Dr. Robert Benne

Highlighting the theme of Faith and Learning: The Enduring Idea of a Christian University, leading scholars on the subject met on the LCU campus for a dialogue during the inauguration week for LCU President Tim Perrin.

One of the most significant voices in the global discussion of faith and learning is Dr. Robert Benne, the Roanoke College Professor of Religion and director of the Center for Religion and Society, who was invited to be the featured presenter at the Honors Convocation during the inauguration.

Robert Benne began the Honors Convocation with the idea of “scholarship with guts,” describing the fortitude it takes to be a Christian scholar in each discipline.  His lecture, entitled “The Transformed Mind and the Christian University,” discussed the importance of Christian education with an emphasis on quality while maintaining Christian roots and heritage.  In his introduction, Dr. Benne boldly stated that as a Christian University, piety of any kind can never substitute for quality. As an educational enterprise, a Christian university must form thinking Christians, not compartmentalize education and morals.

His charge to be ever vigilant in maintaining an intellectual Christian vision and ethos as LCU, as well as other Christian universities, pursues life in the academy encouraged much discussion among the Faith and Learning panel that followed his talk.  Dr. Benne was joined by Dr. Allison Garret (Abilene Christian University), Dr. Doug Henry (Baylor University), and Dr. Richard Hughes (Messiah College and formerly of Pepperdine University) to discuss “The Enduring Idea of a Christian University.”  Each panel member addressed their perspective on the importance of Christian education, drawing on the history of the relationship between universities and the church.