Distinguished Faculty Lecture 2020–2021

Dave E. Thomas, D.Min., Professor of Practical Theology and Apologetics:
The Nature of Christian Belief

This lecture was streamed live on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020 at 7 p.m.

Download the program (PDF)

The Nature of Christian Belief

It is not a secret that today in the United States large numbers of people are abandoning the Christian faith. The fastest growing demographic are those who profess no connection or subscription to religion at all, and the largest growing segment within that demographic are young people who have come to believe they can live well without religion.

Dave Thomas, WWU professor of practical theology and apologetics, says there are many reasons for this development, some of which arise from the current prevailing ideas about belief and the evidence necessary to create or sustain that belief. “Since the days of René Descartes, the Western world has been traveling down a road that contends that unless something can be empirically proven it cannot be counted as knowledge. Religious belief is not subject to empirical proof, so it gets pushed to the side as about as credible as belief in unicorns,” says Thomas.

In his lecture, Thomas will discuss these ideas and their link to certain foundational assumptions that underlie the thought-systems that operate today, a subject area that has become known as “macro hermeneutics.” The area of macro hermeneutics has fascinated Thomas since he was introduced to it in 1993 by a seminary professor. During the last 25 years, Thomas has worked to make some of these highly abstract elements understandable for those who may have never heard of macro hermeneutics. Along the way, his recitations, especially to students, have fulfilled the task described by Elton Trueblood when he said: “The value of intellectual inquiry lies not in its ability to tell us what we ought to do, but rather in its ability to surmount the barriers that hinder our doing. The careful study of the philosophy of religion is helpful, not because in most instances it brings men to God, but because it fulfils the humbler role of removing barriers to requisite commitment.”

In his Distinguished Faculty Lecture, Thomas will address what constitutes Christian faith and what makes believing in the Christian way both viable and credible.

2020-2021 Dave Thomas, Professor of Practical Theology and Apologetics

Debbie Muthersbaugh, Professor of Education

Kari Firestone, Professor of Nursing

Pedrito Maynard-Reid, Professor of Theology

Paul Dybdahl, Professor of Theology

Kellie Bond, Associate Professor of English

Linda Emmerson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

David Bullock, Professor of Communication

Karen Tetz, Professor of Nursing

Joseph G. Galusha Jr., Professor of Biology

Pamela Keele Cress, Professor of Social Work and Sociology

Thomas M. Thompson, Professor of Mathematics

Gregory D. Dodds, Associate Professor of History

Bruce C. Johanson. Professor of Biblical Studies

Jon A. Cole, Professor of Engineering

Beverly G. Beem, Professor of English

James R. Nestler, Professor of Biology

Alden L. Thompson, Professor of Biblical Studies

Kraig S. M. Scott, Associate Professor of Music

Douglas R. Clark, Professor of OT and Archaeology

Rodney Heisler, Professor of Engineering

C. Loren Dickinson, Professor of Communication

Roland R. Blaich, Professor of History

 Verlie Y. F. Ward, Professor of Education

Thomas J. Emmerson, Professor of Art

Claude C. Barnett, Professor of Physics

Terrie Dopp Aamodt, Professor of English and History

Ernie J. Bursey, Professor of Biblical Studies

Event Details

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