Academic Network

2018 European Academic Network

The university is one of the most significant institutions in the world for defining values, shaping worldviews, and influencing cultures.  Tragically, Europe’s universities are thoroughly dominated by a naturalistic worldview.  Therefore, one of the most significant needs of the European evangelical church is developing its next generation of intellectual leaders who can articulate a robust and fully-orbed Christian worldview, who have a passionate love for Christ and are unreservedly committed to whatever sacrifice is necessary to serve God in higher education. 

The participants in the Academic Network will learn how to think from a Christian worldview about their discipline, how to attain excellence in their teaching and research skills, how to maintain their spiritual fervor in the academy, how to share Christ, and how to disciple new believers. This Network will also provide fellowship, networking, collaboration, and accountability for evangelical academicians from a wide spectrum of disciplines.

Participants should be teaching or leading in a university, seminary, Bible institute, or other post-secondary educational institution or graduate students who hope to serve Christ in the academy.  Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.


Daryl McCarthy serves as Vice President of Academic Programs and Strategy with Forum of Christian Leaders (FOCL). Besides directing the ELF Academic Network, he also directs the Cambridge Scholars Network. Daryl has traveled to more than 55 nations speaking at universities, conferences, and churches. In 1988 he helped start Global Scholars and served as President until 2014. Daryl has earned a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary, as well as graduate degrees from Nazarene Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Daryl and his wife Dr. Teri McCarthy lived in Lithuania from 2010-2015, where they taught at Lithuania University of Educational Sciences in Vilnius. They have a son and a daughter who are both married and they have five grandchildren.



Dirk Jongkind is a Dutch biblical scholar who finished his PhD at Cambridge University. His main scholarly interest is in the Greek text of the Bible and the Graeco-Roman backdrop of Acts and the letters. Currently, he is the Research Fellow in New Testament Text and Language at Tyndale House, Deputy Senior Tutor at St Edmund's College, Cambridge, and affiliated lecturer at Cambridge University. He has done much work on Greek manuscripts and other remains from the ancient world.


Juha Ahvio is a Finnish theologian who works as a Director of Research at the Patmos Foundation for World Missions in Helsinki. He received his D.Theol. degree in Systematic Theology from the University of Helsinki. Ahvio is also an Adjunct Professor (dosentti in Finnish, privatdozent in German) of Dogmatics at the University of Helsinki. His scholarly interests have focused on confessional Reformed theology and apologetics from the systematic, epistemological, and historical points of view. Ahvio has also written several popular books on various contemporary theological, political, and social topics in order to defend both theologically and politically consistently conservative positions.


Amy Orr-Ewing is EMEA Director for RZIM and Director  of Programmes for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA). She gained a first class degree in theology at Christ Church, Oxford University, before receiving a master’s degree in theology from King’s College London. She recently completed working on her doctoral thesis at Oxford University looking at the work of Dorothy L Sayers.  Amy speaks and lectures on apologetics worldwide and has written two books exploring key questions in apologetics: Why Trust the Bible? and But Is It Real?. Her most recent publication is Millennials, which she co-authored with her husband Frog. They have also published Holy Warriors: A Fresh Look at the Face of Extreme Islam and Deep.  Amy and her husband lead a church in Buckinghamshire called Latimer Minster, which they planted in 2010.  


Lars Dahle is a theologian, educator, preacher, and apologist. Having a long previous experience in various academic leadership roles, he now works as Associate Professor in Systematic Theology and Christian Apologetics at Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication (NLA Kristiansand), where he has lectured in worldviews, ethics, and apologetics since 1991. Lars wrote his PhD on Acts 17:16-34. It is entitled An Apologetic Model Then and Now? (Open University, UK). Since 2013, he is also the Lausanne Catalyst for Media Engagement. Lars has written several academic and popular articles on apologetics, media engagement and missiology and was a co-editor of The Lausanne Movement: A Range of Perspectives (Oxford: Regnum, 2014). He is also the Founding Editor of the peer-reviewed Nordic apologetic journal Theofilos. In addition, Lars co-leads the European Leadership Forum Media Communicators Network with his wife, Margunn. Follow Lars on his blog Media Messages Matter or on his Twitter account @LarsDahle.


Paul Copan (Ph.D. Philosophy, Marquette University) is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida. For six years, he served as president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.  He is author and editor of over thirty books, including works such as The Rationality of TheismThe Routledge Companion to Philosophy of ReligionCreation out of Nothing, Philosophy of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Issues, The Zondervan Dictionary of Christianity and ScienceA Little Book for New Philosophers, and The Cosmological Argument (a two-volume anthology). He has also contributed essays to over thirty books, both scholarly and popular, and has authored a number of articles in professional journals. In 2017, he was a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University. Paul and his wife, Jacqueline, have six children, and they reside in West Palm Beach, Florida. His website is


Richard Weikart is professor of modern European history at California State University, Stanislaus, and Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.  He has published six books, including most recently The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life and Hitler’s Religion.   He has also published extensively on the history of evolutionary ethics, eugenics, social Darwinism, euthanasia, and scientific racism.  He has been featured in several documentaries, including Ben Stein’s Expelled, as well as on many radio programs.  He recently produced a documentary to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation called Exploring the Reformation and Revivals in Germany.



