Diving Deep into Philosophy and Apologetics: DBU Welcomes Dr. Travis Dickinson to DBU Family

Photo of Dr. Dickinson

"I am most passionate about leading students to explore deep and difficult questions for the purpose of knowing God and the riches of the gospel for all areas of life, as we love him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds."

A devout scholar and apologist, Dr. Travis Dickinson recently joined the DBU family, serving as a Professor of Philosophy and heading up the Philosophy Department. Laced through Dr. Dickinson's life is evidence of the power of the redemptive nature of the gospel. From his upbringing, to his education, to now his fascination with philosophy and the study of defending the faith, Dr. Dickinson is eager to impart his knowledge and experience upon DBU students in the classroom.

Dr. Dickinson is Dallas born and New Jersey raised. Because of the Christian addiction recovery center his great, great grandfather founded, Dr. Dickinson had the unique experience of growing up watching the restoring hope of Jesus Christ transform the lives of broken and addicted people.

"I can remember some individuals who came into the program as empty and hardened souls entirely broken by sin and then, after some time, they would soften, start to smile and have hope. They would become healthy and whole as they made Christ the center of their lives."

It was on this ministry property that Dr. Dickinson would also come to know Christ as his personal Saviour. The same Jesus that changed the lives of those at the recovery center stirred Dr. Dickinson's own heart.

After graduating high school, Dr. Dickinson began his extensive pursuit of higher education. Dr. Dickinson holds a Bible Certificate from the Wisconsin Campus of Cairn University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education from Alaska Bible College. Dr. Dickinson obtained his Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics and Master of Arts in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics from Biola University. He later received his Master of Arts in Philosophy along with a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Iowa.

The study of apologetics began to pique Dr. Dickinson's interest only after he was assigned to teach the 12th grade Bible class at a Christian high school. "I only vaguely knew what apologetics even was and so I threw myself into studying it so that I could teach these seniors every morning, five days a week," he says. "I found my own faith growing tremendously and I knew I wanted to go deeper."

Now, Dr. Dickinson teaches "all things philosophical" at DBU and is passionate about the opportunity to challenge students to think carefully about intertwining their faith with reality as a way to love God and serve the world.

"It's easy, in many cases, to integrate faith into discussions of philosophy," Dr. Dickinson says. "This is because, in my view, God stands behind reality as the ultimate source of all things. Thus, any discussion of ontology and ultimate being leads us straight to God." Dr. Dickinson goes on to say "I also want students to see that Christian theology uniquely provides answers to many of life's deepest questions and gives us genuine meaning and purpose. I want students to not only hear this but also see it lived out."

Dr. Dickinson has found great comfort in knowing that DBU prides itself on being not just a "Christian university" by title, but clings to the values of Christianity while maintaining the integrity of a scholarly university as well.

"With the pressures of a culture hostile to Christian faith there are many schools that have drifted significantly from their Christian identity. DBU is resolved to not only not drift but also continues to strengthen its Christian identity," says Dr. Dickinson. "I've also found that DBU is serious about being a university," he continues. "For fear of compromising on a Christian stance, some Christian institutions are focused exclusively on studying the Bible and theology to the neglect of all other disciplines. But a university is meant to have a diversity of disciplines. At DBU, a student can study anything from science, to business, to graphic design, as well as Bible and theology, and come away with a unifying and well-grounded Christian worldview."

Dr. Dickinson is the author of three books with one more on the way. His most recent book, Logic and the Way of Jesus: Thinking Critically and Christianly (B & H), discusses logic and critical thinking modeled in the life and ministry of Jesus. And his forthcoming book, Wandering Towards God: Finding Faith in Doubts and Big Questions (IVP, October 2022), argues that leaning into our questions and doubts can lead to even greater faith as we discover truth and knowledge. Dr. Dickinson also posts articles and resources about the study of apologetics and philosophy on his blog, www.travisdickinson.com.

Dr. Dickinson married his wife Shari in 2004. Together, they have four children: Kaelia (15), Delaney (13), Emery (11), and Kade (9). The family attends Northpointe Church in Burleson, where Dr. Dickinson teaches a life group and occasionally helps with preaching duties. Outside of his time spent teaching at DBU and in his church, Dr. Dickinson often speaks at churches, youth events, camps, and conferences on topics related to apologetics.

Written by Emmalie Ellis

Emmalie Ellis writes for the University Communications department at Dallas Baptist University.