From "integration" to "integrity": a model of teaching and research... —Drs. Geoff & Elizabeth Beech

Updated: Sep 23

From “Integration” to “Integrity”: A model for teaching

and research in Australasian contexts


Drs. Geoff & Elizabeth BEECH


Geoff and Elizabeth BEECH (BEECH) have been missionary educators in Bolivia for over 20 years. Elizabeth is currently the Academic Dean of the National Institute for Christian Education in Australia. Geoff works as a lecturer and then Academic Dean of the National Institute for Christian Education, and serves as a senior adjunct professor since his retirement. He co-authored with Elizabeth many articles, including: “Research as the Unhiding of God’s Knowledge” (2016), and “A Redefinition of Leadership: What on Earth did we Think We Were Doing?” (2018).


Both Beth and Geoff work together searching for a new model of integration which goes beyond mere integration of faith and learning, adding upon it the biblical concept of faithfulness. The so-called "integrality model" is an attempt to reclaim in Christian worldview a proper place for God with His ownership and purposes for the world. They argue for the need to redefine the biblical concepts of faithfulness and knowledge attainment. “Faith” should be seen as the unhiding of God-owned truth within a common grace context. An integral teaching and research model needs to be built to demonstrate its place in God's ownership and for His purposes. The incorporation of two distinct entities: Faith and Academic Pursuits or practices is discussed and reconsidered.


For instance, “Faith”, “Knowledge” and “Integration” are redefined. “Faith” is not defined as a blind hope, but as one of allegiance to Jesus the King. As faithful Christian scholars, we must ask ourselves whether we have been faithful to the gospel. In redefining “knowledge”, BEECH point out that Christian knowledge should not be considered as a separate realm of truth or reality. As all truth is God’s truth, there is no conflict between God's truth and other truth. In regard to integration, the integrationist approach takes it as a battle between paired opposites, seeing truth in black and white terms. But BEECH see it not as bringing together “faith and academe” as two incompatible entities (such as oil and water mixture), but rather as truth derived from the Bible and biblically grounded truth revealed in God’s creation. Hence, instead of an integrationist approach the proposition is made for an integrality approach.


BEECH expounds the need to re-purposing academe by a faithful teleology. With the establishment of the source and ownership of all things pertaining to academe, the purposes of integration involve five aspects, namely: “reclaiming”, “unhiding”, “redeeming”, “relating”, and “inspiring”. “Reclaiming” refers to a primary task of the Christian scholars to reclaim the truth for God, i.e. God is the source of all truth. “Unhiding” is the unhiding of God in Christian scholarship, especially in reference to God’s creation, his character and his purposes. “Redeeming” refers to the urgent need to redeem secularism which has denied its own religiosity, and to save biblical and Christian worldview from being kept out of public square, including education at all levels. “Relating” is the recognition of the relationships between man and woman, between humankind and the creation, including God the creator. “Inspiring” refers to the acceptance of the Holy Spirit as the revealer of all things, which inspires both teachers and students and draws them into God’s truth. In addition, we need to develop a Christian faithfulness perspective in our academic research, so that all research would become a theological pursuit with the explicit purpose of unhiding God’s truth in order to actively apply it in love to his beings and his creation.


In conclusion, BEECH proposes an integrality model. This model considers God to be the source of all truth and acknowledges this acquiesce to his purposes for unhiding his truth by reclaiming it from secularism and other religions for redemption and restoration. Teaching and research as the tools for unhiding the knowledge of God, must flow out of a biblical understanding of epistemology, andragogy, and a recognition of our students and ourselves as co-allegiants made in God's image. Our teaching and research do not, therefore, stand awkwardly and dualistically in two kingdoms but are claimed to be one King and one Kingdom. This represents integrality of thought and purpose as we faithfully seek to fulfil our God-appointed roles as academics in God's grand drama.



