Redeemer’s Centre for Christian Scholarship is getting a new name. And no one is more thrilled than the scholar it will honour.
“I was floored and humbled,” says Dr. Albert M. Wolters, whose name is being honoured in the renaming of the centre. “As it sank in, I was also deeply honoured and delighted. As I’ve reflected on this honour since then I’ve come to see it as a representative tribute to the founding generation of Redeemer University and its vision of Christian higher education.”
Wolters represents not only an important early faculty member of Redeemer, but also a key figure in Reformed Christian scholarship around the globe. Much of his renown resulted after the publishing of his book Creation Regained, which clearly and succinctly explains the Reformed Christian worldview. Based on a series of lectures Wolters gave in the early 1980s at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Creation Regained has been in print for 37 years, has been translated into 12 languages and is available at Redeemer’s bookstore, 21Five.
“Its success has taken me completely by surprise,” says Wolters. “In retrospect, I think what made it attractive to many people was the simplicity and clarity of its language, and its explicit grounding in Scripture throughout. I wanted to show that the worldview of neo-Calvinism, which is the subsoil of the Reformational philosophy of Dooyeweerd and others, has direct roots in the Bible. At the same time there has been a growing interest among Christians worldwide in the neo-Calvinist vision of faithful cultural engagement, and Creation Regained has functioned as an accessible introduction to that tradition. It has been a source of deep gratification for me to learn that many people have said: ‘This book has changed my life.’”
I’ve come to see it as a representative tribute to the founding generation of Redeemer University and its vision of Christian higher education.
Redeemer’s deep connection with the Reformed Christian tradition is also what attracted the Wolters Centre’s newest director to the position. Dr. Jessica Joustra, assistant professor of religion and theology, took on the directorship in January and is excited to continue the great work of Reformed Christian scholarship through the centre.
“The direction of the centre has been prioritized in a renewed way – doing distinctively Christian scholarship out of our distinctive Reformed tradition – and that was what really drew me to it,” says Joustra. “Through the work of the centre, I’m eager to be able to help think about how Redeemer can encourage, support, collaborate with and equip faculty members, and the university community more broadly, to dive deep into our Reformed worldview by inviting speakers, highlighting resources, and supporting and stewarding ongoing work mining the depths and applying the insights of the Reformed tradition.”
Under Joustra’s leadership, the centre will continue many of its current successful initiatives like the Emerging Public Intellectual Award, while debuting some new programs and projects. The centre will host three faculty fellowships beginning in May and representing each academic area of the university: Dr. Jonathan Juilfs in arts and humanities, Dr. Russ Kosits in social sciences, education and business and Dr. Kevin VanderMeulen in natural sciences and mathematics. The faculty fellows will lead events, readings and discussions hosted by the centre that are closely related to those areas of discipline.
“Through our new fellows initiative, we’re going to have disciplinarily specific experts give direct input and guidance into the voices we as a community should be hearing from, to help us address the pressing issues of our day,” says Joustra.
I’m really excited about building those relationships between our university and our faculty, and other institutions and scholars that are all doing this project, whether we know it or not, together.
“I’m really excited about building those relationships between our university and our faculty, and other institutions and scholars that are all doing this project, whether we know it or not, together,” she says. “This will help build bridges to further equip us all to do excellent scholarship that is deeply rooted in the Reformed Christian tradition and that is focused and oriented towards the public good.”
The centre will also be intentionally cultivating partnerships with other institutions that are part of the same Reformed or neo-Calvinist tradition to produce scholarship and come together for conferences to build the tradition across the globe.
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