Search Results for: Michael W. Austin

The ‘Virtue of Obedience’ in Hudson’s Fallenness and Flourishing

Philosophers Michael Austin (Eastern Kentucky), Charity Anderson (Baylor), and Kent Dunnington (Biola) reflect on Hud Hudson’s Fallenness and Flourishing (Oxford, 2021) in a recent book symposia discussion (introduced by James Arcadi) at the Henry Center’s Sapientia.

Hud Hudson is Professor of Philosophy at Western Washington University, and the author of multiple books, including A Grotesque in the Garden (Eerdmans, 2020).

In his essay, Kent Dunnington shows that Hudson’s story can be ‘compressed’ as follows

(1) The world is bleak and most everybody is ill-off and unhappy.

(2) This is a consequence of human sin, especially our prideful efforts to pursue happiness independently of God.

(3) Such efforts mire us in unhappiness, particularly in the deadly sin of sloth: apathetic resistance to the demands of love.

(4) Since sloth diminishes human agency, we need God’s atoning grace to extricate ourselves from our unhappiness.

(5) The virtue of obedience opens us up to this grace.

While Dunnington shares Hudson’s “penchant for pessimism” he is, “less confident than [Hudson] that pessimism as a philosophy of life is warranted or beneficial.” Among other important questions, Dunnington wonders “how essential, really, is Hudson’s pessimism to his overall argument?” What if, Dunnington raises, (1) were replaced by

(1*) The world is brimming with gratuitous goodness, yet most of us persistently ignore, reject, and efface it.

in Hudson’s story?

Mike Austin praises Hudson’s book for “its philosophical quality but also for its deep insight into issues that relate to spiritual and moral formation.”

A slow and reflective reading on the nature of sloth as it is analyzed in the pages of this book would be potentially very useful for such purposes. This is moral philosophy and moral theology at its best, offering wisdom that can be lived.

Austin thinks that Hudson has made a “strong prima facie case for understanding obedience as a virtue. ” How does Hudson conceive of obedience? According to Austin (quoting Hudson), obedience is conceived as

an abiding and deeply seated pro-attitude towards uniting one’s will with God’s will and a robust and stable set of dispositions aimed at combatting . . . our perpetual state of concupiscence which is daily fueled by self-love . . . self-deceit . . . the lesser goods of pleasure, knowledge, and power in the world.” It includes the positive “disposition to commit oneself to God’s revealed word by faith, to persevere in the hope for the realization of the promises of that word, and to promote that realization in the exercise of charity through properly grounded love of God and neighbor (pp. 162–63). 

Austin’s essay goes on to examine “some important ways that hope can and ought to play in relation to Hudson’s four components of obedience: humility, restraint, response, and love.”

Charity Anderson commends Hudson’s book as an “engaging and creative attempt to diagnose one of the most important problems that human beings face—the failure to flourish—and offer a path forward . . .”

Anderson’s essay engages with two different parts of the book: First, she examines theodicy and “its impact on the pessimistic worldview that Hudson advocates.” Second, she “raises several questions about Hudson’s proposal that obedience is the key to unlocking happiness and well-being” (e.g., whether those who have cultivated obedience are in fact happier?).

Anderson concludes:

Suppose we grant that cultivating the virtue of obedience is a metaphorical ‘primer’ for the paint colors of well-being to display themselves more vividly. If it seems to us that in those who—to the best of our knowledge—have cultivated the virtue of obedience, the colors still don’t show all that vividly, what should we think? Are those who cultivate obedience only flourishing slightly more by comparison with those who lack obedience? It is unclear to what extent Hudson thinks we can expect to flourish on this earth even if we manage to cultivate the virtue of obedience. But it’s difficult to judge the thesis of the book—that obedience is the key to flourishing—without a better appreciation of what Hudson thinks about the prospects of the obedient flourishing now.

Theologian Olli-Pekka Vainio (Helsinki) also contributes to the book symposia, along with a reply from Hudson.

2023 EPS SESSION AT CENTRAL DIVISION OF THE APA

The Evangelical Philosophical Society will host the following session at the 2023 Meeting of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association (February 22-25, 2023; Denver, CO)

Date and Time: TBD.

