Christianity and the Life of the Mind: An Introduction

What does our calling to be disciples of Christ mean for our academic vocation (whether temporary as students or longer term as a career)? What are some of the promises and pitfalls of the scholarly life? How can academics and postgraduate students serve and relate to the wider body of Christ (the Church)?

We believe that considering these questions is a matter of Christian discipleship for graduate students and postdocs of faith. Through lectures and discussion, the ‘Christianity and the Life of the Mind’ conference creates space for an academic and personal introduction to the aim of ‘Developing a Christian Mind at Oxford’.

 

The next Conference will be held Sat 31 Jan and Sun 1 Feb 2015 at the Ship Street Conference Centre, Jesus College, Oxford.

More details will follow. See the programme below for the 2014 conference.

 

Sat 1 February 2014

9:00 a.m. Registration opens at Jesus College’s Ship Street Conference Centre, just off Cornmarket Street.

9:30-10:20 a.m. How Christians relate to the world (Nigel Biggar)

Nigel Biggar video: How Christians Relate to the world? from oxfordchristianmind on Vimeo.

10:20-11:10 a.m. Worldview and Discipleship (Benno van den Toren)

This lecture discusses the notion of ‘worldview’ and its influence on the development of a Christian mind in the contemporary world. It outlines main elements of Christian worldview and the implications for Christian attitudes to life, the world, and science.

Benno van den Toren video: A Christian worldview? from oxfordchristianmind on Vimeo.

11:10-11:40 a.m. Coffee & Tea

11:40-12:20 a.m. Extended discussion session

12:20-1:00 pm. The doctrine of creation and the science of nature (Ard Louis)

This lecture explores how far the Judaeo-Christian understanding of creation has been fundamental in the development of modern science. It also explores the tensions between modern science and the Christian understanding of reality and how to enable constructive dialogue

Ard Louis video: The doctrine of creation and the science of nature from oxfordchristianmind on Vimeo.

1:00 -1:20 pm Discussion session

 1:20-2:20 p.m.  Catered buffet lunch at the Ship Street Centre

2:20-3:10 p.m.  The calling of Christian postgrad students and academics (Ard Louis)

Based on his own academic career and experience with postgraduate ministry in several countries, Dr. Ard Louis will discuss the main themes of the conference in the light of questions such as: What does our calling to be disciples of Christ mean for our academic vocation (whether temporary as students or longer term as a career)? What are some of the promises and pitfalls of the scholarly life? How can academics and postgraduate students serve and relate to the wider body of Christ (the Church)?

Ard Louis video: The calling of Christian postgrad students and academics from oxfordchristianmind on Vimeo.

3:10-3:40 p.m. Discussion session

3:40-4:10 p.m. Coffee & Tea

4:10-5:00 p.m.   What does it mean to be human? (Elaine Storkey

The social sciences in particular have implicit or explicit convictions about what is wrong with the world, and many individual scholars are driven by the desire to improve society and to alleviate suffering. How do these understandings relate to the Christian understanding of sin and evil?

Elaine Storkey Video: What does it mean to be human? from oxfordchristianmind on Vimeo.

5:00-5:30 p.m. Discussion session

 5:30 p.m.  Conference closing

Subject to availability: Dinners hosted in homes with academics across Oxford

Sun 2 Feb 2014

9:00-9:30 a.m. Coffee & croissants

9:30-10:00 a.m. Devotional reflection on faith and the academic life (Donald Hay)

10:00-10:50 a.m. What went wrong with humankind? (Elaine Storkey)

This lecture discusses how the Christian understanding of the human being steers a course between individualism and collectivism, between fatalism and personal freedom, between materialism and ‘idealism’; and how its personal and communitarian understanding of the human being is grounded in the Trinitarian God.

Elaine Storkey Video: What went wrong with humankind? from oxfordchristianmind on Vimeo.

10:50-11:20 a.m. Discussion session 

11:20-11:40 a.m. Coffee & Tea

 11:40-12:30 p.m. Saviour of the World (Benno van den Toren)

Salvation in Christ is not just a spiritual reality – it touches the whole of our being, the whole of humanity, and has cosmic dimensions. Salvation therefore has implications for how we relate to the world in our disciplines and professions. The lecture is an introduction to the different dimensions of redemption through Christ

Benno van den Toren video: What is salvation? from oxfordchristianmind on Vimeo.

12:30-12:50 p.m. Discussion session

12:50 p.m.  onwards Sandwich lunch

Register here for the Conference: ‘Christianity and the Life of the Mind: An Introduction’*

(*Who can participate?)

Some initial bibliographical notes:

  • David K. Naugle, Worldview: The History of a Concept, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
  • Brian W. Walsh & J. Richard Middleton, The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview, Downers Grove: IVP, 1984.
  • Cornelius Plantinga, Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
  • Gene Edward Veith, Loving God with All your Mind: how to Survive and Prosper as a Christian in Higher Education and post-Christian Culture, Leicester: IVP, 1989.
  • Kelly James Clark, Return to Reason: A Critique of Enlightenment Evidentialism and a Defense of Reason and Belief in God, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990.
  • Christopher B. Kai­ser, Creation and the History of Science, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.
  • Thomas F. Torrance, The Ground and Grammar of Theology: Consonance between Theology and Science, New Edition, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 2001 [1980].
  • Alister E. McGrath, The Foundations of Dialogue in Science and Religion, Oxford: Blackwell, 1998.
  • Roy A. Clouser, The Myth of Religious Neutrality: A Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories, Revised Edition, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005.
  • James P. Moreland & William L. Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, Downers Grove: IVP, 2003.
  • Stanley J. Grenz, The Social God and the Relational Self: A Trinitarian Theology of the Imago Dei, series: The Matrix of Theology, Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001.
  • Tom Wright, Surprised by Hope, London: SPCK, 2007.

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“Thank you very much for organising this event. I think it’s extremely relevant for Christian students in Oxford who wish to integrate their Christian life into their academic life, but don’t quite know what that means.”

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