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Undergraduate Assembly Gets a Reboot

By Amanda Morad | October 2, 2013

Dr. Corné Bekker

Regent University's College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) gathers students together once every month to hear from local and national speakers on various topics from academics and leadership, to work and relationships. On Monday, Sept. 30, the 2013-2014 season of assemblies kicked off with a reboot of the event format.

In addition to having an in-house speaker address matters relevant to Regent's undergraduate student population, this year's assemblies will feature a new original mini-series, Vice Meets Virtue. Executive produced by Writing Center director, Donnie Staggs, and directed by Timothy Kay, the series follows Billy and Christina Grey, a young married couple whose relationship is on the rocks after a mysterious tragedy.

Watch the trailer.

With a new episode premiering at each monthly assembly, students will have the opportunity to grapple with vices and virtues in a true-to-life context that is both interactive and relevant.

"This method is very innovative, distinct and focuses on holistic moral formation," said CAS dean, Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, who commissioned the new approach. "It meets students where we all are in our culture. The key focus is on virtuous moral reasoning, portraying virtue as the antidote to vice from a Biblical perspective." After the series premiere, CAS professor Dr. Corné Bekker took the stage to discuss the nature of vices and how to combat them with virtues laid out in Scripture.

"Virtue can be described as moral excellence," he explained. "Vices are the opposite ... a moral depravity, defect or shortcoming. These constructs are pivotal in our understanding of what it means to be Christian."

Quoting 12th-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer in his most famous work, The Canterbury Tales, Bekker explained that the only way to fight vices is by the development of virtues. These virtues are classically laid out in literature as temperance, prudence, courage and justice, in addition to the Bible's faith, hope and love.

"While the encounter with vices may be inevitable, we do not have to confront them unarmed," Bekker encouraged. "The virtues are armor for us."

He referenced Colossians 3 as having three key steps in developing virtue to overcome human vice. First, verse 2: "Set your mind on things above." "If we are truly going to be virtuous people we have to take a moment to stop and think," he said. "Our first defense against the vices is to pause."

Second, verse 5: "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature." "We have to enter battle with our vices," Bekker explained. "The same spirit that empowered Jesus to do great works drew him into the wilderness to do battle. He could not step forward in ministry until those doubts were dealt with."

He also quoted Oscar Wilde, admitting that "the easiest way to deal with temptation is to give in." But there's a better way, Bekker suggested. "The way we train our bodies to be virtuous is to say no," he said.

Lastly, verse 14 instructs believers to "put on love." "We have to learn to imitate Christ," Bekker said.

"If you want to find your life, what do you have to do? You have to lose it," he continued. "When we look at Billy and Christina, who is their greatest enemy? It's easy to say Satan, but really, it's themselves."

After watching the series premiere and again after Bekker's talk, students were given the opportunity to vote via text about whether the main characters of the Vice Meets Virtue series were doomed for divorce. The results gave an interesting look into what a little perspective can do in a situation.

"We have an opportunity to deeply think about these things and develop the virtues we need to combat the vices we encounter for the rest of our lives," Bekker concluded.

Learn more about the College of Arts & Sciences.


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