Panel Discussion Theme: “Evangelical Philosophy and Polarization”

Panelists:

Our panelists will be discussing the phenomenon of polarization with respect to the following questions:

  • HISTORICAL ROLE: How has evangelicalism in general, and evangelical philosophy in particular, contributed (negatively or positively) to the current polarization in American society with respect to political identification, social values (e.g., family structures, education, abortion, etc.), the urban/rural divide, poverty and wealth, and religious orientation (or whatever other axes you’d like to address)?  Where have evangelicals in general – and evangelical philosophers in particular – contributed to varieties of polarization?  Where have evangelicals in general – and evangelical philosophers in particular – contributed to defusing polarization?  Ought evangelical philosophers seek to reduce the phenomenon of polarization (and if so, along which axes of polarization)?  Or is it outside our purview of concern?  If not outside of our concern, then what are our obligations – both as evangelicals and as philosophers – in this regard?
  • SCHOLARLY RESOURCES: What scholarly resources exist in the evangelical tradition, and within evangelical philosophy in particular, to address the phenomenon of polarization?  What can those resources contribute to addressing the many axes of polarization?  How can evangelicals develop more such resources?
  • LEARNING FROM OTHER BELIEVING INTELLECTUALS: What are some differences that you see between how evangelicalism in general, and evangelical philosophy in particular, has addressed (or failed to address) issues of polarization, and how other Christian intellectual traditions have addressed these issues?  What can we learn from the approaches of other traditions?
  • FUTURE DIRECTIONS: What do you see as the current vocation of evangelical intellectuals, and of evangelical philosophers in particular, given the current polarization (along many axes) within American society?  If it is appropriate for evangelical philosophers to enter into these conversations, what ought to be our goal(s)?  What ought to be our means to achieve those goals?

See additional links for posts about EPS at APA event details.

Send Philosophia Christi Your Best Papers Today

As the editorial team of Philosophia Christi is gearing up for future issues, now would be a great time to submit your paper for consideration.

Editor Ross Inman writes the following in a recent issue of the journal:

Our continued desire is for Philosophia Christi to be a scholarly venue that showcases high level academic work in the core areas of philosophy (ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology) as well as philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, analytic theology, and philosophical apologetics. Our aim at Philosophia Christi is to help cultivate an inviting and winsome academic posture that honors the Lord Jesus Christ, while facilitating ongoing scholarly conversation about topics that bear on the philosophical and theological contours of the Christian faith.

To catch a little more of Ross’ vision on how he sees the work of Christian philosophers, enjoy this recently published, short video interview with Ross:

Learn more about the journal and do consider sending us your best paper to review for publication (guidelines). By publishing in Philosophia Christi, your content will be read by a unique readership of professional philosophers, graduate students, theologians, pastors, and worldview/apologetics educators engaged in philosophical pursuits. 

Moreover, what are you reading in philosophy that most intrigues you? Know of a recent or forthcoming philosophical book that has yet to be reviewed in the journal? Let us know! To inquire about submitting a book review to Philosophia Christi, please contact one of our book review editors in the following areas:

Humility, Pride, and Christian Virtue Theory

In 2018, Oxford University Press published Humility, Pride, and Christian Virtue Theory by Kent Dunnington. Dunnington is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Biola University.

From the publisher’s description of Humility, Pride and Christian Virtue Theory:

Humility, Pride, and Christian Virtue Theory proposes an account of humility that relies on the most radical Christian sayings about humility, especially those found in Augustine and the early monastic tradition. It argues that this was the view of humility that put Christian moral thought into decisive conflict with the best Greco-Roman moral thought. This radical Christian account of humility has been forgotten amidst contemporary efforts to clarify and retrieve the virtue of humility for secular life. Kent Dunnington shows how humility was repurposed during the early-modern era-particularly in the thought of Hobbes, Hume, and Kant-to better serve the economic and social needs of the emerging modern state. This repurposed humility insisted on a role for proper pride alongside humility, as a necessary constituent of self-esteem and a necessary motive of consistent moral action over time. Contemporary philosophical accounts of humility continue this emphasis on proper pride as a counterbalance to humility. By contrast, radical Christian humility proscribes pride altogether. Dunnington demonstrates how such a radical view need not give rise to vices of humility such as servility and pusillanimity, nor need such a view fall prey to feminist critiques of humility. But the view of humility set forth makes little sense abstracted from a specific set of doctrinal commitments peculiar to Christianity. This study argues that this is a strength rather than a weakness of the account since it displays how Christianity matters for the shape of the moral life.

Enjoy this 2015 presentation by Kent for the “Intellectual Humility Capstone Conference”:
For more on this topic, see EPS President, Mike Austin’s latest book and author interview, along with Ross Inman’s (Philosophia Christi Editor) 2017 paper, “On the Moral and Spiritual Contours of the Philosophical Life.”

