Our vision is to see students built into communities of disciples, transformed by the gospel and impacting the university, the church and society for the glory of Christ.

— The IFES vision

Today, discussions about science and religion are dominated by scholars who have spent their careers in elite Western universities and seminaries. Their work has greatly enhanced the quality and richness of these dialogues but does not benefit from the diverse experiences and perspectives of scientists in the Majority World.  

The reach of IFES in more than 160 countries around the world makes IFES national movements ideal contexts for nurturing a new generation of theology and the sciences thought leaders and communicators from the Majority World.  

Photo of two Catalysts listening to a lecture

The Logos and Cosmos Initiative (LCI) is equipping its Catalysts to be global thought leaders by providing them with mentoring, training and funding to run theology and the sciences projects. Because Catalysts are already part of IFES national movements, the benefits from this program are enjoyed by the larger IFES community. 

Why the name “Logos and Cosmos”? 

The ideas behind the ancient Greek words logos (word or λόγος) and cosmos (world or κόσμος) lie at the heart of both Christian theology and the university. Logos means comprehensive knowledge. It is the root of the suffix -ology, which is found in the name of many academic disciplines. Cosmos refers to the world, which was created, sustained and is loved by God. Yet because of sin, the world is also a place of rebellion and opposition to God, resulting in suffering, poverty and pain.  

John’s Gospel opens with the statement: “In the beginning was the Word [logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … and through him all things were made.” 

Photo of students at a workshop run by former Catalyst Faustin Dokui

John goes on to identify Jesus Christ with this logos (Word) who came into God’s world but was ultimately rejected by many and recognized by only a few – by those John calls God’s children.  

At the LCI we strive to relate the logos and the cosmos, or in modern academic terms we try to relate theology and the sciences. Our goal is to equip young scholars to join in with God’s transformative action in the world and to enable the flourishing of human societies under the rule of God. 

The LCI continues in the tradition of responding to theologian John Stott’s plea for “double listening”, for Christians to listen to both the Word and the world. 

‘Double listening’… is the faculty of listening to two voices at the same time, the voice of God through Scripture and the voices of men and women around us. These voices will often contradict one another, but our purpose in listening to them both is to discover how they relate to each other. Double listening is indispensable to Christian discipleship and Christian mission.

— John Stott, The Contemporary Christian: An Urgent Plea for Double Listening (InterVarsity Press, 1992. p29)

The IFES journal, Word and World, also follows this tradition. 

Find out more about the concepts behind our name in these blogposts by Ross McKenzie, Leader of the LCI:  

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