Academic Network

2019 European Academic Network

Faithfully Serving Christ in Higher Education

Europe is in a spiritual Dark Age.  It is, without question, the most secular and spiritually darkest continent in the world.  Consequently, Christian academics need to have a passionate love for Christ, to do their work with excellence, to intercede for their university colleagues and students, and to be eager to share the Good News of God’s grace with them.

Because of the far-reaching influence of higher education in shaping leaders for the next generation, every Christian academic in Europe possesses an outsized potential for spiritual, educational, and cultural impact. The few evangelicals who serve Christ in universities and seminaries across Europe need to be united, equipped, and resourced so they can fulfill their strategic role in strengthening the biblical Church and evangelizing Europe.  Their impact will be multiplied as they teach and shape the leaders of the culture, who, in turn, will impact others.

At the 2019 Academic Network, you will be blessed and equipped by the outstanding presenters.  Each one is a recognized scholar who, in their own academic work, is living and practicing what they are teaching us.  In our sessions we will deal with important issues such as how to teach with excellence, how to present and defend the faith, how to disciple believers, and how to minister through our writing and publishing. You will have opportunities to ask questions, to discuss issues with your colleagues, to reflect on how these principles should change the way you think and live and teach, and to be encouraged by fellowship with academic colleagues.

Our objective is that, by the end of these days at ELF, each participant will have a clearer understanding of how to effectively serve Christ in the academy and a deeper commitment to honoring God through our academic work.

Participants should be teaching or working in a university, seminary, Bible institute, or other post-secondary educational institution.  Graduate students who hope to serve Christ in the academy are also welcome in this network.  Prior readings will be required for all applicants.

 

NETWORK LEADER

Daryl McCarthy serves as Vice President of Academic Programs and Strategy with the Forum of Christian Leaders (FOCL). Besides leading 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 launch Global Scholars and served as CEO/President until 2014. Earlier, he taught for several years at Kansas Christian College.  Daryl 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 to 2015, where they taught at Lithuania University of Educational Sciences in Vilnius. They have a son and daughter who are both married and they have five grandchildren.

 

NETWORK SPEAKERS

Ralf Bergmann received his degree in physics and a doctorate from German universities. He is or has been involved in topics such as solid-state physics, semiconductors, photovoltaics and optical technologies at several research institutions in Germany and Australia and has also worked in industrial research. Currently he is a professor at a German university and head of a research institute working on optical technologies and optoelectronics. Beyond his research, he is interested in defending the reasonability of Christian faith, especially all around the triangle of physics, philosophy, and theology and the relevance of Christian faith for modern western society.

 

Teri McCarthy earned her PhD in education and second language acquisition from the University of Kansas.  She also has a Master’s Degree in education and a Bachelor’s Degree in mass communication and journalism.  Teri co-authored Teaching in a Distant Classroom (InterVarsity Press), a handbook for Christian professors, which is now in its third printing and has been published in Korean as well. She has traveled, taught, and conducted research in more than 50 countries.  Teri has taught in public universities internationally for over 30 years, including in China, Russia, and Afghanistan.  From 2010 until recently she taught in Lithuania, including six years as associate professor at Lithuania University of Educational Sciences in Vilnius.

 

Charles White is Professor of Christian Thought and History at Spring Arbor University in Michigan, USA.  Harvard, Cambridge, and Boston universities have contributed to his education.  In the 1970s he was minister to students at Boston’s Park Street Church.  He has written two books and a score of academic articles.  Bible translation is one of his passions, and he has worked on twenty-five of the twenty-seven New Testament books in seven different languages.  He has taught environmentalists in Michigan, physicians in Mexico, pastors in Canada, university students in England, Bible college students in Australia, Muslims in Nigeria, evangelists in India, missionaries in the Philippines and Rwanda, church planters in Iraq, ministers in Jordan, and disciplers in Ethiopia.  He is the father of four grown children and has run more than 86,000 kilometers since he turned 40.

 

Pieter Kwant is the director of Langham Literature and a literary agent, The Piquant Agency. He has over 40 years’ experience in the Christian book trade covering distribution, international sales and publishing. Since 2000 he has worked with Langham Partnership as their Literature Programme Director. As he met with Majority World scholars and pastors he was challenged by the failures of the ‘from the west to the rest’ model of book origination and distribution. Since then he has overseen and managed six major regional one-volume Bible commentaries written by theologians from each region in the world. He started imprints including HippoBooks (Africa), the Langham Global Library, Langham Preaching Resources and Langham Monographs to give voice to writers from the Majority World.

 

Kay Carter is Director of Communications at Tyndale House, an academic institute for biblical understanding, where she supports researchers to speak about their work in a way that cuts through the academic/popular divide and captures the public imagination. Kay has a background in journalism, including as a staff member of The Sunday Times in London and as founding editor of The Difference magazine, which examined political issues through the lens of Christian ethics. She has a long-term interest in religious freedom and has worked as a lobbyist for organisations that represent persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Before joining Tyndale House, she ran the secretariat for the British All Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion or Belief.

