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Engaging God's World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living
~Cornelius, Jr. Plantinga
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List price: $15.00
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Average customer rating: 4.0 out of 5
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Sales rank: 10421

Product Information

Media: Paperback
ISBN/ASIN : 0802839819
Manufacturer : Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Release data : February, 2002

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    1 star1 star1 star1 starNo star    Educating for Shalom

    Calvin College has their own special edition of this book, whose author is president of Calvin Theological Seminary. The book is required study for all 1st year Calvin students. I became interested in reading it after visiting Calvin this Summer. This book is a very fine statement of purpose for a Christian education from a Christian (Reformed) perspective. I expected a dry theological dissertation, but was pleasantly surprised to find the writing lively, clear and concise. This small book covers a very broad topic, but the author does a very good of generalizing and enticing the reader with references to more detailed works for further reading.

    Many colleges and universities founded to serve Christian intentions have tended to fall into one of two extremes in their relationship to the world we live in. They either seek to provide a "safe" environment, insulating students from worldly influence, or they become indistinct from the world, compromising in an attempt to win acceptance and approval in the larger society. In this book Cornelius Plantinga Jr. attempts a vigilant third way. It is a Christian's calling to understand our world as God's good (though fallen) creation and to engage it and reform it according to a deep understanding of the implications of our Faith.

    In this book, Plantinga articulates a Christian longing and hope toward the prevalence of "shalom" for the world in light of biblical understanding of the doctrines of Creation, Fall and Redemption. Then he goes on to discuss the implications of these for a Christian's vocation (or calling) to serve by employing his or her gifts and talents for the good of others and the revealing of God's kingdom. Shalom is a term that means far more than just peace of mind or the absence of war: "In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight -- a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, all under the arch of God's love." Plantinga seems to have a good understanding of both the difficulties and the possibilities inherent in the fulfillment of such a vision. This is no utopian campaign where Christians try to force society in to a preconceived mold for an ideal world. Christians discern principals from Scripture and the application of them from the best insight they can gain into the needs of society. They respect the dignity of all human beings as being made in God's image and as having the freedom to accept or reject God.

    A Christian education is not a commodity to help the student fulfill his or her own life's agenda. It is a tool with which to discover our unique place in God's world and to develop our ability to serve in that place to the glory and pleasure of God. I hope this book finds its way into the hands of many college students, faculty and administrators in the hopes that they may be inspired by it.


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