Fredrickson Lecture Series

October 11, 2002
University of Sioux Falls

Dallas had the honor of being the featured speaker at the Fredrickson Lecture Series at the University of Sioux Falls in October 2002. Dallas gave three talks, which dealt with the disappearance of moral knowledge, the renewing of the Christian mind, as well as the brilliance of Jesus. Dallas knew Ruth and Roger Fredrickson through their involvement with Renovare. “I'm thankful also for Ruth and for Roger, and what they stand for, and actually I think I want to start out just by saying that you see in them a beautiful illustration of what it is to know what good and evil are, and to be on the side of good, and to be able to stand through the years and just let that move forth from them.”

Resources

1: The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge in the Modern University – And What We Can Do About It

Dallas explores the decline of moral knowledge. He argues that while moral knowledge has not ceased to exist, it has become largely inaccessible to the public. Dallas critiques contemporary ethical theories and the secular definition of knowledge that excludes God and morality, leading to a disconnection from practical moral life. He calls on Christian institutions to take a proactive stance in rehabilitating theology and morality as fields of knowledge, emphasizing the need for practical wisdom and the integration of divine understanding with human endeavors.

2: Renewing the Mind Through Intellect and Worship

Dallas explores the transformative power of renewing the mind through intellect and worship, emphasizing believers' identity as eternal spiritual beings and the importance of discipleship in character formation. He highlights the profound impact of understanding and living out the teachings of Christ in everyday life.

3: Jesus: The Master of Art and Intellect

Dallas delves into the profound intelligence and wisdom of Jesus, exploring his unparalleled mastery over all fields of knowledge. He challenges the academic world's naturalistic assumptions and calls for a reintegration of the knowledge of Christ within scholarly pursuits.

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The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge in the Modern University – And What We Can Do About It

Highlights:

  • Disappearance of Moral Knowledge: Dallas argues that while moral knowledge hasn't ceased to exist, it has become inaccessible to the public, necessitating a revival in educational and cultural discourse.
  • Knowledge and Truth: He defines knowledge as the ability to represent things as they are on an appropriate basis of thought and experience, stressing the importance of truth in aligning with reality.
  • Historical Context of Moral Knowledge: Dallas provides a historical analysis, noting the decline of moral knowledge in universities and its replacement with secular naturalism, which excludes God and morality.
  • Critique of Modern Ethical Theories: He critiques contemporary ethical theories for their disconnect from practical moral life, attributing this to a misguided definition of knowledge that excludes moral and theological dimensions.
  • Morally Good Person Defined: A morally good person is a person who is intent upon advancing the various goods of human life with which they are effectively in contact, in a manner that respects their relative degree of importance, and the extent to which the actions of that person can actually promote the existence and maintenance of those goods. Dallas adds “The good person is not necessarily someone who sits around dreaming about how to reform the world.” 
  • Call to Christian Institutions: He calls on Christian institutions to rehabilitate theology and morality as fields of knowledge, advocating for a proactive stance in integrating knowledge of God with other fields of study.

Renewing the Mind Through Intellect and Worship

Highlights:

  • Understanding the Book of Acts: Dallas emphasizes the profound transformation that occurred in the Book of Acts, highlighting the disciples' initial confusion and the stunning events of Pentecost that fulfilled the Abrahamic covenant.
  • Abrahamic Covenant and Pentecost: He explains that the events of Pentecost marked the continuation of God's objective from the Abrahamic covenant, as Paul preached and established Christian communities across regions.
  • Living Sacrifice and Transformation: Dallas discusses Romans 12:1, urging believers to present their bodies as living sacrifices to God, which leads to the transformation and renewal of the mind, enabling them to discern God's will.
  • Role of the Body in Spiritual Life: Contrasting worldly obsessions with the body, Dallas argues that true spiritual service involves offering the body to God, leading to a renewed mind and spiritual transformation.
  • Identity as Eternal Spiritual Beings: Emphasizing believers' identity, Dallas teaches that Christians are unceasing spiritual beings with eternal destinies in God's great universe.
  • Nature of Death and Eternal Life: He challenges common Christian perceptions of death, stressing that believers possess eternal life through Christ and should not fear death, as it is merely a transition.
  • The Human Soul and Spiritual Growth: Describing the soul as the deepest part of the self, Dallas explains that spiritual growth involves aligning the will, thoughts, and feelings with God's will through the transformation of the mind.
  • Discipleship and Character Formation: He underscores that true discipleship leads to character transformation, enabling believers to naturally embody Christ's teachings, such as loving enemies and blessing those who curse them.

Jesus: The Master of Art and Intellect

Highlights:

  • Jesus, the Master of Arts and Intellect: Dallas introduces Jesus as the smartest person who ever lived, emphasizing his unparalleled intelligence and wisdom.
  • Role of Universities: He discusses the historical connection between faith in Jesus Christ and the establishment of universities, highlighting how universities originally sought to provide knowledge on complex subjects based on Christian faith.
  • Three Worldview Stories: Dallas identifies three prevailing worldviews: materialism, Nirvana (New Age), and theism, explaining how each view shapes academic and cultural perspectives.
  • Shift in Academic Focus: He describes the transition of universities away from their theistic foundations towards a naturalistic approach, highlighting this shift as a decision rather than a discovery.
  • Jesus and Miracles: Dallas elaborates on Jesus' miracles, such as walking on water and feeding the multitudes, as demonstrations of his mastery over natural laws, which are often dismissed in academic settings.
  • The Four Great Questions: He outlines four essential questions: What is reality? Who is well off? Who is a good person? How do you become a good person? He emphasizes Jesus' unique and profound answers to these questions.
  • Importance of Trusting Jesus: Dallas stresses the significance of trusting Jesus in every aspect of life, particularly in the academic world, to fully appreciate his intellectual and artistic mastery.
  • Encouragement for Academic Faith: He encourages academics to integrate their faith in Jesus with their professional pursuits, asserting that all arts, sciences, and technologies are at Jesus' disposal and should reflect his wisdom and knowledge.