chapter  6
16 Pages

Jesus, the Enlightenment, and Teaching World History: The Struggles of an Evangelical Scholar

How does an evangelical Christian teach secular world history classes in the academy? How does someone who has been commissioned to “make disciples of all the nations … teaching them to observe all that I [ Jesus] commanded you….”1 remain true to his or her faith, maintain intellectual honesty, and yet not proselytize students? For evangelical Christian scholars these are seminal questions that are tied to fundamental epistemological and ontological debates within the Western intellectual tradition. As T. A. Roberts stated, “the truth of Christianity is anchored in history: hence the implicit recognition that if some or all of the events upon which Christianity has been traditionally thought to be based could be proved to be unhistorical, then the religious claims of Christianity would be seriously jeopardized.”2 As both an evangelical Christian who believes in the inerrancy of the Bible as the inspired word of “God” and as a professional historian trained according to the tenets of Enlightenmentpositivism, I have wrestled mightily with the modern antagonism between faith and reason.3