Christian humanistic faith/reason integration in contemporary American Protestant evangelical higher education: A case study

David Laurence Masterson, Marquette University

Abstract

Protestant evangelical colleges, by virtue of their self-articulated identity and mission statements, are obligated to attempt effective Christian humanistic faith/reason integration. The challenge for Protestant evangelical institutions is to avoid sectarianism or obscurantism while seeking to accomplish substantive student intellectual and spiritual formation. The present study is a qualitative case-study analysis of Gordon College, a Protestant evangelical institution located in Wenham, MA to seek to understand how the school attempts Christian humanistic faith/reason integration throughout its curricular and extra-curricular program. The history, purpose and mission of the college, as well as key factors that contributed to the shaping of a unique institutional ethos, were described. Characterizations of faith/reason integration at the school provided working parameters for exploring this issue. In addition, the curriculum and faculty were assessed as two focal means by which faith/reason integration is attempted. Interviews were conducted with administrators, faculty and students to provide descriptive data concerning faith/reason integration. Archival research and the use of a quantitative survey instrument distributed to administrators, faculty and students provided further illustrative data pertaining to this issue. The study indicated that Christian humanistic faith/reason integration necessitates intentional attention to the following: (1) careful faculty recruitment and enculturation into an established faith/reason integration ethos, (2) faculty acquisition of at least a modicum of theological sophistication as a prerequisite to faith/reason integration within their discipline, (3) effective faculty mentoring and modeling, (4) faculty forums, round-table discussions and opportunities for sharing faith/reason integration models, (5) a faculty development program that contains faith/reason integration components, (6) First Year Seminar experiences that introduce freshman students to the notion of a Christian world view and the dynamics of faith/reason integration, (7) effective off-campus programs that provide an environmental context and relational opportunities that facilitate the process of faith/reason integration, (8) the on-going pursuit of 'seamless' academic, chapel, convocation, and service-learning programming that seeks the full intellectual and spiritual formation of faculty and students in a community of learning.

Recommended Citation

David Laurence Masterson, "Christian humanistic faith/reason integration in contemporary American Protestant evangelical higher education: A case study" (January 1, 1999). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI9953493.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9953493

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