[dropcap3]I[/dropcap3]n August I had the opportunity to lead the faculty workshop which is designed to rally the faculty together before onset of the academic year. This year’s workshop was focused around the three ideas – the cultivation of wisdom, biblical integration, and engagement with the world. These ideas are a central feature of the curriculum, but they also form the identity of PBU faculty.
Wisdom Has Built Her House
The university can be likened to a house of wisdom. The PBU faculty educate students for more than mere information. They educate so that wisdom is formed within their students and so that students can be a benefit to the church, society, and the world. Scripture reveals to us that Wisdom has done her great work in Creation (Prov. 8) and that she continues to share her benefits with those who love her and embrace her. Because wisdom is a creational notion, it encompasses all of life; this requires faculty to have the ability to provide an interdisciplinary education, inasmuch as all of life and knowledge is interconnected in a web of relationships. The PBU faculty continually discuss the implications of this for our Core Curriculum and for the classroom. The Mission of the University sets before the faculty the challenge to integrate the Scriptures with the expertise in their own discipline. The collegiality between faculty members is an important ingredient in creating an academic culture at PBU in which the Old and New Testaments form the perspective to view all of life and learning. There are faculty from across the various schools having conversations about the pursuit of truth and the education of students. These conversations inevitably continue in and outside the classroom with students, and they raise questions that are a driving force behind the research that is done by the faculty. A university blossoms and grows when faculty who are in hard pursuit of wisdom and truth, and PBU faculty are involved in deepening the understanding of their own discipline all within the framework of providing a biblical education. PBU is a house of wisdom.
In Him All Things Hold Together
The faculty at PBU are required not only to have expertise in their own discipline, but they are required to have the Lord Jesus Christ and his Word at the center of their lives and life’s work. The unity of truth is based on the fact that our God is one. One God created all things and they hold together in his Son. The faculty are able to avoid superficial biblical integration because they have depth in their relationship with God through the Lord Jesus. And to be a Christ-centered Christian requires that one be a Word-centered Christian. The PBU faculty have appropriate advanced degrees in their fields and a deep understanding of Scripture. This is the recipe for the seamless integration of the Word of God into educating students to serve Christ. Biblical integration should occur because it was the Word of God who created all things. It is the Lord Jesus who is first-born over all creation. He himself is the Beginning; the world has a Christological shape to it. The faculty know their own discipline and have their minds shaped by Christ and his Word to understand a “Word-shaped” reality.
Their Voice Has Gone Out Into All the Earth
[blockquote align=”right”]The PBU faculty invest in the lives of their students within and outside the classroom.[/blockquote]The PBU faculty invest in the lives of their students within and outside the classroom. They share meals with students, form reading groups, and include them in their family life. The commitment to invest into students exists because of the hope that it will translate into students whose lives will contribute to the church, society, and the world for Christ’s sake. In the same way that the Word of God left his place beside the Father and was “translated” into flesh, so the faculty educate students to translate their biblical and professional knowledge into an intentional and obedient life of service. The Lord Jesus did not come to be served, but to give his life a ransom for many. The faculty understand their responsibility to train the students wisely so that, just as Wisdom permeates all of creation, so our graduates may go out and engage the world in all aspects of society. The faculty fully recognize the critical importance of good pedagogy and also seize opportunities to invest in the lives of students in various venues at the university. Their investment has already provided dividends in the contribution that former students have made in the church, society, and the world. By God’s grace we trust that the seeds of wisdom faculty plant in students will produce a rich harvest for Christ’s sake.
PBU has an extremely committed and hard-working faculty who care about their work as educators and care for their students. The deans and program chairs take their responsibilities seriously and are zealous for the success of their students. I am constantly reminded of the quality professionals we have at PBU and encouraged by their testimony as Christians.
[framed_box]Brian Toews, Ph.D. is the Interim Provost. He has been a member of the PBU faculty since 1993.