), 125-136. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10508013-0257-z Grubbs, J. B., Sessoms, J., Wheeler, D. M., & Volk, F. (2010). The cyber-pornography use inventory: The development of a new assessment instrument. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 17(2), 106–126. http://doi.org/10.1080/10720161003776166 Grubbs, J. B., Volk, F., Exline, J. J., & Pargament, K. I. (2015). Internet pornography use: Perceived addiction, psychological distress, and the validation of a brief measure. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 41(1), 83–106. http://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2013.842192 Hardy, S. A., Steelman, M. A., Coyne, S. M., & Ridge, R. D. (2013). Adolescent religiousness as a protective factor against pornography use. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 34(3), 131–139. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2012.12.002 Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography addiction - A supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 3. http://doi.org/10.3402/snp.v3i0.20767 Laaser, M. R., & Adams, K. M. (1997). Pastors and sexual addiction. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 4(4), 357-370. http://doi. org/10.1080/10720169708404238 Ley, D., Prause, N., & Finn, P. (2014). The emperor has no clothes: A review of the “pornography addiction” model. Current Sexual Health Reports, 6(2), 1–12. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11930-0140016-8
Macinnis, C. C., & Hodson, G. (2016). Surfing for sexual sin: Relations between religiousness and viewing sexual content online. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 23(2-3), 196-210. http://doi.org/10.1080/10720162.2015.1130000 Muusses, L. D., Kerkhof, P., & Finkenauer, C. (2015). Internet pornography and relationship quality: A longitudinal study of within and between partner effects of adjustment, sexual satisfaction and sexually explicit internet material among newly-weds. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 77–84. http:// doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.11.077 Nelson, L. J., Padilla-Walker, L. M., & Carroll, J. S. (2010). “I believe it is wrong but I still do it”: A comparison of religious young men who do versus do not use pornography. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2(3), 136–147. http://doi. org/10.1037/a0019127 Perry, S. L. (2016). From bad to worse? Pornography consumption, spousal religiosity, gender, and marital quality. Sociological Forum, 31(2), 441–464. http://doi.org/10.1111/ socf.12252 Schneider, J. P. (2003). The impact of compulsive cybersex behaviours on the family. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 18(3), 329–354. http://doi.org/10.1080/146819903100153946 Short, M. B., Kasper, T. E., & Wetterneck, C. T. (2014). The relationship between religiosity and internet pornography use. Journal of Religion and Health, 54(2), 571-583. http://doi. org/10.1007/s10943-014-9849-8 Volk, F., Thomas, J., Sosin, L., Jacob, V., & Moen, C. (2016). Religiosity, developmental context, and sexual shame in pornography users: A serial mediation model. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 23(2-3), 244-259. http://doi.org/10.1080/1072 0162.2016.1151391 Wetterneck, C., Burgess, A., Short, M. B., Smith, A. H., & Cervantes, M. E. (2012). The role of sexual compulsivity, impulsivity, and experiential avoidance in internet pornography use. The Psychological Record, 62(1), 3. Wright, P. J. (2013). U.S. males and pornography, 1973-2010: Consumption, predictors, correlates. Journal of Sex Research, 50(1), 60–71. http://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2011.628132
46 Dr. Lorene M. Wales Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts Liberty University Cinematic Arts, Zaki Gordon Center
Cultural Engagement in Communication and the Arts: Once Upon a Time (A Theory) Once upon a time…I was a little girl, seeing my first movie, In Search of Noah’s Ark (1976). I was so astounded by the images, I knew God was calling me to work in film. Yep, not Star Wars, which came out a year later, but a documentary about a boat (okay, THE boat!). Just 39 years later, I’m now an educator, author, and culture-maker. So when trying to tackle how we engage culture, I look back at how it all started for me and realize I’m not that same awestruck girl. I believe there is no single, right way to engage culture and no lone worldview. We, as educators in cinematic arts (and the rest of the university faculty), engage culture differently, sometimes even contrarily. These variated approaches are because we bring all of ourselves, our history, our upbringing, our memories and sometimes our baggage to this task. Active audience theory argues that we don’t just receive information passively but are actively involved, making sense of what we see within our own contexts. I believe this is true, but I would add to this theory, and maybe call it the “Once Upon a Time – Active Audience Theory.” See, as a woman, I view a superhero in a movie differently now than when I was a girl. Then, I saw a future husband; now, I see a guy in tights. The first time I saw Forrest Gump, I loved it; now, as the mom of a son with an intellectual disability it’s just... discomforting. And, as a Christian woman, I used to see women in film and aspire to be the heroine. Now, I also see the stereotypes, injustice, violence and objectification that have existed throughout cinematic history and wonder about the long-term impact of such stereotypes.
