Posted by: gcarkner | July 25, 2019

Welcome to Graduate Christian Union

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Time Well Spent

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Graduate Christian Union welcomes you to UBC

Inspired by your curiosity

Faculty Mentor Support

Cool Lectures, Debates and Forums

Promoting Christian Scholarship Excellence

Apologetics and the Tough Questions

Bible Study on Romans: “The Journey Home” (Oxford Tutorial Style)

Prayer Support and Spiritual Direction (Ute @ GCU Prayer)

Thought Provoking Articles

Multiple Resources

Bibliography on Meaning, Identity, Purpose, Wholeness, and More…

Let’s have coffee!

Dr. Gordon E. Carkner and Associates

We Add Value to Your Educational Experience

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Reading the great books; exploring the deeper questions of life

RSVP      t. 604.222.34549

Fall Hike in Local Mountains: September 28

First GFCF Lecture: September 26, 2019 Craig Gay, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Regent College. Modern Technology and the Diminishment of the Human, 4:00 pm, Woodward, Room 3


Nothing worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous,  can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.

~ Reinhold Niebuhr



We highly recommend this service for posters, banners, printing your thesis, etc.


Why is GCU Studying Romans this Academic Year?

Romans is the uncontested most important letter of Paul the Apostle to the early church. It has impacted many great thinkers over the centuries:  for example, Augustine of Hippo in North Africa, Martin Luther of Wittenberg Germany, John Wesley of England, and Swiss theologian Karl Barth, to name a few. As N.T. Wright says, it is a peak of philosophical thought/theology, a majestic articulation of the central focus of God’s plan for humanity. Both dense and rich, it draws on the history of Israel with extensive  reference to ancient Hebrew text, following a strong trajectory of hope. Touching on Adam (Genesis 1-3) and Abraham (Genesis 15), the Exodus, Deuteronomy 32, Psalms 2, 8, 44, 110 and Isaiah 40-55, Paul draws together various themes to show how unique Jesus of Nazareth really is. He is the long awaited Messiah for Israel and for the whole world, through whom God has revealed himself, his purposes and  intentions. He is the one through whom all believers discover true identity. Jesus is the focal point, central to understanding the depth and breadth of God’s love and grace, God’s purposes, God’s justice, God’s people, God’s future.

In our pluralistic age, sometimes we feel disoriented, lonely and depressed amidst a myriad of choices. We feel the angstof intellectual, spiritual, and existential homelessness. We are in search of a vision for life. Romans offers a profound discourse, a moral footing, that can empower our lives, fill us with identity, hope and purpose. Playing the infinite game, it points us in the direction of home and meaning, grounds and centres us, raises the deeper questions of the human condition, and reveals a solid way forward for contemporary culture, offering prospects for healing our broken world. Woven throughout is a robust worldview or social imaginary, one that can move and reshape our imagination. One might call it a masterpiece or great symphony, one that has inspired much human creativity over the centuries.

Join us on Thursday evenings on campus to fathom the insights of this great book.

Contact:   t. 604.349.9497


What Can I Hope to Get Out of this Grad Community Group?

  • friendship, collegiality, dialectical thinking skills, interdisciplinary intellectual stimulation, potential collaboration
  • prayer support and a growing sense of community among graduate students
  • get to know the gospel at a deeper level–see how radical it is actually in terms of its implication for life and culture
  • get to know the God of the Bible better (as opposed to a lesser god, an idol or some kind of syncretism or gnosticism)
  • critical skills in analyzing culture
  • get to know yourself better: your humanity, your calling, your identity, the meaning of your life, your fullest vocation
  • experience the existential momentum of Paul’s argument for Jesus as Israel’s long promised Messiah–but for the whole world
  • a strong sense of how God can help you flourish as a whole person, and how you can experience personal transformation
  • the eschatological thrust of the Bible: future hope brought alive in the present–the glory of God to fill the whole earth
  • learn how justice and mercy embrace within the covenant: righteousness as right standing within the covenant
  • learn how Paul’s doctrine of justification works hand in hand with his idea of transformation by the Spirit


Suggested Reading

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Paraphrased from the Book p. 70  Worldview is storied vision of life. It gets at the implicit depth of orientation that gives meaning and directs our lives. Our communal orientation involves habitual ways of experiencing the world: these habitual ways are constitutive of all human life and shape our understanding of what the world is, and how we should comport ourselves in it. As an imaginative construal of reality, a worldview tells us what is of ultimate significance at the heart of human life. This is true especially in terms of a grounding  and directing narrative or  myth that is encoded in symbols and rituals and embodied in a way of life. In the book of Romans, we see a clash of worldview, a conflict of gospels at the heart of the discourse. Biblical faith has always been shaped in the shadow of empire, and Paul is fully conscious that he is writing a subversive letter to young believers, to help them grow into their new identity in Christ.

