Assistant Faith Editor
In the world of academia and knowledge, it seems that there isn’t always an overwhelming population of evangelical Christians. Some say the reason is that academics are too smart for religion, too advanced for tradition.
The field of scientific academia projects the narrative that they can prove the primary existence of matter over spirit through their scientific disciplines. While people in advanced post-graduate academic fields are very intelligent, knowledgeable in their fields and scientific in their thinking, science is not superior to the truth of the Gospel.
One of the biggest loopholes in the American mission mindset is the focus on lower socioeconomic people, particularly in other states or countries. While this is good and necessary, there is a population among Americans that is greatly overlooked and neglected—academic postmodernists.
This population in particular holds its own difficulties in accepting the Gospel or even being open to a spiritual or Biblical conversation. I asked Oklahoma Baptist University’s resident Ph.D. of Biology, Dr. Brad Jett, on his personal input on evangelism to his fellow academics in the academic study of biology.
Dr. Jett said that instead of using scientific and mathematical facts as some people do to prove the existence of God, he prefers to initiate spiritual conversations with his non-believing academic colleagues through his action and character.
“As a Christian biomedical scientist, I believe the thing that can best lead a non-believer to the Gospel is not the science but the scientist,” said Dr. Jett.
His conviction primarily comes from John 13:35 which says, “by this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another”. Dr. Jett says that we especially show ourselves to be different from those around us when we fail to conform to their flawed stereotype of hypocritical Christians by applying our relationship with Christ to all our convictions, especially those in our field of study.
Dr. Jett says, “In my fields of biology and biomedical sciences, for example, if Christians say we love God and His creation, then we should be outspoken champions of the environment and actively support its restoration and healing from the mistakes we humans have made.”
When we present ourselves as more than superficial Christians but as Christ-followers allowing the relationship to define all our other convictions, even academic non-religious people who do not believe in the validity of the supernatural realize that there is something other-worldly about us.
Similarly to all other forms of evangelism, having spiritual conversations with academic post-modernists can occur organically from living as a Christian should: apart and different from our surrounding culture.
As Dr. Jett says, “Perhaps the greatest compliment a non-believer could pay a follower-of-Christ-biologist is ‘you’re not like a lot of religious people I know’.”
Another way that Christ-followers live differently from their surrounding culture is our heavenly mindset and resulting hope. In a world that is so obviously going downhill, a truly content and secure hope is hard to find if not completely nonexistent in our surrounding culture.
However, with our reassurance of salvation and our promise of life with Christ in a new heaven and earth, there is nothing that can happen in this world that can shake away those promises and hopes. And that is different from everyone else.
For those who intently desire to share the Gospel with their academic non-religious friends, there is no textbook of things to say or topics to convince them with, but there is undeniable evidence for them to see if you, yourself, grasp the unshakable promises and hope that we have through Christ to live it out in all your convictions.
While there are apologetic arguments, scientific facts, and cultural debates that win minds to consider Christianity, very rarely have hearts been won over by a coherent argument by a hopeless arguer.