My moment of engagement was different in my childhood and young adulthood, based on who I was at each of those distinct periods of life. And, it is different today based on who I am now. Who we are changes, and it should change. “When I was a child…I understood as a child, (1 Corinthians 13:11). When I was a little girl in the 1960s I saw the world through rose-colored glasses, now I engage culture as a more informed woman, mom, Christian, and educator. I engage differently than others, and that’s okay. Knowing who we are in those moments is integral to how we see and judge the mass of media we encounter every day. If we think about who we were, once upon a time, we can see growth and maturity in how we engage. For me, perspective on cultural engagement came through movies. For you, maybe it has been through a book or a Broadway play. Something grabbed you at some point in your life and you/ we have been honing that culture relationship ever since. If we contemplate our history, upbringing, memories, and baggage, we can see the change and what our worldview is today. In truth, we engage as God made us, as unique beings who are constantly growing and changing within a world that does the same. “Once upon a time” not only looks at what might be our idyllic past but informs us how we’ve grown to engage culture today. My recommendation is to embrace culture based on this examination and you will discover how you uniquely engage culture.
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE ARTS and THE CENTER FOR APOLOGETICS & CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT
ANN WHARTON LECTURE SERIES
Banquet THURSDAY, FEB. 16, 2017 6:30 P.M.
Montview Student Union, Alumni Ballroom Guest speaker:
An internationally known writer, speaker, and Hollywood producer with a Ph.D. in Theology, Cooke is the executive producer of the movie, “Hillsong – Let Hope Rise” and producer of documentary, “The Insanity of God.”
DR. PHIL COOKE
Founder and CEO Cooke Pictures in Burbank, Calif.
Cooke has appeared on most major TV and cable networks and his work has been profiled in publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Andrew T. Light Professor of Business, Liberty University School of Business
Cultural Engagement in Business and Economics: Asking “What if?” and “What ought to be?” Economics is not always the location in which Christians first think to engage culture, but economic realities touch the lives of each person in unique, personal, and profound ways. Thus, as Christians, we must see business and economics as a domain in which we are obligated to engage culture with grace and truth. Specifically, those of us in this field must engage in asking the questions, “What if…?” and “What ought to be…?” Innate in these questions is an understanding that society and culture are not perfect, but both are redeemable. As we accept the redeemable nature of society and culture, we also imply that something is needed in order to move culture from where it is to where it
true, each with its own problematic tangents: 1) some employers will layoff workers to avoid paying higher wages, 2) some employers will transfer the higher wage payment to consumers in terms of higher product price, and 3) some employers will choose to accept lower profit threshold.
can (and ought) to be. Christian engagement, can and should be, one of the vehicles leading toward this maturation from here to there and from “what is” to the “what if.”
