The Journal of Education and Christian Belief (ISSN: 1366-5456) is a journal concerned with current educational thinking from a Christian perspective, published in conjunction with the Calvin College Press. All content is the copyright of the Kuyers Institute and the Association of Christian Teachers.
The views expressed by individual contributors and books reviewed or advertised in the journal are not necessarily endorsed by the editors, publishers, or sponsoring bodies.
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Current Issue: Vol. 17, No. 2 (2013)
- Elmer John Thiessen, “Evangelism in the Classroom”
It is frequently said that evangelism or proselytizing has no place in the classroom. The purpose of this essay is to counter this generalization and to explore the nature of legitimate religious influence in the classroom. In doing so I will offer some criteria to help us determine what is and what is not acceptable by way of religious persuasion in the classroom, drawing on my recent work, The Ethics of Evangelism: A Philosophical Defence of Ethical Proselytizing and Persuasion (2011).
- John Tillson, “Elmer Thiessen and The Ethics of Evangelism”
In this paper I provide a critical commentary of Elmer Thiessen’s The Ethics of Evangelism. Following an overview of the book’s project and strategies, I discuss two stages of the project in detail. The first is Thiessen’s analysis of ‘religious proselytism’; the second is Thiessen’s arguments that evangelizing can be a good thing to do in itself. Finally, I summarize what I think are the chief merits of the book and suggest for whom it will be of particular interest.
- Trevor Cooling, “Evangelism in the Classroom: A Response to Elmer Thiessen”
This article is a response to Elmer Thiessen’s article on evangelism in this journal. Although I agree with his general position that evangelism is an educationally justifiable activity, Thiessen criticizes comments I have made in my writings and charges me with being ambiguous. I respond to these remarks by defending the distinction that I make between evangelism and proselytization and then by questioning Thiessen’s definition of evangelism as ‘intentional and verbal persuasion’. Finally I suggest a different understanding of evangelism in classrooms, based on a model of influence that is not solely concerned with intentional persuasion.
- Elmer John Thiessen, “Evangelism in the Classroom: A Response to John Tillson and Trevor Cooling”
In this paper I reply to John Tillson’s critique of my book, The Ethics of Evangelism, and Trevor Cooling’s critique of my article, “Evangelism in the Classroom,” both found in this issue of the journal.
- Joshua D. Reichard, “From Indoctrination to Initiation: A Non-coercive Approach to Faith-Learning Integration”
This article contributes to ongoing discussions related to the nature, scope, and methods of faith-learning integration. The “initiation” approach developed by Tim McDonough (2011) is adapted to faith-learning integration in an attempt to bridge polarizing discussions regarding indoctrination versus rational autonomy and critical inquiry. The three stages of initiation are reconceived as conflict, creativity, and commitment. Using this model of initiation, teachers in Christian schools may strive toward educating students to be creative and responsive thinkers within the context of the tradition and community of the Christian faith. Ultimately, as the students of today become the scholars of tomorrow, they must be prepared to solve problems, face conflict, and deal with ambiguity. Initiation, as a non-coercive alternative to indoctrination, provides an opportunity to achieve such goals.
- Steven K. Mittwede, “Cognitive Educational Approaches as Means of Envisioning and Effecting Worldview Transformation via Theological Education”
Although much done in the name of discipleship and theological education pronounces lofty goals, such as movement from orthodoxy to orthopraxy, in many cases mere doctrinal assent is assumed to reflect deep change. An analysis of discipleship, worldview theory, and certain cognitive approaches to education suggests that worldview-level transformation may indeed be facilitated through classroom theological education if the cognitive structure of the learner(s) is well understood and then appropriately addressed. Subsumption theory and schema theory provide a sound theoretical substrate upon which to build a classroom approach to promoting worldview transformation.