Today is an exciting day as we celebrate one year since the launch of the Society of Christian Scholars! We are now equipping 353 missional Christian academics in at least 49 countries to be salt and light on their campuses and in their communities.
I’ve asked Professor Osam Edim Temple from Nigeria to share a little bit some of the ways the Society is being used to equip professors in English-speaking Africa and beyond. Professor Temple is the chair of the Executive Committee of the Society (which includes members from France, Senegal, Lithuania, China, Mexico and USA), as well as the regional representative for English-speaking Africa (which means he helps to spread the word about the Society in that region).
What excites you most about the Society of Christian Scholars?
I believe that Christian scholars are gifted in unique ways to spread the message of Christ and influence our world. We live in an age where the organized church is viewed with suspicion, where there is denominational fragmentation of the faith, where some cultures are resisting the work of missionaries, and where some theologians are watering down the spiritual dimension of our faith. I see the Society as the new strategy of the Holy Spirit to take the message of Christ deeper into the world. For too long, scientism and atheism have dominated our intellectual traditions. It is time for Christian scholars to take over the narrative. The Society gives them the confidence to love God with their minds and integrate their faith and scholarship.
How have you seen the Society helping those in your specific context (Anglophone Africa)?
The benefits of the Society to Christian scholars in English-speaking Africa are innumerable. A major challenge facing scholars in many universities in the region is access to current research resources. Another challenge is research grants. The resource databases of the Society and grants will be of great help to members in the region.
Can you share a story of something encouraging that has happened in the past year since the Society has launched?
The Society is only a year old and already we have presence in over 48 nations of the world. This is amazing. Each one of these countries is a beautiful story of God’s grace. One special story concerns the grants offered to 15 French-speaking Africa Scholars. Although this group of scholars had been meeting for years, they needed a global society like ours to strengthen them and widen their global reach. The grants offered by the Society are what enabled them to travel to the last IFES World Assembly in South Africa. They are currently planning to host the first conference of both English-speaking and French-speaking Christian scholars in Benin Republic in September this year.
What do you hope to see happen in the future in and through the work of the Society?
I hope to see the work of the Society blooming in different countries of the world. I hope to see leadership training and capacity building taking place in all the regions and the emergence of a new crop of Christian leaders coming out of the universities guiding the church to maturity and addressing the strongholds of their societies. I would like to see Society members publishing in their fields from a Christian perspective. I would love to see a new genre of literature and art on the integration of faith and scholarship. All these can be possible through our prayers and willingness to be used by the Holy Spirit in this generation.
Please continue to pray for our Society leadership like Professor Temple, and pray that the Society will be used to transform the nations with the gospel.