Vishal Mangalwadi and his wife, Ruth, are moving to Cambridge, England, where Mangalwadi will assume the John Harvard Lectureship in Christian Heritage, a post established by the Christian Heritage organization for the purpose of presenting the case that the modern world was "created by the West’s discovery of the Bible.”
Born and raised in India, Dr. Mangalwadi is intimately familiar with Hinduism, Buddhism, and the full array of worldviews shaping both Eastern and Western cultures. Christianity Today called him "India's foremost Christian intellectual." His thesis, that the Bible created the political liberties and modern science of the West, is presented in The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization.
Within the university community of Cambridge, Mangalwadi’s thesis will be put to the test. Literally! Beginning this Fall Semester, Dr. Mangalwadi plans to present lectures every Sunday evening that the University of Cambridge is in session. The lectures will be peer-reviewed before delivery, then filmed and uploaded to the Internet. A small group of international scholars will be invited to critically study Mangalwadi’s thesis for 12-18 months. Journeys will be made with cameras to Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Europe and America to investigate Mangalwadi’s thesis, as experts and critics discuss his thesis, along with their own research.
"The mission's objective," relates Mangalwadi, "is to move beyond giving a lecture and catching the flight to the next hall filled with admiring Christian audience[s]. The goal is to do what Paul did: stay in a city, preach the Good News, challenge its idols, reason with its philosophers, court the trouble of inviting skeptical and hostile aucience[s] to listen to all sides, ask difficult questions, look at the evidence, reject falsehood, and choose truth."
Mangalwadi is on a mission to re-awaken the West to its biblically-shaped soul before it is completely lost. He sees this issue from the perspective of an Easterner, whose personal engagement with oppression and corruption in India landed him in jail.
Mangalwadi’s commitment to scholarly credibility is indicative of the current trend of evangelicals toward involvement in mainstream academia. This is what Michael Lindsay found in his journey of discovery doing research for his Ph. D. in sociology at Princeton, documented by his Pulitzer-nominated book, Faith in the Halls of Power.
More about Lindsay's book next week.