Academic Network

Detailed information about the 2019 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2018 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in the 2019 Forum's Networks.


2018 European Academic Network

Our theme for the 2018 European Academic Network is Thinking, Living, and Teaching with a Christian Worldview.  The participants in the Network represent a wide range of academic disciplines.  But, as followers of Jesus, there are certain skills, certain ways of thinking, that all of us, regardless of our field of study, need to practice.  So our focus will be on “What Every Christian Scholar Needs to Do,” regardless of their field of study.

  • “Thinking, Living and Teaching with a Christ-centered Worldview”
  • “Thinking, Living and Teaching Theologically”
  • “Thinking and Teaching Philosophically”
  • “Thinking, Living and Teaching Biblically”
  • “Teaching a Christian Worldview Effectively”
  • “Thinking, Living and Teaching Evangelistically”

You will be blessed by the outstanding presenters.  Each one is a recognized scholar who, in their own academic work, is living and modeling what they are teaching us. You will have opportunities to ask questions, to discuss issues with your colleagues and to reflect on how these principles should change the way you think and live and teach

Because of the far-reaching influence of the classroom and higher education in shaping leaders and the next generation, every Christian scholar possesses an outsized potential for multi-generational impact.  Our calling is to bring glory to Christ in the university or the seminary where we serve.

Our objective is that by the end of ELF, each participant will have a clearer understanding of how to think, live, teach with a biblical, Christ-centered worldview and to effectively share the Good News and defend the faith. 

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 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.



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 the Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and the Europe, Middle East and Africa Director of RZIM. She leads a team of inspirational apologist-evangelists and speaks around the world on how the Christian faith answers the deepest questions of life. Over the last twenty years Amy has spoken on university campuses, including Oxford, Cambridge, Vienna, Hong Kong, Phoenix, Massachusetts, in the Speakers Rooms and Chapel at the UK Parliament, on Capitol Hill and to West Wing staff at the White House. Amy speaks in banks, businesses, and consultancy firms, as well as churches and conferences. She gained a first-class degree in Theology and a DPhil (doctorate) from the University of Oxford and is an Associate Tutor at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. Amy is the co-founder of REBOOT, a youth Apologetics initiative aimed at helping young people think deeply about faith, which now runs in countries all over the world. Amy is married to Frog and helps lead Latimer Minster, a church plant and community on a farm in Buckinghamshire, and they have three children.


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.


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.

Day 2

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.


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 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.


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 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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