Day 1

Curing Worldview Myopia: How Christian Academics Can Develop a Clear Christ-Centered Worldview
Daryl McCarthy

Developing a comprehensive worldview that is Christ-centered and biblically-grounded is one of the most important tasks Christian academics face today.  There are three common maladies affecting our Christian worldview—three types of myopia, or short-sightedness in our worldview.  Thankfully, there are treatments for each type of worldview myopia, and these treatments can give us a clearer perspective on the world and help us think and live with a truly Christian worldview.


How to Think Biblically About Computer Science - and Every Other Academic Discipline as Well
Dirk Jongkind

Scripture provides us with the most immediate access to the mind of God available to us. As such, the personal reading and meditation of the Word of the one who is the Creator and Sustainer of everything falls into a different category than the words and ideas found in other abstracting disciplines such as theology, biblical exegesis, and philosophy. In this session we will think about how there is a mode of exposure to God's Word which does not come to us through theological or philosophical methods, but nevertheless has a deep formative influence on the categories with which we approach our discipline - listening to God's Word feeds us on every level.

Day 2

Real World Theology: How to Think Theologically About Any Field of Study
Juha Ahvio

This lecture will answer the question of why Christian scholars need to think theologically by considering the following: Biblical Christianity is based on the Truth, that is, God’s self-revelation of Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ and through the inerrant Scriptures. This theological concept of ‘the Truth’ involves also the attributes of unity and consistency. All thinkers have, and all kinds of thinking necessarily involve, some ultimate presuppositions which affect all our thoughts, interpretations, and actions. As Christian scholars of any discipline, we are obliged to ’bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ’ and to reject epistemic idolatry. That is why we have to understand clearly our specifically Christian theological presuppositions and their consistent implications for various fields of thought.

How to Be a Scholar and an Evangelist at the Same Time
Amy Orr-Ewing

Can scholarship and evangelism coexist? Are they really complementary or does one drain the other?  In this session, we will examine the dynamic relationship between our research and our outreach.

Day 3  

How to Communicate a Christian Worldview with Authenticity, Relevance, and Effectiveness: Paul in Athens as a Model
Lars Dahle

This presentation will introduce Acts 17:16-34 as a paradigm passage for Christian academics when faced with the secular and pluralistic academy. This includes exploring the contemporary relevance of the following: (a) the agora (marketplace) as the ancient Athenian arena for Paul's communication, (b) the apostle's engagement with Athenian objections, questions, and worldview alternatives, (c) the creative argumentative approach in Paul's Areopagus Speech, and (d) the explicit and implicit aims of Paul's communication in Athens. An appropriate understanding of this key biblical passage provides the Christian academic with foundational resources for his / her communication of essential Christian truth claims.


Clear Thinking in a Fuzzy World: How Every Christian Scholar Can Learn to Think Philosophically
Paul Copan

Philosophy involves hard thinking about important matters and, given its all-encompassing embrace, thus is unavoidable for any person. Virtually any academic discipline will have a “philosophy of” that particular field. And even theologians recognize that major Christian doctrines—though flowing from Scripture—are shaped by philosophical terms and categories like “essence,” “nature,” “relation,” “person,” and the like. Whatever our discipline may be, philosophical assumptions about reality (metaphysics), knowledge (epistemology), and right and wrong (ethics) will be inescapable. So Christian academics would be wise to understand and accept this, which in turn will enable them to think more Christianly and engage with others more effectively about their own and other disciplines.

Day 4

Intellectuals Divorcing God from the Real World: Confronting the Fact-Value or Science-Faith Divides
Richard Weikart

Many modern intellectuals try to separate God from nature by claiming that science and faith—or facts and values—belong to different realms.  After offering some contemporary examples of this, Dr. Weikart will briefly examine the intellectual history of secularisation with special attention to the way that it has contributed to developing the fact-value and science-faith dichotomies.  He will examine how these ideas are influencing the academy today and then close with thoughts about how Christians can engage this issue.


So What?  Where Do We Go from Here?
Discussion facilitated by Daryl McCarthy

In this final session, we will work in small groups to clarify specific actions we will take individually and with others in applying the principles and lessons we have heard this week. How can we think more biblically and theologically about our discipline? How can we help our students sharpen their critical thinking skills? What do we need to change in our lives to live, think and teach more thoroughly with a truly Christ-centered worldview? How can we communicate our biblical worldview more effectively? What can we do to effectively share the Good News with others? What projects might be possible as we link with others in the Academic Network?  Would it be good to plan an Academic Network in my country or region?


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