The goal of the Center for Christian Studies can be described in many ways. A friend recently suggested to me that CCS is a bridge builder. That metaphor really resonates with me, and I imagine it does for others as well. We live in a culture of pronounced divisions, and it seems like the gaps between individuals and groups are being exploited and widened rather than narrowed and healed. In many ways, our society is in need of more bridges.
One of those gaps is between the church and the academy. To be sure, this gap has a long history, and it has become something of yawning chasm through much of the modern period. Churches start academies—indeed, the university in general and in most specific instances began as the academic arm of the church—but then the academies come to ignore or positively antagonize the churches. As regards antagonism: The Christian academy has been known to churn out ideas that have been harmful to churches. Of course, it is self-defeating and eventually suicidal, especially for educational institutions that depend on churches for support and students. As regards ignoring: The academy has been notorious for treating scholarly or abstruse questions that have little or no discernible bearing on Christian life.
CCS steps into the gap to provide resources that are academically first-rate and, at the same time, edifying and useful for churches and individual Christians. We recognize the abiding value of study and growth in understanding, and we want to pass this love of knowledge on to churches. For these reasons, top-notch scholarship is central to CCS’ mission. But if this scholarship does not have clear Christian ends in mind, or if it actually leads to anti-Christian results, then it is of no real benefit to the church. So the content provided by CCS comes from teachers and writers who are committed to the life of the church.
This kind of bridge building can be seen in the video series, which address important topics of biblical and theological concern in a way that non-specialists and lay people can understand. It is also seen in the Journal of Christian Studies, the first issue of which will be published next month.
So think of CCS as a church infrastructure program. We are providing scholarship for the church, building bridges that will make learning accessible to Christians and church leaders who want it and need it most.
We have just started building bridges, and we want to continue to do so in 2022. Will you help build bridges? Please consider making a year-end gift to CCS, for the sake of the church, to the glory of God.