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The Two Tasks of the Christian Scholar: Redeeming the Soul, Redeeming the Mind

William Lane Craig and Paul M. Gould, eds., The Two Tasks of the Christian Scholar: Redeeming the Soul, Redeeming the Mind (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007), 199 pages, ISBN 9781581349399.

Written in honor of the late Charles Malik (1987), this short volume of eight essays celebrates his belief that the two tasks of Christian scholars in the public university involve redeeming the soul and redeeming the mind. Eight Christian educators from mostly non-theological academic disciplines respond to Malik’s challenging call in several ways.

Paul Gould begins by relating these tasks to the fully integrated life of the Christian scholar (chapter 1). Then Lebanon based scholar Habib Malik, Charles’ only son, speaks about the perspectives that Christian professors can offer in an era where worldviews and politics cause serious “crashes” in civilizations (chapter 3). Next, Peter Kreef’s essay calls Christian scholars to ardently pursue Malik’s two tasks in their own university settings (chapter 4). Then Walter Bradley (Chapter 5) outlines how believing professors can daily influence their secular academies. Robert Kaitia (Chapter 6) demonstrates the modern day implications of the Apostle Paul’s evangelism among the Athenians; while John North (Chapter 7) champions the application of Malik’s two tasks to the humanities.

Finally, editor William Lane Craig (Chapter 8) concludes this entire collection by repeating a unifying theme common to all of the essays. He reminds readers that “Christian academics stand on the church’s front line of the most important theaters in the culture war; that of the university” (188). He believes it therefore necessary for Christian scholars to engage intellectually with their discipline, as well as their Christian faith. He then asks that they remain mindful of their own personal, spiritual formation (188).

Certainly, this refreshing collection of multi-disciplinary academic voices contributes enheartening perspectives to other academics who also daily serve the public university as Christians. It reissues the rather lofty call of Charles Malik for our times: Christian academics are to redeem the soul, and redeem the mind of the university. Most practically, however, this anthology illustrates how professors can live as redeemed souls and redeemed minds in the university. This is by far the most practical and obtainable objective, especially in settings particularly antagonistic to Gospel witness.

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Category: Fall 2008, In Depth, Pneuma Review

About the Author: Carolyn D. Baker serves as Assistant Professor of English at Mayville State University, Mayville, North Dakota; as Adjunct Professor of Bible and Theology for Global University, Springfield, Missouri; and Pastor for Bible and Discipleship at All Nations Assembly of God, an African Refugee church, in West Fargo, ND.

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