As September rolls around again and we look ahead to another academic year, we invite you to participate in a new and growing network of Christian faculty and graduate students across the University of Toronto. If you're not already plugged into the network, here are the top five reasons to consider participation.
1. To enhance the integration of your faith and your academic work. The Network of Christian Scholars (hereafter referred to as NCS) meets on a bimonthly basis to engage with one another on issues of interest and controversy at the intersection between Christian faith and various academic disciplines. In the past year, we've hosted presentations and discussions on social justice in the practice of medicine, scientific and Biblical considerations in understanding the origins of the universe, and the impact of sociological investigation on the Christian worldview. These presentations provoked fabulous and highly stimulating conversation. NCS aims to bring people together who are thinking about the same issues from different angles. We want your angle too.
2. To be a means of encouragement to fellow Christian academics. The writer of Hebrews exhorted us not to neglect to meet together but to encourage one another, to stir one another up to love and to good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). That sort of encouragement and provocation greatly assists in our efforts to be faithful and effective disciples of Christ within the academy. Fellowship is a means of grace. NCS hosts biweekly prayer meetings where we share challenges, burdens, victories with one another and pray for one another. Those meetings have been a huge encouragement to me and others who have participated - join us and you will both be an encouragement and be encouraged.
3. To build a multidisciplinary network of Christian colleagues. The Network of Christian Scholars draws its members from a wide range of disciplines including physics, history, chemistry, philosophy, math, sociology, medicine, physiology, religion, nutrition, social work, music and engineering. Even within the academy there are few environments offering interaction with thoughtful and like-minded colleagues across such a broad range of disciplines. NCS events are greatly enriched by the broad range of perspectives and expertise brought to bear on any issue of interest. Prepare to be fascinated, challenged and stimulated by what you can learn from fellow Christian academics.
4. To engage the academy and the culture at large with the full force of the Christian worldview. As Christian academics, we take great delight in the coherence and effectiveness of the Christian worldview as a foundation for knowledge in all domains of thought and learning. Secularism-though currently dominant in the academy-seems bankrupt by comparison. Part of our mission as a Network of Christian Scholars is to identify and articulate the advantages of the Christian worldview over secularism or pluralism. NCS is collaborating with other student groups on campus (including Power 2 Change) to create fora where we can interact with undergraduate and graduate students and faculty on these issues.
5. To equip the church for ministry and evangelism. NCS wants to bring your gifts and expertise to bear on the challenges faced by the church as it interacts with the culture at large. In partnership with a number of churches and Christian organizations, we are working to organize an apologetics conference in Toronto for the Spring of 2015. The goal of this conference is to connect Christians across the city with the knowledge and perspective of Christian academics on a range of apologetic and cultural issues. This will be an exciting opportunity for the members of our Network to serve the Christian community in our city and beyond.