it is the various answers to the question of “how” that divides cultural response. The goal of this conversation is not under deliberation, but the processes for traveling from “what is (our reality)” to “what ought to be (our future reality)” that has been the sandbox for infighting and debate. This is a typical “What ought to be” statement that often makes up normative economics. Normative economics analyzes issues subjectively and is based on value. Not every country has the minimum wage. But, in the American culture, we have accepted the existence of minimum wage as a good
One example of how these questions can be harnessed as a means for Christian leaders engaging culture is in the current, societal conversations about minimum wage. The conversation and dilemma is this. If the government were to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.00, then one (or all) of the following three will regularly come
None of these three results, a decreased workforce, increased prices, and unfavorable return on investment are desirous. Although, most (if not all) would agree that it is good to help unskilled workers maintain a basic standard of living in our culture, which is progressively more expensive. This end goal of equitability is not the problem,
and normative practice. Thus, we come to the question regarding how Christians in business and economics should engage issues such as this. The value system of Christians should be based on the unchanging tether of scripture rather than relative cultural norms. With warm hearts, we may argue that employers should pay a reasonable wage to unskilled workers; thus, minimum wage legislation is necessary. This is already reality. It is the degree to which it is necessary that is now in debate. Therefore, cultural engagement must not be purely affective. Along with warm hearts, Christians much engage with cool heads. Based on economic theory, for the minimum wage regulation to be effective, it has to be higher than the current market wage. This will create an excess supply of unskilled workers thereby increasing unemployment. Therefore, after the minimum
wage regulation, those workers who still have jobs receive benefits in terms of higher wage, but those workers who lose jobs, suffer emotionally and financially even more than before the governmental fiat on wage increase. If there were no minimum wage regulation, however, more workers would be working, but with wages lower than the minimum wage and the cost of everyday life. So, should Christians support such a wage increase for the potential positives or do the potential negatives outweigh the momentary positives?
My intent here is not to provide a canned answer to this question thus neatly resolving all tensions, but to suggest that what is needed for those in this field desiring to engage Christianly is not only warm hearts but also cool heads. In general, Christians should support economic arrangements that do not violate the principles of scripture, but more so seek the end, impact, and blessing that the church is to be in this world as salt and light. This is seeking the â€œWhat WE ought to beâ€Śâ€? Regardless of the way that culture around us approaches such questions, we should pursue deep thinking undergirded by a robust theology. The tether of the Word of God should bring leaders in this field to a position of humble recognition as they lead businesses, organizations, and people not for their own end but as divine emissaries who have been granted a modicum of authority in the here and now. This role is as a steward, who is serving in place of, and on behalf
of, his or her master. Thus, we endeavor to guide our positive economical pursuits on this reality to which we are called. For this, we recognize that scripture speaks to the realities of economics, business, interest, borrowing, and free market principles. It is our role, with our hearts warmed and our minds informed to practice within the boundaries of scripture.
Dr. Kenneth J. Dormer Chair and Professor of Physiology, Department of Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Cultural Engagement in Medicine and Healthcare: Mortality vs. Eternity Death! Did that get your attention? Death thoughts, more than nearly any other kind, cause us to take account of ourselves. Death’s harsh reality is suppressed in younger persons who rarely think about mortality; however, with age and maturation we become ever more aware of its impending truth. When engaging our increasingly self-centered culture that is usually not interested in the Christian worldview, we find that discussions on death often present opportunities for intentional engagement with our counter-cultural, Christocentric message of hope. Death as a medical or moral eventuality can be a useful apologetic tool because every one of us eventually faces it – like it or not. Christfollowers are essentially in the “like it” category (c.f., Phil 1:21). Those in the “not like it” category are those whom we should care enough to confront, in order that their fear may be replaced with hope (1 Cor 15).
forestalling death.2 Yet, as much as we collectively spend on resources to put off death, we seldom broach the subject of its impending reality. For physicians and healthcare providers in particular, opportunities for apologetics abound because their very raison d’etre is to delay death and enhance wellness. Instances of incurable cancers, funerals, deaths of loved ones, terrorist attacks, drug and gene therapy discoveries, conversations about implantable devices, etc., all provide opportunities to discuss mortality and eternity. Christ-following physicians and healthcare-providers are uniquely equipped to engage patients and acquaintances on mortality issues, because they understand the pathophysiology of death. Combining such knowledge with unconditional love and care (Rom 12:9-21), we ought effectively to address our culture with the good news that Paul announced: that death “has no sting” (1 Cor 15:55).
