News - Disagreement Tempered With Love, Humility, and Courage: Wayman Presents to Diverse Scholars

Disagreement Tempered With Love, Humility, and Courage: Wayman Presents to Diverse Scholars

By Carla Morris


We can’t avoid being jostled by others and jostling others, claimed British historian Thomas Carlyle; no one escapes “giving and receiving offense.”

But if Carlyle attended a recent gathering of the St. Louis Regional Discussion Fellowship (RDF), he might see that hearts and minds set on productive conversation can go far to minimize offense.  

Greenville University Professor of Theology Ben Wayman facilitated a conversation about
divine action with fellow scholars February 8 at Fontbonne University. The group gathered for its quarterly discussion of “pressing issues at the intersection of the doctrine of creation and modern science.”

Wayman, representing one of the 11 participating universities, describes the fellowship as “ecumenical, interdisciplinary, and committed to moving beyond conflict toward constructive engagement.”

Showing Others How to DisagreeBen Wayman WEB

“One of the most important aspects of Christian witness is to show the world how we engage disagreement with love, humility, and courage,” he says. “Groups like this, in any venue, provide practice in discipleship and hopefully, model unity and friendship rather than division and opposition.”

He explains that while Christian unity does not require agreement, it does depend on commitment to God and one another. 

Wayman, the James F. and Leona N. Andrews Chair in Christian Unity at Greenville University, presented on a chapter from David Fergusson's The Providence of God: A Polyphonic Approach (Cambridge University Press, reprint edition, 2019).

Breadth of Disciplines, Valuable Contributions

RDF is made possible by funding from the John Templeton Foundation. 2020 marks the first year of a three-year fellowship supporting the dialogue. Nine of this year’s fellows represent the humanities; six represent the sciences.

“I was impressed by the breadth of disciplines represented, as well as the variety in faith traditions,” said Wayman. “Our time together was just as much a time of sharing from different perspectives as it was a time of appreciating the contributions each person made to the conversation.”

Respectful Conversation Supports GU’s Strategic Plan

Wayman’s participation in the RDF supports GU’s strategy for improving community engagement by strengthening abilities to think and converse respectfully with each other about complex issues, purposeful work, and growing faith. He is also co-founder of GU’s Justice Ministry program, where students learn how to faithfully engage culture as a necessary part of the church's proclamatory action.

Learn More

Learning Compassion From the Early Church: New Article By GU’s Wayman
GU’s Science Through the Eyes of Faith Conference Tackles Evolution, Aliens, and More
Forensics Conference Mixes Science With Compassion Addressing Sexual Assault
When Conversation Fuels a Movement
Building Bridges Series: Conversations on Christian Unity

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This story was published on March 12, 2020

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