Attending to the Ecology of the Pond

Items in bold are recommended as a “short list” of readings.

I. Biblical-theological foundations

a. Colossians 1:15-20; 2:1-15

b. The Biblical doctrine of Creation: Colin Gunton, The Triune Creator (Eerdmans, 1998).

c. Jeremy Begbie, Resounding Truth (Baker, 2007).

d. Alvin Plantinga, “Twin Pillars of Christian Scholarship” (published in Seeking Understanding: The Stob Lectures, 1986-1998) and “Advice to Christian Philosophers” (available as a PDF from Calvin College or HTML from

e. Augustine, City of God (available online from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library)


II. What is a university?: “The Philosophy of the University”

a. Published works:

i. John Henry Newman, The Idea of the University (University of Notre Dame Press, 1982; original edition: Longmans, Green, 1873). Available online from the Newman Reader.

ii. Jaroslav Pelikan, The Idea of the University: A Reexamination (Yale University Press, 1992).

iii. John Sommerville, The Decline of the Secular University (Oxford University Press, 2006).

b. Periodicals:

i. The Chronicle of Higher Education: The “trade journal” of university faculty. Subscription required for full access.

ii. Inside Higher Ed: Website of The American Council of Higher Education. No subscription required.


III. Historical Studies

a. John R. Thelin, A History of American Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).

b. George M. Marsden, The Soul of the American University (Oxford University Press, 1996).

c. James T. Burtchaell, The Dying of the Light: the Disengagement of Colleges and Universities from their Christian Churches (Eerdmans, 1998).

d. Douglas Sloan, Faith and Knowledge: Mainline Protestantism and American Higher Education (Westminster John Knox Press, 1994).

e. Gladys and Keith Hunt, For Christ and the University: The Story of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the U.S.A./1940-1990 (IVP, 1991).

f. Margaret and Nicholas H. Steneck, The Making of the University of Michigan 1817-1992 (UM Press, 1994).


IV. Sociological Studies

a. Neil Gross and Solon Simmons, “How Religious Are American College and University Professors.” Available online as a PDF.

b. Gross and Simmons, “The Social and Political Views of American Professors.” Available online as a PDF.

c. Gary A. Tobin and Aryeh K. Weinberg, “Profiles of the American University, Volume II: Religious beliefs and behavior.” Available online as a PDF.

d. Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Life of American Teenagers (Oxford University Press, 2005).

e. Or consider several works of fiction which characterize, often bitingly, the life of the university:

i.David Lodge, Changing Places (Penguin, 1979, and numerous satirical and comical novels set in universities).

ii.Jane Smiley, Moo.

iii.Dorothy Sayers, Gaudy Night.


V. Academic Life as a Christian Vocation

a. Mark Schwehn, Exiles from Eden: Religion and the Academic Vocation in America (Oxford University Press, 1993).

b. George M. Marsden, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship (Oxford University Press, 1998).

c. Charles Habib Malik, A Christian Critique of the University (IVP, 1982).

d. Mark Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Eerdmans 1995).

e. Faithful Learning and Christian Scholarly Vocation, ed. Douglas V. Henry and Bob R. Agee (Eerdmans, 2003).

f. The Two Tasks of the Christian Scholar: Redeeming the Soul and Redeeming the Mind, ed. William Lane Craig and Paul M. Gould (Crossway, 2007).


VI. Cultural Studies

a. H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture (Harper Perennial, 2001; original edition 1951).

b. T. M. Moore, Culture Matters: A Call for Consensus on Christian Cultural Engagement (Baker, 2007).

c. Timothy Keller, “Living Long-term as families in the city” (unpublished mss. available from

d. Consider two periodicals:

i. First Things. Subscription required for full access, but a free daily article and interesting blog).

ii. Books and Culture. Subscription, but all articles posted on the web site for free access between publications of the journal. Substantial discounts are in place and/or in progress for this and other publications here.


VII. Spirituality, the Life of the Mind, and Academic Vocation

a. John R. W. Stott, Your Mind Matters (IVP, 1973).

b. Dallas Willard and J. P. Moreland, Love God With All Your Mind (NavPress, 1997).

c. Paul J. Griffiths, “Reading as a Spiritual Discipline,” in The Scope of our Art: The Vocation of the Theological Teacher, ed. L. Gregory Jones and Stephanie Paulsell (Eerdmans, 2002).

d. Griffiths, Religious Reading: The Place of Reading in the Practice of Religion (Oxford University Press, 1999).


VIII. Missiology and the University

a. Warner Hutchinson, “Christianity and the university,” HIS (1965).

b. John R. W. Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World (IVP, 1975).

c. Paul M. Anderson, Professors Who Believe (IVP, 1998).

d. Kelly J. Clark, Philosophers Who Believe (IVP, 1997).

e. Kelly Monroe, Finding God at Harvard (Zondervan, 1997).

f. Kelly Monre-Kullberg, Finding God beyond Harvard (IVP, 2006).


Tom Trevethan was one of InterVarsity’s most gifted Bible expositors and he authored the books The Beauty of God’s Holiness (InterVarsity Press) and Our Joyful Confidence: The Lordship of Jesus in Colossians (DILL Press). Tom earned an MA from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and served as a Campus Staff Minister at the University of Michigan for many years serving both students and faculty throughout his career. Tom most recently served on the InterVarsity Faculty Ministry Leadership Team as an Associate Director for Research and Publications, writing many resources for faculty and grad students and contributing to the Lamp Post faculty newsletters for several years (now Campus Calling). Tom retired in 2014 after 47 years of service with InterVarsity. He lived in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife Barbara, where they enjoyed many years of singing with their church and with the local Choral Union which won two Grammy Awards in 2005. Our hearts go out to Barb and their family upon learning of Tom's passing in October 2023. His voice, in both writing as well as singing, will be greatly missed.

In the GFM Resources, Tom's Bible study on Psalm 90 remains a wonderful resource for both students and staff. Tom's writings on the InterVarsity blog in 2014 include, On the Dangers of "Using" Scripture, part 1 and part 2. His research and thoughts on the InterVarsity Doctrinal Basis might have been shared with you during your Orientation to New Staff years ago. You can access the seven part series, Studying InterVarsity's Doctrinal Basis here. Tom worked with Nan Thomas on the Faculty Ministry booklet, Taking Time Apart.

We value the contribution of writers who are not employed by InterVarsity, some of whom may not necessarily agree with all aspects of InterVarsity's ministry, doctrine, or policies. These writings are the words of the writers and may or may not represent InterVarsity. The same is true of any comments which may be posted about any entries. Submitted comments may or may not be posted at the writer or the editor's discretion.