Web Project: THE PHILOSOPHY OF THEOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

The Evangelical Philosophical Society (EPS) is pleased to introduce a unique and ongoing Philosophy of Theological Anthropology project! Your contributions, readership, exploration and support are most welcomed. For more on this theme and Christian contributions to philosophy, become a subscriberfor as low as $25 per year! – to Philosophia Christi, the peer-reviewed journal of the EPS [all EPS members receive Philosophia Christi as part of their membership].

Summary of Project 

Inaugurated in 2018, The Philosophy of Theological Anthropology is an EPS web project devoted to the foundations and meta-themes of theological anthropology. Contributors seek to highlight a variety of new topics, which are at present underexplored, and fresh philosophical perspectives of older topics. This is an opportunity for philosophers and constructive theologians to explore foundational and innovative themes within theological anthropology from a philosophical perspective.

Topics of interest in this web series include areas of epistemology, metaphysics, Christology, and traditioned anthropology. We are interested in approaches that reconceive in fresh new ways the conditions and foundations for thinking about theological anthropology. This amounts to critical interrogations of commonly held assumptions in the contemporary theological literature on anthropology. We invite contributions that are extensions of previously published works as well as unique speculative pieces. 

Areas of Web Project 

The present issue will contain topics on anthropology, philosophy of mind, imago Dei [broadly conceived], with the aim toward advancing the philosophical foundations and implications of a theistic anthropology.

Current Papers

Core Project Questions

  • How should we approach the anthropos and its telos?
  • Furthermore, how might we understand human ‘selfhood’ and ‘identity’?
  • What are the benefits and liabilities of an Analytic Theology approach?
  • Analytic Theology and Christological anthropology?
  • What are the benefits and liabilities of a more Phenomenological approach to the anthropos?
  • What is the distinctive contribution of philosophy of mind/personal ontology in contemporary theological anthropology?
  • What role does or should the sciences play in our theological constructions?
  • What are the benefits of a Christological method to anthropology?
  • Christological anthropology as an organizing motif?
  • Is a Christological method sufficient for theological anthropology?
  • From the Christian tradition, what is the Good News for the anthropos and how might that shape approaches to a study of what it means to be human?
  • What role do ecclesial, theological, or philosophical traditions play in our theological construction?
  • What substantive place does reason and experience have in understanding humans?
  • What are the different religious/denominational perspectives on the nature of human beings?
  • How might spiritual features and formation of a human being shape an understanding of the nature and purpose of a human being?
  • What are the distinctive ideas within a Christian anthropology and other religious anthropologies?
  • How might theologies and philosophies of the human person shape theologies and philosophies of ‘public life’?

Find this Project Interesting? See these other EPS Web Projects


Want to Contribute to the Philosophy of Theological Anthropology Project? 

Options for contributing: reflection essays, critical responses, book reviews, exploratory essays, dialectical pieces, methodological hybrids (biblical studies to philosophy), how to communicate to the public.

Length: Shorter (e.g., 1500-2000 words) and longer papers (e.g., 6,000 words) are permitted. You are welcome to work with the Project Editors on length issues.

Suggested topics: evolution and theological anthropology, imago Dei, the metaphysics of gender and sexuality, method, Christological anthropology, religious epistemology, and human ontology.

Main Project Categories:

  1. Denominational and Traditioned Theological Anthropology
  2. Gender, Sex, and Sexuality
  3. Sociology, Ethnography, and Theological Anthropology
  4. Science, Design, and Anthropology
  5. Technology and Posthumanism
  6. Morality and Theological Anthropology
  7. Disciplines: Philosophy, Biblical Theology, Philosophical Theology, Systematic/Constructive Theology, Retrieval Theology, Social Science, Humanities (N.B. the aim of the investigation ought to impinge on philosophical-theological matters)

Submit a Proposal: Email a topic, thesis and description of the proposed paper (250 words max) to Project Editors Joshua Farris and Nathan Jacobs [see below]. They will help guide your proposal toward being a contribution of this web project.

Lead Project Editors & Coordinators:

Past Editorial Assistant: Dave Strobolakos.

Web Project Overseer: Joseph E. Gorra, Consulting Editor, Philosophia Christi.


Please consider becoming a regular annual or monthly financial partner with the Evangelical Philosophical Society in order to expand its reach, support its members, and be a credible presence of Christ-shaped philosophical interests in the academy and into the wider culture!


