Whatever stage of research we're at, we can benefit from a masterly overview of how everything fits together. And here at Faith-in-Scholarship we're sometimes asked what introductions to Christian thinking we can recommend for academics.
First, there are some general principles that can guide and inspire us, and that's where a reading list ought to start. So here are some introductory books on Christian thinking recommended by current and former FiSch bloggers:
Sire JW (2010) The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog. InterVarsity Press (5th edn)
Wolters AM (2005) Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview. Eerdmans (2nd edn).
Middleton R & Walsh BJ (1984) The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview. InterVarsity Press
Smith JKA (2006) Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church. Baker Academic.
Kok JH (1998) Patterns of the Western Mind: A Reformed Christian Perspective. Dordt College Press
Next, here are some books that go deeper into ideas of Christian philosophy:
Bartholomew C & Goheen M (2013) Christian Philosophy: A Systematic and Narrative Introduction. Baker Academic - reviewed by Richard
Crisp TM, Porter SL & Ten Elshoff GA (2014) Christian Scholarship in the Twenty-First Century: Prospects and Perils. Eerdmans
Clouser RA (2005) The Myth of Religious Neutrality: An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Beliefs in Theories. University of Notre Dame Press (2nd edn) - reviewed by Anthony
- Ouweneel W (2014) Wisdom for Thinkers: An Introduction to Christian Philosophy. Paideia Press - reviewed by Eline
Plantinga C (2002) Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning and Living. Eerdmans - reviewed by Thom
You may be spotting a disproportionate number of Dutch names! This reveals our connections with a tradition of Christian philosophy that began in the Netherlands with Herman Dooyeweerd and Dirk Vollenhoven, building on insights from the Dutch statesman Abraham Kuyper. This Reformational movement, as it's called, is of course just one place to find Christian scholars, but it does probably host some of those with the strongest conviction that scholarship cannot be religiously neutral, and that every discipline investigates a real facet of God's eternal creative word. That is, we believe that an academic's work bears traces of his or her deepest convictions about the origin, nature and meaning of the world, yet is somehow constrained by the real given order of creation. For more on this, see "What is this reformational philosophy framework?" on the About page, browse the ongoing "Christian philosophy in diagrams" series, or head off to www.allofliferedeemed.co.uk.
Now, occasionally I find a book that casts fresh light across a whole area of research I'm pursuing. On one occasion, it was a book offering a Christian framework for statistics* - which gave me ideas I'm still working with. Whatever your discipline, for an example of a more specific introduction to Christian scholarship, you might try one of the following (approximately arranged in order of Dooyeweerd's aspects):
- James Nikel (2000) Mathematics: Is God Silent? Ross House Books
- *Andrew M. Hartley (2008) Christian and Humanist Foundations for Statistical Inference. Wipf and Stock - glossed by Richard
- Tom McLeish (2014, 2015) Faith and Wisdom in Science. Oxford University Press
- M Dirk Stafleu (1987) Theories at Work: On the Structure and Functioning of Theories in Science, in Particular During the Copernican Revolution. University Press of America
- Willem Ouweneel (2014) Searching the Soul: An Introduction to Christian Psychology. Paideia
- D.C. Schuurman (2013) Shaping a Digital World: Faith, Culture and Computer Technology. InterVarsity - reviewed by Anthony
- Andrew Basden (2008) Philosophical Frameworks for Understanding Information Systems. IGI Publishing
- Jay Green (2015) Christian Historiography: Five Rival Versions. Baylor University
- Eric O. Jacobsen (2012) The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment. Baker
- Albert Weideman (2011) A Framework for the Study of Linguistics. Paideia
- Henk Aay & Sander Griffioen, eds (1998) Geography and Worldview: A Christian Reconnaissance. University Press of America
- Craig Bartholomew (2011) Where Mortals Dwell: A Christian View of Place for Today. Baker
- Jeff Van Duzer (2010) Why Business Matters to God (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed). IVP Academic - reviewed by Xia Zhu
- Elaine Storkey (2000) Created or Constructed? The Great Gender Debate Paternoster
- Doug Blomberg (2007) Wisdom and Curriculum: Christian Schooling After Postmodernity. Dordt College
- Hilary Brand & Adrienne Dengerink (2001) Art and Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts. Piquant
- Jeremy Begbie (1991) Voicing Creation's Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts. A&C Black [on music]
- David Koyzis (2003) Political Visions and Illusions. InterVarsity
- James Skillen (2013) The Good of Politics: A Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Introduction. Baker
- Michael P. Schutt (2007) Redeeming Law: Christian Calling and the Legal Profession. InterVarsity
There's nothing here about classic areas of Christian involvement such as ethics or theology, because of the sheer volume of books available (perhaps we should have left out education and art too!). But we hope the above suggestions are helpful to our friends whose colleagues assume that Christian faith could only be a hindrance in their work. Far from it!
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Col. 3:17; cf v23)