The desensitization toward death, common in our culture, has jaded individuals against the reality of mortality and its usefulness for engaging in questions of an eternal perspective. It has been estimated that children watching TV, movies, and video games have viewed 8,000 deaths by the end of grammar school.1 Society and culture (Hollywood) have exacerbated this desensitization by turning fictionalized death into a sphere “properly” labeled as entertainment. In addition to this bombardment, social media have made nonfictionalized death readily accessible to anyone who seeks to view global terrorism and terrorists. As a consequence, the brain (and heart) progressively lose compassion, pathos, and a sense of the finality of death. However, if we are to engage the culture on reality of mortality/eternity, we must lovingly and respectfully personalize the certainty of death.
We may find a more receptive audience than we at first imagine. According to Terror Management Theory (TMT), every human being has a deathawareness, even those identifying as atheists and nones.3 A third of adults under thirty and the fastest growing population segment, the nones have no religious affiliation and do not espouse atheism, but are increasingly aspiring to life after death. Eternity, hardwired in to the hearts of those created in the imago Dei, causes both atheists and nones to conjure up personal versions of “heaven”.4 Concomitantly, atheistic lack of belief in the afterlife is terrifying; the terror associated with awareness of the inevitable death of the self gives “TMT” its name. Moreover, the anxiety caused by awareness of mortality is a major motivator behind many human behaviors and cognitions, including self-esteem, ethno/religio-centrism, and even love.5
Each year, over $60 billion dollars are spent on weight loss (health foods, exercise equipment, and gym memberships), validating our culture’s obsession with life, health, and the possibility of
Since most people desire an eschatological home following death, perhaps provoking people to ponder their mortality in a non-threatening way can use a negative (terror) to point toward a positive
(eternity). Even the greatest skeptics will engage in discussions of death and eternity with Christians, albeit with critical skepticism and civil disagreement. What the world may view as a negative subject, Christian physicians and healthcare providers genuinely interested in their wellbeing should instead view as an opportunity for making known the mysteries of the Gospel (Eph 6:19). 1 Norman Herr, The Sourcebook for Teaching Science, Grades 6-12: Strategies, Activities, and Instructional Resources (San Francisco: JosseyBass, 2008).
2 Geoff Williams, “The Heavy Price of Losing Weight,” U.S. News and World Report, January 2, 2013, accessed October 3, 2016, http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/01/02/the-heavy-price-of-losing-weight. 3 Jeff Greenberg and Jamie Arndt, “Terror Management Theory,” in The Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology, Vol. 1, eds. Paul A. M. Van Lange, Arie W. Kruglanski, and E. Tory Higgins (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2012), 399. 4 Simon Davis, “Death: Thoughts on the Final Subject: Introduction: Atheism is Scary because it Reminds People of Death.” Free Inquiry 36, no. 4 (June 2016): 14-28. 5 “Terror Management Theory,” Psychology Today, accessed October 12, 2016, https://www.psychologytoday.com /basics/terror-management-theory.
Answering the Question of “Who Am I?”: Book Reviews as Suggestions for Further Reading Charles Colton Allen Student Fellow, Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies Student, Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity James K. A. Smith argues that we are not merely thinking beings where we simply input orthodoxy in our minds and output orthopraxy in our living. Instead, we are to be understood as desiring or loving beings. Our loves reflect what we see as most important to us, and the habits that we have formed reflect what we truly love and thus see as most important. As Smith says, “…if you are what you love, and love is a habit, then discipleship is a rehabituation of your loves. This means that discipleship is more a matter of reformation than of acquiring information.” (19, italics original). Smith attempts to show throughout his book how this reformation happens through corporate worship, education, home, and career because these are the liturgies of life that impact our formation. It could be, perhaps, easy to misunderstand Smith’s thesis because of the complex nature of humans. One might see his proposals as self-contradictory as he apparently sets up ‘thinking’ and ‘loving’ as two opposites on a spectrum and then goes on to explain the importance of our loves through trying to change our thinking. This contradiction is superficial. In order to understand Smith’s work, ‘thinking’ and ‘loving’ need to be understood as the x-axis and y-axis of a coordinate grid. Humans flourish when both their mind and heart are working in tandem. Smith is not giving information to simply memorize but handing down wisdom to truly take to heart. When such wisdom sinks into the heart, it enlightens our minds, stirs our affections, and reforms our lives toward Christ. Smith, James K. A. You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2016. Credit for this idea goes to Andy Crouch in his book Strong and Weak. He explains, “The 2X2 helps us grasp the nature of paradox. When used properly, the 2X2 can take two ideas we thought were opposed to one another and show how they complement one another.” Andy Crouch, Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk & True Flourishing (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2016), 12.
