The Christian Academy: Antithesis, Common Grace, And Plato’s View Of The Soul -- By: William D. Dennison

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 54:1 (Mar 2011)
Article: The Christian Academy: Antithesis, Common Grace, And Plato’s View Of The Soul
Author: William D. Dennison


The Christian Academy: Antithesis, Common Grace, And Plato’s View Of The Soul

William D. Dennison*

* William Dennison is professor of interdisciplinary studies at Covenant College, 14049 Scenic Highway, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750.

I. The State Of Affairs

Christian academicians seem to agree about the product they would like to see in a graduate from their particular institution. When reading the purpose and/or vision statement from a Presbyterian (Reformed), Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Mennonite, Nazarene, or non-denominational evangelical college or university, the reader finds a similar taxonomy of rhetoric. Interestingly, the respective historical roots of these institutions seem to make little difference to the programmatic declaration and, thus, the descriptive language offers a common marketable metanarrative. Specifically, an imitative amalgamation of terminology has emerged across the horizon of Christian education to describe the mission praxis of the enterprise. These expressions often include such phrases as the following: “Christ-centered education,” “integrating faith and learning (life),” “equipping leaders and servants in a global environment,” “impacting, influencing, and engaging church, society, and culture,” “bringing justice and compassion to a broken world,” and being “agents of renewal and transformation in community, nation, and world.”1

As these institutions advance the public representation of their college/ university, obviously, the purpose and vision of their institution is intended to be integrated into the product they foresee for the school. In fact, it would seem fair to say that any mention of the ecclesiastical affiliation or academic prowess of the school’s environment serves only as a means to accent the teleological mission of the institution. Herein exists the implicit eschatological message of the institution’s own great commission for its students—be leaders, servants, instruments, and agents of the institution’s message of renewal for the world. This activist and geographical view of eschatology comes across as a generic metanarrative characterizing the core of Christian higher education no matter what institution a prospective student considers. Furthermore, where this core belief exists, in most cases it energizes the classroom. Professors seek to apply the purpose/mission statement to their own ends as they blend the Christian

message into their own agenda for the natural and human sciences. Meanwhile, these institutions hope that students are riveted to the challenging and passionate call (καλ...

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