10 November 2005

Marshall at Redeemer


Yesterday we were privileged to have Dr. Paul Marshall deliver the second annual Bernard Zylstra Lectures here at Redeemer University College. He spoke three times. His chapel address, titled, "The Church at the Start of the Third Millennium," was a sobering survey of the state of the church around the world, focussing especially on the persecution of Christians. Yet out of this we were also heartened to hear of the growth of the church, especially in China, where it has expanded phenomenally over the past 25 years. The afternoon featured an in-house open forum in which my esteemed colleague, Al Wolters, and I were part of a panel discussion with Marshall concerning Islamic Law, on which he has just published an edited volume, Islam’s Rules: The Worldwide Spread of Extreme Shari'a Law. The evening's public lecture was titled, "Understanding Radical Islam," in which he gave the audience something of a history of Islam itself over the course of some 1,400 years.

Marshall is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom, Freedom House, in Washington, DC. From 1980 until the late 1990s, Marshall was a professor of political theory at the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, where he succeeded the late Bernard Zylstra, after whom the lecture series was named. I myself first met him a few years before that, when he was still a Ph.D. student at York University and I was just beginning masters studies at the ICS under Zylstra.

Among the many articles he has written are the following: The Islamists' other weapon and Islamic Counter-Reformation. Here is a recent interview with Marshall in FrontPage magazine on the subject of "extreme Sharia."

I think I speak for others in saying that I was impressed by the thoughtfulness of Marshall's presentations, given the potentially polarizing nature of the topics. All in all, it was a worthwhile and stimulating day.

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can be contacted at: dtkoyzis@gmail.com