As an undergraduate student, Bryan Baise was filled with many unanswered questions about Christianity until a friend suggested he read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. His belief in the Bible had been challenged by liberal college professors and he needed a voice of wisdom to bolster his confidence in the truth.
“I knew this [Christianity] was real, I knew this was true, but I didn’t know why and I wasn’t comfortable saying that, just leaving it there,” he said.
He questioned his faith until he read Lewis’ classic for the first time, when he said that his faith came alive and made sense.
The Boyce College philosophy and apologetics professor grew up in a conservative Christian home with a father who served their church as an elder. Baise was baptized as a young child, but had no true repentance or faith in Christ. During his teenage years, he said there was little evidence of conversion. He knew he was not saved. During a weekend retreat with his church, he “felt the weight” of his sin and repented and trusted in Christ. The weight was lifted, and Baise said his world looked fresh and he felt less of a burden.
While in college at Western Kentucky University, he spent a summer in Daytona, Florida, with Campus Crusade, where he met his wife Danielle. He later transferred to the University of Kentucky – where she was a student – to finish his degree and get married. His time at UK helped to “crystallize” his love for both philosophy and the gospel. He was one of the only theists in many of his classes, which helped him dig deeper into Scripture and learn how it fills the gaps in
“The further I dug, the deeper the bedrock of my faith felt. I felt more confident to see the moral bankruptcy of ideas,” he said. “Studying philosophy actually ended up being just a study of further confirming what I already knew to be true but didn’t know how to explain it.”
Several years after he graduated, he and his family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, to pursue an M.Div. from Southern Seminary. Since their move, Baise and his wife have had three children: Madelyn, Collin, and Olivia. His initial goal after graduation, he said, was to work with a church plant in New York City. But when he was halfway finished with his M.Div., he started meeting with Ted Cabal, Christian apologetics and philosophy professor at Southern. Cabal, also the general editor for the Apologetics Study Bible, mentored Baise during his seminary years. In God’s providence, he gave Baise the opportunity to teach.
“I look back and I’m not here today without him,” Baise said.
Baise later became Cabal’s Garrett Fellow, which led to Baise teaching several classes during the semester. The response to his teaching and his own enjoyment of the experience confirmed his desire to teach. But in January 2012, his plans changed. Before Baise was scheduled to travel to Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., for a possible internship, former Boyce College apologetics professor Travis Kerns offered Baise an adjunct professorship. Baise accepted, canceled his trip, and joined the Boyce College faculty that spring.
Now, as the director of the worldview and apologetics degree at Boyce College, Baise says he hopes his teaching reflects Augustine’s idea of loving God and loving neighbor. Baise teaches philosophy courses that range from aesthetics to the problem of evil, epistemology, and metaphysics. Through every course he wants to train students to study doctrines they may not agree with in order to love their neighbor well. The study of secular ideas, he said, makes Christians better ambassadors of the gospel. When students study Plato or David Hume, when they study the ideas that “swirl around in our culture” and are contrary to Scripture, it teaches students to love their neighbors as themselves,
“If I could hang a banner over everything I do, it’s this Latin phrase, ‘Pondus meum amor meus,’ or ‘my weight is my love.’ The weight of who I am, the weight of what I do, the weight of what I write, the weight of the way I teach is love.”