 

Fred W. Beuttler is an administrator at the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Chicago. He received his PhD in history from the University of Chicago in 1995 and an MA in the History of Christianity from Trinity International University.  Prior to coming to Graham in June 2015, he was director of general education and taught history at Carroll University in Wisconsin. From 2005 to 2010, he was the deputy historian of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., and from 1998 to 2005 he was the associate university historian of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

 

NETWORK PROGRAM

Day 1

Does the Church Need Scholars?
Daryl McCarthy

Most of my colleagues in the European Academic Network testify to encountering various forms of anti-intellectualism in their churches and families. This talk will make a case for why scholarship is so crucial for the Church. It will also explore why there is anti-intellectualism in Christian circles and how we can respond lovingly and patiently to fellow believers who are anti-intellectual or skeptical about higher education.

 

Obstacles and Strategic Opportunities for Apologetics in Academia
Ralf Bergmann

Joint session with the Scientists Network

In a post-Christian Europe, we face a twofold challenge of intellectual and emotional deception. The first creates a false alternative between a “scientific” worldview and the Christian faith, and the second creates a false alternative between a “progressive” mindset opposed to an apparently suppressive, fearful, and outdated Christianity. Even many Christians are emotionally and mentally immobilized by adopting secular worldviews while they try at the same time to argue the case for Christianity within the mental paths determined by these views. The challenge is therefore to understand and overcome a misleading mindset as well as the corresponding emotional obstacles. In order to strengthen Christian students and academics, we need Christians on all levels of academic life who model the freedom of Christian thinking, encourage others on a personal level, identify and tackle structural, institutional, or political barriers, share best practice experiences, and finally initiate ideas that work in a given environment. This talk will give some examples and seek to encourage a stimulating discussion.


Day 2

Excellent Teachers: Effective Communication in the Classroom
Teri McCarthy

As Christian academics, we are called to teach with excellence in the classroom.  Excellence in education involves both the character and the practices of the teacher.  What are the attributes of an excellent teacher?  What teaching practices enhance the learning process?  How can Christian academics build relationships with their students?  This session will present essential characteristics of a good teacher as well as teaching practices which help learning to occur in the university or seminary classroom.

 

Discipling Students and Colleagues in an Academic Context
Charles White

As Christian academicians, we seek opportunities to tell other teachers and students about Christ and to disciple new believers. What are ways we can build trusting relationships with our faculty colleagues and students? How do we tell others about Jesus? How do we explain the Gospel? What do we say? How do we then disciple new believers in the academy to help them become grounded in Scripture and grow in their faith? This session will provide practical guidance on telling the story of how we met Jesus and how He changed our lives. We will look at biblical principles for discipling and describe the steps of discipling a new believer. We will discuss best practices as well as things to avoid in the discipleship process.


Day 3  

Thinking Like a Publisher: How to Get Your Book in Print
Pieter Kwant

There is no point in writing a book that no one reads. That is why you as an author need to learn to think like a publisher, whose whole career is built around getting people to buy and read the books they publish. This session will talk about the changing face of publishing, both academic and general, self-publishing and traditional publishing, in both Western and Majority World contexts, how to approach the ‘right' publisher with a book proposal, what to watch out for in a publishing contract, the benefits of editing and peer review, and the importance of marketing both yourself and your manuscript to the intended readers.

 

Effective Media Communication for Academics
Kay Carter

Joint session with the Scientists Network

Engaging with media can be challenging for any academic, but Christian scholars seeking to be salt and light to media audiences face an additional layer of complexity. This is a practical session focusing on interview dos and don’ts, handling of hostile questioning, and how to introduce faith issues in an engaging way through the framework of our academic discipline. We will also look at the questions “What makes effective messaging?” and “What makes a successful interview from the journalist’s perspective?”

 


Day 4

The Bible and Technology: Navigating Change in the Digital Age

Fred Beuttler

“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us,” wrote media analyst and Christian Marshall McLuhan at the dawn of the digital age. Twenty-five hundred years earlier, Socrates reflected on the shift from an oral to a written culture, noting how the technology of writing led to a loss of individual memory. The technology of printing similarly transformed human thought, providing a necessary pre-condition for the Reformation, encouraging rational and logical argument, and favoring propositional truth over narratives and stories. We are now living through a similar age of technologically-driven change, as digital tools transform our lives. What will be the impact of digital technology on biblical Christianity? Are our thoughts the same when we read a manuscript roll, a printed book, or a digital screen? What about when we listen to an audio “book”? This talk will compare several transformative periods of technological revolution, seeking to discern patterns of change and assess strategies of response. How should we shape our message in this new digital age?

 

So What? Where Do We Go from Here?
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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