Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 11:4 (Winter 2007)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Renewing Minds: Serving Church and Society through Christian Higher Education. By David S. Dockery. B&H Academic, 2007, 288 pp., $19.99 paper.

Martin Luther once warned Christians with these words: “I greatly fear that schools for higher learning are wide gates to hell if they do not diligently teach the Holy Scripture and impress them on the young folk.” The great Reformer knew of the importance of Christian education and the development of Christian thinkers, but his great fear of schools as potential “wide gates to hell” is all too justified.

In his new book, Renewing Minds: Serving Church and Society through Christian Higher Education, David Dockery proposes that the Christian college or university should not be merely an academic institution with Christian teachers and Christian students, but instead it should be “the academic division of the kingdom enterprise.”

Dockery serves as president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, and that school serves, in substance, as evidence of his vision for Christian higher education. Dockery’s central model is the Christian university, combining several disciplines of learning and professional study within its institutional reach. He proposes his own vision for making all of these areas of study accountable to Christian truth.

He also calls for the recovery of the Christian mind and the development of Christian thinkers:

Our task will be intellectually challenging. The work is not easy, but it is faithful to the calling upon Christ-followers. There is no room for anti-intellectualism in Christian higher education. We are to have the mind of Christ, a concept that certainly requires us to think and wrestle with the challenging ideas of history and the issues of our day. To do otherwise would result in another generation of God’s people becoming ill-equipped for faithful thinking and service in this still-new century. A Christian worldview is needed to help interpret an ever-changing culture. Instead of allowing our thoughts to be captivated by culture, we must take every thought captive to Jesus Christ.

To their shame, many Christian institutions of learning fall short of a model of responsible Christian scholarship. Dockery calls for a reversal of this trend and a reassertion of the scholarly vocation and responsibility.

In his words:

Serious scholarship is often described as “a search for knowledge or a quest for truth,” phrases so familiar as to be clichés in higher education. Our task must not be described carelessly or flippantly. When we speak of scholarship from a Christian perspective, we speak of more than scholarship done by Christians. Rather, we s...

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