Academy Regained
Conference and book project expand Christian witness in academia
3 min. read
July 28, 2014

Redeemer was host to the recent Academy Regained conference, which featured presentations and workshops from faculty from Redeemer and universities across North America. The conference goal was to show that the Reformational worldview is not a collection of slogans and clichés—as it may sometimes appear to be— but a foundation for research, teaching and the day-to-day work of doctors, social workers, engineers, musicians, marketers and more. Presentations included a biblical approach to math, marketing, psychology, social work, politics, engineering, science, music, history, English literature and medical ethics. “This event got to the core of why Redeemer was founded, which is an emphasis and a home for a Christian, Reformational approach to scholarship,” Dr. David Koyzis, Redeemer Professor and Chair of Political Science. The conference was organized and chaired by Koyzis and Dr.Russell Kosits, Redeemer Associate Professor of Psychology. Academy Regained ran in partnership with the annual conference of the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation (CSCA), the American Scientific Association (ASA) and Christians in Science (CIS).The conference took place July 28 at McMaster University and Redeemer. The conference explored the relevance, usefulness and power of a Kuyperian approach for the academic disciplines. A Kuyperian approach, which gets its name from Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper, emphasizes the relevance of a Biblical narrative of creation, fall and redemption, for academic disciplines. The conference organizers and attendees are working to move this Christian approach to scholarship beyond Christian university classrooms and research centres and speak to the academic mainstream. The conference started from, and hopes to contribute to, a planned book project. A multidisciplinary group of Redeemer professors were inspired by conversation from their monthly discussion group, rallied by Kosits, to write a book. “It has been said that naturalism is the ‘orthodoxy of the academy.’ While it is crucial that Christians participate in popular discourse, it’s also essential that we address the academy—and its orthodoxy—head-on,” Kosits emphasized. These weekly conversations became the basis of the book, currently in development, tentatively titled Academy Regained. The title of the book and event is an allusion to the Albert Wolters’ foundational book, Creation Regained. Creation Regained lays out a Reformed analysis of human life as parts of creation, fall and redemption. Wolters argues that while the fall distorts and corrupts every part of the world, Christians are called to participate in its redemption with implications just as broad. Arguments such as these are the basis of Academy Regained and Redeemer scholarship. “Christian scholarship is challenging—everything in our academic training and in our culture presses us to compartmentalize, to keep faith and reason separate. So, it’s one thing to read and appreciate an important book like Al’s. Actually building something on that foundation is much more challenging! Academy Regained is just such a ‘building project,’” Kosits said. President Krygsman praised the event, reiterating its importance: “Giving witness to the lordship of Christ in ‘every square inch’ of life: this, I believe, is the heart of our calling as Christian scholars, and the desperate need of our times as we seek the shalom and flourishing of all creation.”

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