Teaching Christian Theology in the University

I am going to have to chew on this one a bit more, but I think I like it. Adam Kotsko at Kalamazoo College proposes the teaching of Christianity from a theological perspective as opposed to a historical or sociological perspective. You should definitely read the entire article, but here is a snippet:

…This brings me to my next point: I think we need to trust our students’ instincts. If I give them a sympathetic description of the worldview underlying Augustine’s Confessions, or an account of the core convictions that motivated the development of the Trinity, or a particular reading of Paul’s understanding of his mission, are my students then going to become fundamentalists? Are they even going to be more inclined to practice Christianity than they otherwise would be? I would be surprised and even alarmed if someone came out of my classes — which have so far tended to be very “theological” in the sense of being idea-oriented — excited to join up with some institutional form of Christianity, particularly the most destructive forms that are always at the forefront of everyone’s mind when the influence of Christianity comes up. Here again, though, we need to trust students’ discernment. How many of my students are likely to find Pat Robertson, for example, to be a compelling and persuasive spokesman for anything? I would estimate that the answer is zero, and if it’s higher, it’s because those students were already so inclined before they came to my class. We instructors don’t have to make any special effort to keep students from being led astray into the most intolerant and narrow-minded forms of Christianity — the fundamentalists are surely doing a good enough job of it themselves.