Web Symposium: Academic Disciplines, Faithfulness, and the Christian Scholar

What is an academic discipline? How might we think about the mission of God, the work of Christian professors and their work among the disciplines? What does it mean to think Christianly about scholarship? How might the character of a scholar shape the work of scholarship? These questions and more are addressed in this unique web symposium centered around a paper written by Paul Gould. [Readers may also be interested in an EPS interview with Gould regarding his recent book, The Outrageous Idea of the Missional Professor].

An Essay on Academic Disciplines, Faithfulness, and the Christian Scholar

by Paul Gould

This essays argues that an academic discipline is best understood as a social practice composed of guiding principles, a guiding methodology, a data set and a collective narrative (with characters, acts and various sub-stories throughout its history).

Mission takes place at the point of intersection between the dominant western stories (scientific naturalism and postmodernism) and Christianity. Within the academic discipline, these intersections are at each level: the Christian professor will utilize her own set of guiding principles and methodologies (which might or might not agree with those of the dominant story within the discipline); she will approach the data set of the discipline from her own unique point of cognitive access, which may lead her to ask a different set of questions than those who embrace the dominant story of the discipline would ask; and she will look to her own set of Christian mentors and guides within the discipline (historical and contemporary) for leadership.

As a missional professor who always has the progress of the gospel in view, she will seek “missional connections” within her academic discipline so that Christianity will be viewed as plausible and gain a hearing in the secular university and in culture. 

Scholarship and Character as a Christian Academic

by Michael Austin

This paper considers examples of how a Christian in philosophy can embrace positions within the discipline but also provide a unique and more cogent grounding for those positions. He argues that the best way of accounting for a conception of human rights based on fundamental interests can be grounded in God’s trinitarian nature. A Christian philosopher, depending on her audience, can be explicit about this ultimate grounding or she may instead produce a work of what C.S. Lewis called latent Christianity, in which the theological underpinnings exist in her mind, but are not made explicit in her argumentation.

Austin also discusses an example of how the fact that, as Gould puts it, “Christ is the source and telos of all things, including all truths that can be discovered,” can inform Christian scholarship, related to the dual nature of the Christian virtue of humility.

Finally, Austin briefly examines the importance of a robust Christian character for the Christian academic.

 
by Gregory Ganssle

The task of the Christian in the academy is complex. Paul Gould’s Essay includes some helpful conceptual tools.

The first helps us visualize the multiple implications of the fact that God is the prime reality. These implications open up the resources of the Gospel for thinking about the task of the scholar.

The second helps us give a more nuanced analysis of the contours of one’s academic discipline.

In this essay, Gregory Ganssle develop these tools to help make them more comprehensive, and, hopefully, even more applicable. 

A Perspective on Perspectival Factualism: Response to Paul Gould

by Richard Davis

Paul Gould’s Essay defends what he calls ‘Perspectival Factualism’ as the best approach for a Christian scholar to adopt towards her academic discipline. Richard Davis raises some questions for Prof. Gould’s proposal along with some alternative proposals. This paper also reflects Davis’s recent contribution in Philosophia Christi, where he [and Paul Franks] critique another form of perspectivalism. 

 

Reflection on Gould’s Model of Faith and Scholarship: Consistent, Holistic, Realistic?

by David Naugle

In this response to Paul Gould’s Essay, David Naugle mentions seven positive things he sees in his essay, including: that Gould emphasizes God’s mission and our scholarly faithfulness to it, his helpful definitions of academic disciplines, his examples of missional professors, the good Christian resources Gould uses, his boldness, and many other solid points too many to discuss.

Negatively, Naugle mentions, in summary fashion, the following points: a possible contradiction, a failure to be truly holistic in the faith-learning nexus, and finally, whether Gould’s model will lead to the transformation he seeks. Each major section is followed by summaries of various kinds.

Further Reflections on Academic Faithfulness: A Reply to Friendly Critics

by Paul Gould

In this paper, Paul Gould responds to essays by Michael Austin, Gregory Ganssle, Richard Davis, and David Naugle as they interact with his model of faith-scholarship integration as articulated in his “Essay on Academic Disciplines, Faithfulness, and the Christian Scholar.” 

Christian Philosophers in the ‘Secular Academy’

The past few decades have seen an increase of interest by Christians in philosophy.  One manifestation of this has been an increase of Christians teaching philosophy in a secular setting.  The recent EPS “Christ-Shaped Philosophy Project” evidences this renewed engagement and shows that there is dispute about what it even means to ‘do philosophy’ as a Christian.  In part this is because there is a difference of perspective about the meaning of philosophy. For example, in what way is philosophy different than testimony (e.g., revealed religion), tradition, science, common sense, and intuition? Moreover, must a Christian who teaches and studies philosophy commit herself/himself to one of the current philosophical methodologies such as analytic or continental philosophy?

