The initiative seeks to address the rift in evangelical churches between science and Christian faith/theology, via a targeted program aimed at closing the gap by changing attitudes and resourcing an integrative faith. This program will build on the Foundation’s recent achievements in Science for Ministry by partnering with local church communities and advocating open dialogue and church leader participation. Activities include two large, interactive conferences ("Summits") in partnership with large, local churches; four "roundtable discussions" of pastors and scholars; and church-based adult education courses taught by interdisciplinary teams of Bethel professors. The program will be led by a theology and science professional with proven Science for Ministry experience. For national conferences, Bethel will invite national and international speakers who are adept at communicating to a broad audience for the purposes of engagement.
Through the efforts of the Bethel Initiative, we envision change in three groups:
Pastors: An increased willingness to engage science; A more optimistic view about the potential for integrating faith and science; An interest in utilizing Bethel as a resource.
Lay people:: An increased interest in exploring faith-science questions; A more optimistic view about the potential for integrating faith and science
Bethel’s internal culture: An increased faculty interest in and openness to faith-science dialogue; An increased student interest in faith-science dialogue An indication of current and future support from the administration.
We hope to eventually see curricular change at Bethel, including a college minor in Theology and Science as well as interdisciplinary and inter-campus (seminary and college) courses in theology and science. The Bethel Initiative seeks to ultimately influence the broader evangelical church, eventually leading it toward a more receptive attitude toward science.