An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

B J van der Walt: Transformed Ch 3

Transformed by the renewing of your mind

The title chapter as it were began life as a paper delivered at the International Conference of IAPCHE at Dordt College, Iowa in 2000. The subtitle 'The challenges of Christian higher education on the African continent in the twenty-first century' ably summarises the chapter. Van der Walt tackles them in reverse order.

The situation on the African continent is first described. This makes sobering reading. Export of manufactured goods is virtually zero. In the sub Sahara there are 12 telephones per 1000 people. 184 million have no access to water. 184 million have no access to safe drinking water. I could go on ...

He then looks at the situation regarding higher education in Africa. A Christian approach to education is very much absent. This is largely due to a dualistic worldview, one that is characterised by escapism, pietism, ecclesiasticism and secularism. sadly this is true of much Christianity in the UK. The UK too has little in the way of Christian education in the schools, colleges or universities. A Christian worldview is seen as the icing on the neutral academic cake. christian education requires a 'transformation of the sciences from within evey discipline. He makes a telling comment of Africa, and one that also holds for the UK, 'Secularism's influence has become so pervasive on our continent that we don't even recognise it'.

Romans 12:1-2 is then examined as a starting point for a basic vision. "It is a clarion call for the transformation of the whole of life' (p. 114). It contains a warning, a command and a promise.

The warning regards the secularisation of the world; our response should be transformation of, not isolation from or conformity with, culture.

The command indicates where we are to start. The whole body is to be presented as a living sacrifice and our minds are to be renewed. The use of the imperfect tense in Rom 12:1,2 'indicates that God requires an on-going, continuos reformation. If we don't reform, we will conform to the deformation of the world' (p. 113).

The promise is that we will approve, accept God's will.

Van der Walt then outlines ten excellent criteria for transformational scholarship; it should be:
  • visionary
  • integral
  • rigorous
  • critical
  • open
  • relevant
  • culturally sensitive
  • communal
  • global
  • modest

He concludes this chapter with a proposal for the establishment of an African Centre for Christian Higher Education.

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