PROJECT PURPOSE: We seek to understand teaching, learning, and communicating as a ‘Christian Philosopher’ in a non-religious (sometimes anti-religious) educational context (e.g., High School, College, and University). This project asks questions related to how Christians understand philosophy, and how this affects teaching philosophy as a Christian in a secular academic setting (see suggestions below). This involves philosophy as the study of general revelation, combined with the Christian claims of the need for redemption and redemptive revelation.  As such it raises important questions about the basis for common ground between humans as thinkers, and the Christian claim that humans do not seek, do not understand, and do not do what is right.

LENGTH: 1500-2000 total words. You are welcome to work with the Project Editor on length issues.

DEADLINE: TBD with editor/coordinator (see below).

Each month, we plan to feature at least one new contribution in this space
.

SUBMISSION PROCESS: If you are interested in any of the below suggested areas of contribution (or you wish to propose some other topic), please contact our project coordinator and editor Owen Anderson (info below). Owen is seeking to coordinate all potential contributors and their topics for this endeavor. When you pitch your possible contribution, please provide the following:

  • Your name, institution and contact info.
  • Title and description of your proposal.
  • Specific reasons for how your contribution will help advance the purpose of this project.

Contributions

12 SUGGESTED AREAS TO PURSUE

  1. Is ‘Christian philosophy’ distinct from ‘philosophy,’ and if so, how does that shape the practice of teaching it in non-religious contexts?
  2. How does being a Christian influence teaching philosophy at a secular institution?
  3. What should a ‘Christian philosopher’ seek to accomplish with the teaching-learning process in a non-religious context? Teach for the sake of understanding an area of knowledge? Bear witness to the ultimate truth in the triune God? Only ‘play according to the rules’ of that discipline and institution? Something else? What might prudence and wisdom look like with this endeavor?
  4. How might different epistemologies (e.g., Reformed Epistemology) influence what a ‘Christian philosopher’ views as desiderata for teaching-learning outcomes in a non-religious context?
  5. What basis is there for ‘common ground’ between Christian philosophy and secular institutions (or students, or colleagues)?
  6. What challenges to a Christian understanding of the world arise from students or colleagues? How should these challenges be addressed?
  7. How might debates about advocacy/neutrality models of the classroom shape the ‘doing’ of philosophy by Christians?
  8. What do secular institutions ask Christian philosophers to ‘do’ with their faith (e.g., utilize it, isolate it, make it merely private, etc) and how does that shape the teaching-learning process?
  9. Given the challenges of philosophical and religious pluralism, how should one teach Ethics, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Religion, etc. as a Christian?
  10. What are some ‘best practices’ for teaching hot-button issues like: the nature of truth, the existence of the soul, different accounts of human nature, issues of sexuality and sexual ethics, ‘beginning of life’ and ‘end of life’ ethical issues, war, nuclear disarmament, etc
  11. Are there specific teaching or communication lessons a Christian philosophers learns at a secular institution that are absent at a religious institution?
  12. Is teaching Christian philosophy at a secular institution different from teaching other subjects at that institution (does philosophy have a unique role than perhaps math, grammar, geography, etc., do not)?
Project Coordinator & Editor
Dr. Owen Anderson, PhD
Associate Professor
Philosophy and Religious Studies,
School of Humanities, Arts & Cultural Studies
New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Arizona State University
oanderson@asu.edu

Project Developer & Overseer
Joseph E. Gorra, Consulting Editor, Philosophia Christi.

Copy Editor Assistant
Dave Strobolakos, Talbot School of Theology.

Please consider becoming a regular annual or monthly financial partner with the Evangelical Philosophical Society in order to expand its reach, support its members, and be a credible presence of Christ-shaped philosophical interests in the academy and into the wider culture!

Philosophia Christi Winter 2012: Paul Moser’s Religious Epistemology

The very next issue of Philosophia Christi has now mailed! If you are not a current member/subscriber, you can become one today by purchasing here.

This packed issue leads with a resourceful discussion on Paul K. Moser’s religious epistemology, with contributions by Katharyn Waidler, Charles Taliaferro, Harold Netland and a final reply by Moser. This journal contribution not only extends interest and application of Moser’s epistemology but also compliments the EPS web project on “Christ-Shaped Philosophy”.

