Theological Scholarship in Fundamentalism

Kevin Bauder recently wrote a series of articles for his “In the Nick of Time” column “Fundamentalism and Scholarship.”

This paragraph stood out to me as one of the key areas of my own weakness:

If we want to produce theological scholars, then we must provide training in the skills that scholars require. This is the role of academic institutions and Ph.D. programs. During graduate and especially postgraduate education, would-be scholars must learn to navigate the literature within their disciplines, master the skills required for scholarly research, and develop those powers of presentation that will be essential for functioning in the scholarly community. During the years of preparation, future scholars must also make their first forays into the academic arena, attending and offering presentations for the learned societies that service their disciplines. Simultaneously, they will begin to develop the networks of relationships that will lead to publishing opportunities. Most importantly, future scholars must begin to focus attention upon the areas of specialization in which they hope to advance the scholarly conversation and thereby to expand the scope of human knowledge.

Fundamentalism has not always been comfortable with such prescriptions. For most of our history, it hasn’t been on our radar screens. But that reticence has been eroding, as evidenced by the new writing and publishing program going on now at my own Bob Jones Seminary.

May the Lord help us to go far and high in scholarship but not in our own estimation of it. May our scholarship instead be a means of increasing our understanding and admiration of the Lord.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

Leave a Reply