Embracing Faith-Learning Integration in Christian Higher Education -- By: Dawn Morton

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 36:0 (NA 2004)
Article: Embracing Faith-Learning Integration in Christian Higher Education
Author: Dawn Morton


Embracing Faith-Learning Integration in
Christian Higher Education

Dawn Morton

Dawn Morton (MACE from ATS in 2001) is an Ed.D. candidate at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville.

Introduction

Understanding and developing teaching with intentional integration of faith and learning is a critical issue in Christian Higher Education. Some would suggest it is a challenge for institutions and professors. The original intent of establishing colleges and universities was to train ministers and promote evangelical thinking (Ringenberg 1987, 79). Institutions are challenged because they have left their origins of proclaiming truth and now embrace half-truth or truths that have been twisted to fit all the lifestyles in our culture (Duduit 2002, 1).

Many institutions have stepped away from their historical roots of religion in order to embrace and not offend anyone in our culture, declaring that the role of religion is a personal issue, not a public one (Monsma 1996, 75). Universities have separated themselves from faith and pursuit of “truth.” There are many “truths” that are sought in knowledge but ultimate truth is laid aside (Lewis and Smith 1994, 133). Yet, without this distinct issue of faith applied to learning, Christian institutions become like other institutions within our culture (Dockery 2000, 1). Lacking of the foundation of faith, academics becomes merely an educational process instead of a life changing process meant to impact and embrace the whole person. We need to face the challenge of defining the terminology, declaring the purpose of faith—learning integration, and determine to apply the concept within Christian higher education.

Definition and Description of Terminology

One problem involved in achieving faith-learning integration is a proper definition of the terminology. Faith-learning integration has become merely a cliché or a buzzword in the Christian education circle (Holmes 1999, 161). Definitions must be developed before a professor can accomplish the task. The words “faith,” “learning,” and “integration” need defining, as lack of definition presents lack of goals and means for accomplishment. Without proper understanding of terminology, the possibility of faith-learning integration can be laid aside in the process of education.

Faith can be described as “‘life of faith’ or ‘body of doctrine” (Badley 1994, 28). Understanding the issue of faith is of essence because of the com-

plexity of the subject. “Faith reflects: one’s understanding and sense of the supernatural (believing); one’s level of trust and commitment, relationship to the supernatural God (trusting and worsh...

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