We also feature interesting work in philosophical theology, including how one might understand “friendship with Jesus” (Michael McFall), the scope of divine love (Jordan Wessling), and how one’s view of original sin relates to a broad free-will defense (W. Paul Franks).

Other significant article contributions address criticisms against Plantinga’s conditions for warrant (Mark Boone), the latest in cosmology and arguments for God’s existence (Andrew Loke) along with further challenges against “central state materialism” (Eric LaRock).

Readers will not want to miss J.P. Moreland’s critique of Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos along with the critique of Christian physicalism by Jonathan Loose. Michael Austin provides a helpful philosophical account of the virtue of humility in light of social science considerations, and Amos Yong critically assesses “relational apologetics” in a global context.

Finally, this issue features book reviews by William Lane Craig, James Stump, Paul Copan, James Bruce and Jason Cruze about books related to the latest on science and theology, cosmology, metaethics, and ethics of abortion. 

See all the articles included in this issue by clicking here.

Doing the Right Thing: Multiple Use of this DVD series

In part one of my assessment of Doing the Right Thing, I discussed the quality and benefits of this DVD series. In this post, I want to say something about how one may wish to use this series.

Personal enrichment

Anyone who wants to become a more discerning person, whose life attempts to integrate with moral reality, should receive this series with eagerness to learn. It can be a helpful springboard for engaging both the relevant, introductory literature on the topic and for considering how to even begin to think about this topic in a personally, enriching manner. Perhaps one could utilize Doing the Right Thing as a basis for one’s own curriculum and syllabi in this area.

Classroom (upper-division high school and college)

For “public” (pluralistic) learning environments, I did not find this series to be “preachy,” overtly religious or inhospitable to differing perspectives. A triumphalist tone does not reign in the series. Moreover, when Christianity is mentioned, it is done so in a manner consistent with what it is; a publicly testable knowledge tradition that has data to be considered and a perspective to be weighed like any tradition of knowledge. 

To be sure, the series has a perspective, as it should, and it is (rightly so) consistently opposed to moral relativism. But I didn’t get the impression that the series would be inhospitable in a “public” learning environment. If anything, a teacher (Christian or otherwise) could use it as a bona fide representation of how a broadly theistic worldview might reason about truth, knowledge of it, and how to live integratively in its reality.

Instructors in private school settings should seriously consider adopting this DVD series, in whole or in part, for any of the following sorts of classes

  • Debate class
  • Worldview
  • Ethical issues 101,
  • Social studies
  • Critical thinking,
  • World religions

For college classroom settings, I could envision the series useful (in whole or in part) for these classes:

  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Introduction to Ethics
  • Comparative worldview analysis
  • Business ethics
  • Professional ethics
  • Ethics and Finance
  • Introduction to ethical theory

In these learning environments, one could use any parts of the series as a discussion prompt, a replacement for an introductory lecture on a topic, an opportunity to represent and disagree with a natural moral law perspective.

Small Group Laity and Pastoral Leadership Formation
This DVD series should be utilized for any leadership formation needs in a local church if such leaders are supposed to be public influencers in their community.  If Christian leaders are to help other disciples of Jesus become effectual in their witness in the world (wherever they are doing good for others), this series can help to empower Christian public witness of moral and spiritual reality. Without such training, most talk, appeal, and even affirmation of moral and spiritual reality could end up being not much more than appeals to scriptural proof-texts or “Christianized talk.”

The series offers resources for talking, reasoning and knowing about moral reality in a winsome way. A local church could offer this series as a whole-day seminar, perhaps even open to the general public, along with opportunity for Q&A with pastors and any Christian professors in the area.

Professional enrichment training
Professionals – whether they are in law, business, politics, finance, etc – who want to grow in a moral vision and life should welcome this series as a source of encouragement. Perhaps parachurch organizations focused on ministering to a particular type of professional might find this series useful for offering a primer on ethical decision-making, for example.

In a 2011 interview with ethicist Mike Austin, I mentioned to him that we need a “translation revolution” in Christian philosophy, where content producers offer work that has an “ear” to the academic discussion but seeks to stand in, and communicate to, the general public. Such a “translation” endeavor needs both scholar and practitioner influencers (e.g., pastors). Ethics, as an area of philosophy and theology, is a prime area poised for leadership in this “translation” endeavor. Doing the Right Thing is a helpful model for what can be done.

Doing the Right Thing is a joint project between the Colson Center for Christian Worldview (Lansdowne, VA) and The Witherspoon Institute (Princeton, NJ). It was also made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.