Starting in the Fall 2023, the Rhetorica Christiana Forum will respectfully welcome and host academic/public figures to the Carey campus to learn from and imitate the lives and discourse of Christians who remain faithful in the public sphere.

The discipline of rhetoric historically was a foundational part of education and sought to train students for wisdom in practical living. Although the discipline became untethered to the search of truth, the great bishop of Hippo, Augustine, saw a valid need for Christians to see an inherent connection between the Christian faith and rhetorical training.

As a Christian Liberal Arts University, we continue to believe and value the role of dialogue, discourse, and debate because these tools allow us to further seek out and understand creation as well as our role within it. The Rhetorica Christiana Forum centralizes the role of discourse from a Christian perspective and thus uses rhetoric as a useful tool in the search for truth.

The true lifeblood of Rhetorica Christiana programming is a humble exploration for ways to speak and live more like Christ in a postmodern society.

Rhetorica Christiana, as a forum for Christian students, is poised to accomplish three significant outcomes: Engage, Empower, and Emulate.

Engage: The forum will provide a platform for Christian students to engage in vibrant discussions and meaningful conversations. By fostering an inclusive and supportive environment, Rhetorica Christiana will encourage active participation and exchange of ideas among its members. Through engaging discussions on various topics related to faith, theology, and Christian living, students will have the opportunity to deepen their understanding, challenge their perspectives, and grow intellectually and spiritually.

Empower: Rhetorica Christiana aims to empower Christian students by equipping them with effective communication skills and the ability to articulate their faith with clarity and confidence. Through workshops, resources, and mentorship opportunities, the program will provide students with the tools and guidance necessary to express their beliefs effectively in various contexts. By empowering them to communicate their faith persuasively and compassionately, Rhetorica Christiana will enable students to engage with others constructively, positively impacting their communities and the wider world.

Emulate: Rhetorica Christiana will highlight and celebrate the art of faithful Christian communication by showcasing exemplary communicators and speakers who embody the values of authenticity, compassion, and wisdom. By studying and learning from these role models, students will be encouraged to emulate their approach and style of communication. Through exposure to diverse Christian communicators, students can gain insights into different rhetorical strategies, storytelling techniques, and persuasive methods, enabling them to develop their own unique voices while being grounded in the rich tradition of Christian communication.

In summary, Rhetorica Christiana will engage Christian students in meaningful discussions, empower them with effective communication skills, and encourage them to emulate faithful Christian communicators. This program has the potential to significantly enhance their intellectual, spiritual, and communicative capacities, equipping them to navigate the challenges of the modern world while confidently and compassionately sharing their faith.

Rhetorica Christiana is motivated by the orthodox Christian faith. The forum likewise embraces the Baptist heritage which helps to guide other students to imitate ideal figures like the namesake of our university, William Carey. For it was through his powerful rhetoric that he appealed to the Baptist Missionary Society for aid in response to the Great Commission. Once in India, it was through discourse that he built relationships and struggled alongside those he wished to reach for the gospel. And, finally, it was through his learning of Bengali that he was able to advocate for the ending of the “Sati System,” translate the bible into multiple languages, and build one of the first higher learning institutions on the continent of Asia.

In addition to the Christian faith, Rhetorica Christiana desires to enculturate Christian values throughout all the academic disciplines. This requires a coherent understanding and rhetorical articulation which only comes from the humble process of academic rigor, effective listening, and dialogue. The tenacity of any presentation, however, must always be weighed by scripture which alone is God-breathed and authoritative. This process challenges students in critical thinking and Christian reflection.

Rhetorica Christiana” means Christian rhetoric in Latin. These words to many modern believers seem to be contradictory. However, no one will argue that discourse is not needed when synthesizing worldviews or in the production of culture. Rather, the use rhetoric at the core of these processes is inevitable. Therefore, this “forum” or public square is to be a unique place for students and faculty to hear the faith articulated in various ways to spur our community on to virtuous living in our own community.