從「整合」到「整全」: 在澳大利亞洲處境中的


一個教學與研究的模式探究


哲夫和伊利沙伯比智夫婦(比智夫婦)在玻利維亞從事宣教士及教育家工作超過二十年。他們在基督教高等教育的工作經驗豐富。 伊利沙伯現任澳洲國家基督教教育學院教務長,哲夫亦是在澳洲國家基督教教育學院擔任客席教授。 比智夫婦合撰了不少基督教教育的文章。


比智夫婦共同探索有關如何超越信仰與學術整合的新模式,他們強調聖經中關乎「忠信」的概念。 他們所倡議的「整全模式」(integrality model) 是著重確立基督教的世界觀,重新確認神所擁有世界的主權和祂創世的計劃。 他們認為有需要重新定義聖經裏關於「忠信」和「知識」的概念。 基督教的信仰應該被視為是要揭示關乎神擁有世界主權的真理。 一個整全的教學和研究模式需要被建立,目的為要展示出神是擁有世界的主權和祂創造世界的目的。 比智夫婦亦嘗試在「信仰」和「學術」兩者之間再作重新的討論和思考。


我們必須要為「信仰」、「知識」和「整合」三者重新下定義。 對比智夫婦來說,「信仰」並不是盲目的希望、而是一種對基督耶穌為王的效忠。 作為「忠信」的基督徒學者,我們必須自省: 我們能否堅持我們對基督福音的忠誠,這就是我們的信仰。 關乎「知識」的理解,比智夫婦指出「基督教知識」並不是一種被分割出來的真理或事實。 既然所有的真理都是屬於神的真理,神的真理和其他真理之間必不會存在任何的衝突或矛盾的。 至於關乎「整全」的理解,一般的整合理念是假設了「信仰」和「學術」兩者是對立的、像黑白分明的; 但比智夫婦卻認為它們並不是對立、或有衝突矛盾的。 事實上,它們是像聖經中的真理與神創世所顯示的真理一樣,並不會是互相矛盾的。 因此,與其說我們是採用了一種「整合性的進路」 (Integrationist approach) ,倒不如說我們是採取另一種、可稱之為「整全性的進路」 (Integrality approach) 吧。


在建構一個「整全模式」的同時,比智夫婦亦倡議必須重新確立一個「忠於聖經基礎的基督教學術目的論」。 尤其是關乎一切事物和真理的來源及主權的問題,基督教學術的目的應是包括以下五點:「重新確立」、「揭示」、「贖回」、「關係連結」、和「靈感」。 「重新確立」是針對基督徒學者一個基本的任務,是要重新確立關乎神的真理,即是確認一切的真理均是屬於神的真理。 「揭示」就是在學術上展現出神的位置,要確認神的創造、祂的本性和創造世界的目的等。 「贖回」是要針對基督徒學術中一個急需面對的問題,就是要贖回世俗化世界觀所否定的宗教性,並且在公共領域中、包括不同程度的教育範疇內、重新挽回聖經及基督教世界觀的重要地位。 「關係連結」則是確認關係的存在,包括是不同性別的關係、人與整個創造的關係、更是與創造者的關係等。 「靈感」就是接受聖靈的感動(召) ,因為基督徒學者(不論是教導者、或是受教者)必須尋求聖靈的引導、幫助他們認識一切的真理(包括關乎神的真理)。 在這五點之外,比智夫婦建議我們還須在學術研究中加上一種對信仰及對基督忠誠的態度,以致我們所有的研究均會最終成為一種神學的探究、明顯地展現出神擁有世界的主權和祂的創世的目的,亦能活潑地流露出愛及神所創造的世界。


在結論中,比智夫婦倡議一個「整全的模式」(Integrality Model) 。這個模式能夠確認神是所有真理的源頭,並認同必須要贖回和保留世俗主義所否定的宗教性、重新確立神創世的目的、及揭示出關乎神的真理。 基督徒的教學和研究的目的就是要揭示關乎神的知識,它必須是以聖經的知識論、教學法為基礎,同時亦是認同我們不論是教師或學生、均是按照神的形像所造,也同為效忠於神的夥伴。 更重要的是,我們的教學和研究已不再是被分割為屬於另一個的國度,相反地,它是在同一個國度裏、宣告著神就是這個世界的主和世界的王。 「整全的模式」代表著我們是忠實地尋求完成神在創世計劃中所託付給基督徒學者的工作- 就是要整全地將基督教學術中的思想 (信仰) 和目的 (學術研究) 復合起來。

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