Sparks – of imagination, possibility and brilliance — can fly when you put a group of astute, purpose-driven faculty in a room together for a day-long retreat. Such was the case on Friday, August 23, as Regent University faculty gathered at a biannual faculty retreat. It was a day of focusing both on academic excellence and student enrichment. The question at hand: How will Regent continue to prepare students to excel personally, flourish morally, and lead professionally?
Setting the agenda during his opening remarks, Gerson Moreno-Riaño, Ph.D., executive vice president for academic affairs, challenged hundreds of full- and part-time faculty in attendance: “We’re going to spend today thinking deeply about Regent’s mission, and deeply about how is it that we make God known, His works known, and make the world a better place.”
With both gratitude and gravity, he emphasized that the DNA of Regent is to make God known. It was a reminder that underlined the humble occasion for which the faculty members gathered.
Best-selling author and renowned astrophysicist Hugh Ross, Ph.D., reiterated Regent’s vision in his keynote address. Ross, who travels the world speaking on the compatibility of advancing scientific discovery with Christian truths, gave a call to Regent to “serve modestly,“ fusing faith and reason in such a way that students are encouraged to do the same.
“Our goal is to raise up scholar evangelists,” he said. By this, he meant graduates who are intellectually hungry and curious while equally committed to biblical truth and a lifestyle that illuminates the power of the gospel.
Ross plainly urged that Regent faculty must strive to raise scholars who can present a defense of their faith.
“People need the opportunity to discuss and debate these pieces of evidence which is the basis for the theme verse today, 1 Peter 3:15 – ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, but do this with gentleness and respect.’”
In Ross’s experience, as followers of Jesus Christ prepare good reasons, and deliver those good reasons with gentleness and respect, they will see God supernaturally bring people to explore and experience those truths for themselves.
Poignantly, he reminded listeners that no evangelism could leave a lasting impression on an unbeliever if not done in love, kindness, and patience: “We need to express our love and compassion for people and offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
Taking the stage next, Regent founder, chancellor and CEO Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson affirmed Ross and his charge to faculty. “It’s the school’s mission that the students would learn from brilliant scientists like Dr. Hugh Ross about the origins of our world,” he said.
With earnestness, he added: “Today’s generation needs to understand their faith and share it boldly. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to teach students to learn the love of Christ – how wide and how long and how deep – is the love of Christ.”
And so Regent University’s 2019-20 academic year begins with renewed purpose and greater focus on reason and faith, together.
Regent’s faculty is comprised of nearly 1,000 full- and part-time professors, many of whom have earned their degrees at prestigious universities such as Harvard, Georgetown, Duke, University of Virginia, and others. Students may choose from 135+ areas of study, available both online and on campus. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but maintaining a global presence as a premier Christian university, Regent is listed among top national universities by U.S. News & World Report.