Religion Professor Publishes Third Book

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dr. Craig A. Smith, professor of Biblical studies and chair of the religion and philosophy department at Sterling College, has published his third book titled, At the Cross, At the Crossroads: Loving our Enemies in the 21st Century.
“Basically it’s trying to take a holistic approach of loving our enemies,” Smith said, “looking at it in terms of getting a biblical, historical, theological and psychological perspective on it. The goal is to try to see how we’ve looked at our enemies in the past and see where we can make some [improvements].”
Smith uses the text from Matthew 5:43-48 where Jesus commands us to “Love our enemies and pray for those that persecute you” and juxtaposes it with the world’s current political and ethical issues.
Soon after 9-11, Smith was approached by the Avnvil Journal, of which he is a member, and asked for a new book topic. With the issue of loving our enemies being so pertinent today, Smith jumped at the opportunity to write the book and address issues such as how the church should relate to Muslims.
The book is a combined effort of several writers including Sterling’s pro-rata professor, Tom Bronleewe, who wrote a chapter titled, “Loving Our Enemies: Two Military Perspectives.” Smith wrote four of the articles in the book, but was ultimately responsible for the editing of the contributing authors work. Smith purposely let his fellow writers keep their unique thoughts to bring out different positions and explore more than one point of view.
“I think it’s an important topic,” Smith said. “At the end of the day, what I wrote for my dissertation probably isn’t going to change anyone’s life, but this one has immediate implications on our living…I’m not sure we like things that confront us at our core. We need to wake up.”
Smith was also a finalist for the Regional Scholar’s Award presented by the Society of Biblical Literature. His paper was titled “The Development of Style (from the fifth century BC to the second century AD) and the Consequences of Understanding the Style of the New Testament.” In this article he traced through extant rhetorical handbooks to show how writing style has developed. In contrast to many scholars, he was able to show that many part of the New Testament employ a sophisticated style in order to make its message more persuasive and dynamic for the reader.