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Professors Who Believe: The Spiritual Journeys of Christian Faculty [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   238
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.74"
Weight:   0.72 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 2, 1998
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830815996  
EAN  9780830815999  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Is academia as hostile to Christianity as some would have us believe? Here are 22 outstanding tales of Christian faculty in various disciplines who have wrestled with faith and intellect: David Lyle Jeffrey, Glenn Tinder, Edwin Yamauchi, Marvin Olasky . . . A wonderful gift for the college-bound

Publishers Description
Often the university is seen as a hothouse of anti-Christian bias. Every other belief system, no matter how exotic, seems to receive more respect and support than historic Christian belief. Yet even in this environment, steadily and certainly, men and women of faith have continued to hold and grow in their confidence in Christ. Here are the stories of twenty-two such Christian faculty, who tell in their own words the difference that Christ has made in their lives and their work. Respected and accomplished in a variety of academic disciplines, these believers have come to a strong understanding of their faith within their professions. They have wrestled with the issues of a complex world and found meaning and purpose through their spiritual journeys. These very personal stories offer thoughtful models of how faith can not only survive but thrive in the university world.

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More About Paul M. Anderson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Paul M. Anderson (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) is professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology in the School of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and has published ninety-eight papers and articles. His research work, funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, has focused on enzyme mechanisms, nitrogen metabolism in fish, and regulation of gene expression in fish.

Paul M. Anderson was born in 1938 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Power Math Associates, Inc..

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Generally a good mix of essays  Aug 8, 2001
As mentioned in another review, there are a wide variety of essays in this book, varying both in length and subject. Some of the essays are personal ones on how the author became a Christian, some are on the integration of Christianity into the classroom (explicitly or implicitly), and some are expositions on Christian theory (the need for a personal relationship with Christ, for instance). The quality also varies widely, or rather, the use of a given essay to a particular reader will vary widely. I found the personal reminiscences to be quite useful/interesting. Unfortunately, those essays that dealt with the "theology" of Christianity were not nearly as good as a group. I think this is because people that are not theologians (or philosophers) are out of their element when writing in philosophical terms. They seem a little amateur, and overlap significantly (not surprising, since many Christians will have similar ideas on what is important).

My second disappointment was with the number of essays involving the relationship between being a Christian and teaching in a (usually) secular university. The title of the book lead me to believe there would be many more essays on this topic, but usually the fact that the author is a professor is irrelevant or of insignificant importance to the essay. I found the essays that dealt with this subject to be the most interesting and useful, being myself a professor at a secular university.

The most pleasant surprise of this book is the wide variety of backgrounds of the authors. There are people from numerous denominations, from Roman Catholics to biblical fundamentalists to African American Baptists. This variety is important and, I think, necessary, because there is far too much internicene squabbling amongst Christian denominations - this book makes clear that different methods of worship work for different people, and variety can serve to strengthen the Christian community, not weaken it. The professional disciplines of the authors also vary widely, from English literature to nursing to astronony.

Generally, this book is interesting and helpful, if suffering from some repitition. This is probably the nature of such an anthology, as I assume the authors were given a wide latitude on subject matter. I would like to have seen more essays on the merger of Christianity with academia.

A good mix of conceptual essays and personal testimonies.  Jul 13, 1999
Let me begin with the many things that I like about the book "Professors Who Believe", which include both the concept and the execution.

1) It's a great idea to give university professors a chance to write about their faith. In many fields, that opportunity does not arise naturally in interactions with students and other faculty. This book follows in the tradition of "Finding God at Harvard," and others cited in the Introduction.

2) The second thing I like about the book is that quality of the chapters is a bit uneven. These are not trained theologians, for the most part, they are just regular folks, albeit smart folks, trained in other fields, and writing about a topic that is important to them. That's the way it reads, and that's the way it should read, in my opinion. I actually would have been suspicious if all the essays were highly polished.

3) Third, I like the fact that not all the authors take the same perspective. There is even sharp disagreement on some issues, such as proselytizing in the classroom. Anyone who picked up this book would get some flavor for the richness and diversity of thought that occurs within the boundaries of orthodox Christianity. I like the fact that the common ground emerges from the essays, rather than being imposed from the outside.

4) Fourth, I like the mix of conceptual essays and personal testimony. It's very difficult for me to know where to come down on that issue, so I end up straddling the fence. I think that we must be prepared to give an account of our personal experience as Christians, but particularly as college professors, I think that we also must be able to tell a story about the theoretical and empirical dimensions of Christianity that at least makes sense to us, and hopefully would make sense to others, as well. I think that both kinds of accounts are needed to explain ourselves and our faith to other people, and this book contains both kinds of accounts.

I tend to think of the impact of the book on students, though of course, students and faculty are both important audiences. My opinion, perhaps a naive opinion, is that only a minority of our students have reached the point in their lives where they have hit some sort of wall, and realized neither they nor their secular sources of information are equipped to deal with the problem at hand. So they have not yet reached the point of having to ask God to save them from something specific (such as themselves, their addiction, their abusive behavior or their greed). For those who have reached that point, they will find testimonies of people who have gone through similar crises in this book.

Those who have not reached that point may have difficulty identifying with personal testimonies. However, many students, particularly as they approach graduation, have a great curiosity about the meaning of their existence -- in some cases, for the last time in their lives. Those students often are looking for a coherent story about life's most important topics which makes sense to them. They will find some of that material in this book, as well. 4) Finally, I admire the editor's ability to get the authors to produce their papers. I'd like to talk to him about how he did that.

Finally, I would add just a word about the message that Christian professors send to others about our life in the University. I realize that it is somewhat fashionable, somewhat exciting, and somewhat truthful to talk about the modern public university as a "hothouse of anti-Christian bias", mentioned on the back cover of this book. I would just offer three thoughts about sending that message from the university to the rest of the world.

1) I think that whatever pressure or persecution Christians may face in American universities needs to be put in perspective. We occasionally can be ostracized in some fashion, or even face discrimination in the worst cases, but no one is slitting our throats just yet. It just isn't credible to believe that a few snide remarks in the modern university are going to do in a religion that has survived all the horrors that Christianity has endured, especially the ones we perpetrated on ourselves.

2) I don't think that complaining about a hostile atmosphere in the university reflects very well on us (given the trials that other Christians are enduring); on the intellectual power (both conceptual and empirical) of Christianity; on the person and power of Christ himself; and on the university, which I still believe stands along with the Church and government as one of society's most important institutions.

I think that our mission as Christians in a university is relatively simple. We need to encourage people to do about five simple things:

1) If people don't have a Bible, encourage them to get one.

2) If they have a Bible, suggest that they actually read it.

3) Make sure that they have access to some basic information about Christian resources.

4) Encourage them to use their intellect and imagination. A.N. Wilson suggested that J.R.R. Tolkein's contribution to C.S. Lewis' spiritual development was convincing Lewis that the failure to grasp Christianity was primarily a failure of the imagination, and Tolkein knew something about imagination.

5) Encourage them to pray, even if only as a last resort, and then to be astute observers of the results. I was impressed by the number of authors in this book whose first exposure to the power of Christ was through praying as a last resort. Christians have a monopoly on the best news ever to hit the planet, and in the university there are tens of thousands of people who would be better off for hearing it. What more could we ask?

Dr. Bryan Dowd Professor Health Services Research and Policy School of Public Health University of Minnesota


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