Jay D. Green. An Invitation to Academic Studies. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, July 14th, 2014. 36 pp.
This booklet is the first installment for the Faithful Learning Series published by Presbyterian and Reformed that provides an introductory look at various academic discipline from the perspective of the Christian worldview. As the first volume the series’ editor Jay Green lays the foundation for the rest of the works to follow by discussing how the Christian faith and academic discipline intersect. It so happened that I read this series out of order. I have earlier read the series’ work on literature, political science, music and chemistry and have been blessed by them (especially the political science one) that I wanted to read the rest of the series including An Invitation to Academic Studies. Here is my review of this work.
In the introduction the author Jay Green noted how there have been works that have provided theological insights to certain academic subject that has been an aid to faithful learning but the author’s worry is that young scholars shaped by these works can explain a Christian theology and philosophy of their disciplines but might not be as well-prepared to gain insights from their discipline as an academic discipline (6). For Green he wishes that Christians be faithful stewards of God’s creation and the study of it. Green notes the uneasy relationship that has historically been the case between Christians and academia going back to even the second century with the church father Tertullian who famously asked “What has Jerusalem to do with Athens?” Green then discussed the four strategies that Christian have taken as a response to modern higher learning along with his assessment of what is their strength and weaknesses. He then proposes an alternative model; readers must read the book to see what Green has to say! I do think Green is right on when he says “A worldview mastery of a craft is no substitute for mastery of the craft itself” (27). The author has a point in balancing between worldview foundation and actual knowledge and skill of the academic disciplines.