Key worldview questions

Where are we?

Who are we?

What’s wrong?

What’s the remedy?

What time is it?

A Word to the Wise from UBC Professors

The twenty-first century university campus can be a scary place if you don’t know anyone well enough to be able to ask for help. Many of us recall that we learned more from our fellow students, both as undergraduates and as graduates, than from our professors because we knew our friends, trusted them and were open enough to ask them questions when we felt intimidated by professors. Never be afraid to ask questions. There really is no such thing as a stupid question when you are seeking answers seriously and with integrity. Make sure that you have at least one  friend who will listen to your questions, no matter what. Ultimately, this is what prayer is all about: asking someone who can be totally trusted your most troublesome questions.

~Dr. Olav Slaymaker, Professor Emeritus,  Physical Geography

Long hours in the laboratory, thesis proposals, the weight of comprehensive exams means that a grad student needs a support infrastructure. I can’t speak highly enough about getting involved with a group on campus like GCU, and also finding a good church home base. Also as you are walking into your office or biking into campus, try praying for your profs, fellow students, or admin staff; this can help stimulate surprisingly fruitful conversations. And don’t forget that you are here to serve undergrads with grace. Feel free to track me down for coffee; I love ideas exchange.

~Dr. Craig Mitton, Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health

As a graduate student several decades ago I found the Grad Christian Union community at my university uplifting spiritually and socially. In an often chilly secular environment, it was a great venue to meet other grads outside my own field and cultural background and develop friendships and join in events with those who shared the same core values. I am still in contact with several of these friends 30 years later. With some other faculty and graduate students, I helped to launch the Graduate & Faculty Christian Forum a number of years ago. Gord has been a solid advisor to this group as well 

~Dr. David Ley, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography

There is no more important bellwether for our society and our culture than the university — and yet Christians within academia often travel incognito, which isn’t good for them, isn’t good for the university, and isn’t good for other Christians, who often feel alone when really they’re not. A ministry to grad students and thus provides a vital venue where Christians can connect, show their colours, and stimulate each other to play the full role they’re called to play as fully alive and “out” followers of Christ. Decide to be a public Christian at UBC.

~Dr. Dennis Danielson, Professor Emeritus, English

Graduate research is often like looking for a lightswitch in a totally dark room. It can be frustrating at times. It certainly was for me! It was invaluable for me to have close connection with other Christians whom I could share that load with, and who were praying for me.

~Dr. Bé Wassink. Instructor, Materials Engineering


Academic Virtues Worth Preserving
  • Integrity of scholarship, protection against the evil of cheating and plagiarism, preserving the value of a liberal education
  • introduce students to bodies of knowledge and traditions of inquiry
  • equip students with analytical skills that will enable them to move confidently within those traditions and to engage in independent research
  • be current in the literature of the field, teach well and be available for consultation with students
  • in publishing, one should acknowledge predecessors and contributors, provide citations to the sources and give accurate account of the material presented, show methodology and evidence
  • thoroughness, perseverance, intellectual honesty, conscientious in the pursuit of truth
  • avoid politicizing the classroom
  • interrogation of ideas and events: history, why are they thought significant, prevailing answers for questions it raises, where do the answers come from
  • pursuit of truth wherever it may be found and wherever it may lead, combined with wisdom on how to use it
  • believing in Christ as Veritas, the incarnation of God’s wisdom brings us to the assumption that all truths ultimately cohere, and can therefore be explored critically, without limit or fear
  • confidence to investigate different narratives and worldview paradigms
  • love is the foundational fact of existence and essential to the pursuit of truth: belief in the hermeneutic of love and the importance of transcendence to intellectual creativity
  • love, as a core virtue of virtues, must be central to academic work
  • honesty and transparency in claims and reporting
  • critical rigour–all people are finite and fallible
  • open to correction of error–use the stress test of criticism
  • intellectual fearlessness: willingness to drill down into an issue in the pursuit of truth, even when it is unpopular or risky
  • truth discovered should be applied to the common good of society: application of innovation and insight should take the moral high ground
  • humility to learn from others, and often especially those who disagree with you most sharply; commitment to collegiality
  • promotion within academia and beyond by merit and equality of opportunity for men and women of various backgrounds

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