Russell J. Allen Student Fellow, Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement Doctoral Student, Liberty University School of Education Since its beginning, the United States of America has fascinated the minds of intellectuals and scholars both domestically and abroad. In a quest to define the uniqueness of American democracy, Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville declared in 1835 that even more than physical circumstances and laws, “habits of the heart” held together the flourishing republic. According to Tocqueville, these habits were daily practices and individual pursuits that were inherently tied to communal religious values and republican traditions. Almost 150 years later, American scholars sought to evaluate their country’s modern context in light of this principle. The product, Habits of the Heart, is a monumental work that synthesizes sociology, history, and philosophy into an analysis of modern American life. Over two-hundred interviews were recorded in a five-year span, involving individuals whom the authors deemed “representative” of various aspects of American life (x). This research, along with informal observation and prior knowledge, led the authors to conclude that Americans have replaced Tocqueville’s idea with a new form of individualism that is tied not to societal traditions and communal benefits, but to personal gain (viii). The authors suggest that this change occurred when America’s once agrarian and small-town society transformed into a bureaucratic industrial society during the early 20th century (302). This structural shift from community to bureaucracy took place within the American mind as well, culminating in what is referred to as the “therapeutic attitude,” which stresses personal autonomy and moral relativism (124, 128). Although religious and republican values still remain for many Americans, they are often mixed to varying degrees with individualistic tendencies such as the need for organization and personal fulfillment. Despite being presented with a scholarly tone, the authors do little to hide their personal biases, recognizing that they themselves cannot be separated from the society they seek to study. While interjecting fair and thoughtful criticism, the authors nonetheless admit that their desire “is the recovery of the insights of the older biblical and republican traditions” first highlighted by Tocqueville (303). Only through the revival of moral absolutes, intrinsically rewarding work, enduring commitments, and common worship, can the American people “rejoin the human race” and recognize the ultimate uselessness of material pursuits and personal gain (295). Although some aspects of the book may be outdated for today’s audience, the ideas and concerns presented in its contents are perhaps more relevant than ever, making it a foundational text for modern cultural engagement. Bellah, Robert N., Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton. Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.
Kevin Richard Student Fellow, Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement Doctoral Student, Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity This text fills a fundamental void that has existed in modern research on the religious faith and spiritual practices of teens (age 13-17). Because of the impact of religious life on teenage behavior, Smith saw the need to “develop a better scholarly and public understanding” in this specific area (4). Through both qualitative and quantitative measurements Smith establishes a fascinating narrative of the modern teenage religious and spiritual landscape, dispelling commonly held perceptions of U.S. teenagers and replacing those generalities with concrete data and testimony that tell a different tale. The central findings of the study are two-fold: first, teens typically adhere to a form of the religious tradition in which they were raised; and two, that a substantial number of those teenagers that adhere to Christianity do so from a tenuous position that he describes as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD). The former finding is noteworthy because it is often suggested that American teenagers have “outgrown” the influence of their parents and are “shaped” primarily by their peers. Society tends to view this as a good thing because it promotes human independence. But Smith notes that based on his observations “such views are badly misguided” and it remains true that parents, even in today’s culture, have a significant influence in the lives of American adolescents (28). The latter finding