New academic journal highlights diverse faculty expertise
Liberty University’s Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement (ACE) launched a journal this semester to discuss relevant topics from a broad range of academic disciplines. “Faith and the Academy” will be released twice per year (at the start of the fall and spring semesters) and feature articles written by Liberty faculty members and guest writers from other institutions. Each issue also includes a spotlight on research.
“We have some remarkable faculty members here at Liberty, and this journal is a way for us to showcase that and demonstrate how Christian intellectuals can come together, from different perspectives, to address real issues facing culture,” said Dr. Josh Chatraw, ACE executive director. He added that he has received positive feedback on the first issue from a number of academic leaders at other institutions.
Each issue will focus on a given topic with select faculty members from Liberty’s various schools and colleges providing perspectives through the lens of their discipline. The current issue discusses challenges and opportunities for Christian political engagement, and the Spring 2017 issue will focus on the modern identity crisis.
“It is for all of us who are not necessarily initiated in every particular domain of discourse,” Chatraw said. “It helps bring the disciplines together and communicate in understandable terms without having to explain the jargon that might be used in a publication geared toward a specific academic circle.”
While academics gain notoriety for becoming experts in extremely specific areas, Chatraw said that it is also important for people who look at life through different lenses to come together in order to seek answers to life’s big questions.
“One of the critiques of the academy is that there has been a high degree of atomization,” Chatraw said. “But as Christians we cannot become so fragmented. If we are not willing as intellectuals, and as an intellectual community, to tackle those big questions — as well as the more narrow questions — then we are not serving the church well.”
As the largest evangelical university in the world, with a wide array of degree programs, Chatraw said Liberty is in a unique position to set an example for how Christians can take a multi-dimensional approach in reflecting on contemporary issues and in engaging the world.
“We have all of these experts within different fields,” Chatraw said. “We are able to bring things together and have discussions that many other wonderful Christian institutions are not able to have. The center is really about capitalizing the diverse intellectual community we have at Liberty and bringing people together to reflect on the implications of the Gospel for all of life.’”
In addition to the journal, ACE has a number of resources to equip Liberty students, faculty, and staff to engage in dialogue with their communities. Videos and articles, some penned by Liberty faculty members, are available on the ACE website. Throughout each semester, ACE hosts events designed to spur conversations on campus; many of these events are done in collaboration with other departments.