offers the reader a succinct yet potent articulation of the majority position of Christian adolescents in America (MTD), which, as Smith describes it, is the “misbegotten step-cousin” of historical Christian tradition (171). MTD is not a religion in and of itself; rather, its elements are “assimilated” into traditional religious faiths (166). Adolescents of this sort have an instrumental view of religion and it is part of the “furniture in the background of their lives” (140). The Christian faith, accordingly, is beneficial because it helps you be and have what you want in life: a good moral person, makes you happy, gives you peace, etc. Stemming from these two central findings are two important conclusions. First, Smith notes that even though Christian adolescents are relatively inarticulate about their faith and generally have assimilated this faith as MTD, they exhibit a “positive association between greater teen religious involvement and more positive outcomes in life” (28, c.f., Ch. 7). Second, given that teens typically adhere to the religious traditions in which they are raised, these findings would seem to suggest that MTD in adolescents is a reflection of MTD in the religious and spiritual lives of their parents and other adults. Thus, this explicit research on the condition of teens in America, is an implicit castigation on the faith of the parents and adults in America. Smith, Christian, and Melinda Lundquist Denton. Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005
Andrew Murphree Student Fellow, Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement Master's Student, Liberty University College of Arts & Sciences In Silence and Beauty, critically-acclaimed artist Makoto Fujimura challenges his readers to engage with one of Christendom’s most essential, yet disregarded motifs: paradoxical thinking. As the first non-native to participate in Tokyo National University’s prestigious Japanese painting doctorate program, Fujimura has cultivated a bicultural lens that has equipped him to reflect well on the influence of Shusako Endo’s postwar classic Silence, which tells a tragic tale of persecuted Jesuit missionaries in seventeenth-century Japan. Silence and Beauty is a testimony of Fujimura’s journey, and the book’s eloquent elucidation of Silence has prompted some readers to view Fujimura’s work as a “CliffsNotes Guide” to better understanding Endo’s masterpiece. According to Fujimura, the hostile treatment of missionaries both past and present has not stopped Christianity from becoming a pervasive force in Japan; it merely thrives just beneath the surface. Interspersed with fascinating insights concerning Japanese linguistics, literature, and art, Fujimura masterfully demonstrates how pain and suffering are the watermarks of an authentic relationship with Christ. Silence and Beauty also pushes back against popular notions among Evangelicals regarding the nature of art. For Endo and Fujimura, Jesus the suffering servant is one of Scripture’s most compelling images. In a culture that has become hopelessly numb, Fujimura argues, a fresh understanding of the cruel, dark reality of the fallen world can awaken one’s senses to the majesty of Christ’s suffering and the glory of His atoning sacrifice. Silence and Beauty not only explores the gospel message through the oft-neglected lens of philosophy and aesthetics, it boldly traverses the topic of personal spiritual failure to magnify God’s work of redemption. Fujimura’s contemplative literary style and distinct perspective is sure to leave the reader digesting the truths and ideas expressed in Silence and Beauty long after finishing the book. Fujimura, Makoto. Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2016.
FAITH & CULTURE
LECTURE “ENGAGING A CULTURE OF CONSUMERISM AND MATERIALISM” APRIL 11, 2017 | 7-8:30 P.M. SCIENCE HALL AUDITORIUM, ROOM 128
DR. A. CHADWICK THORNHILL
DR. DOUGLAS MANN
Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement Fellowship Program
Dr. Shawn Akers
Dr. David Baggett
Dr. Kenneth Dormer
Dr. Mark Foreman
Dr. Chris Gnanakan
Dr. Gary Habermas
Dr. Tad Hardin
Dr. Ed Hindson
Dr. Gary Isaacs
Dr. Rena Lindevaldsen
Dr. Linda Mintle
Dr. Norman Mintle
Dr. Karen Swallows Prior
Dr. Gary Sibcy
Jonathan Pruitt Steven Reese Kevin Richard Daniel Rudolf Ben Shaw Guy Sutula Doug Taylor Jake Thornhill Kelvin Washington
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs— heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:15-17
Coming AUGUST of 2017: Vol. 2, no. 1 Faith and the Academy: Engaging Culture with Grace and Truth "Retrieving the Reformation"