News Release


Fifteen students, representing seven institutions, recently gathered at Trinity for the annual Law, Justice and Culture Institute where they were introduced to the concept of transcendent moral truth in the Western legal tradition and challenged to integrate the biblical understanding of justice into their career callings.

The Institute, sponsored by The Center for Law and Culture, awards three academic credits to students who successfully complete the requirements of the two-week session, during which students attend classes, hear guest speakers, and complete assignments and exams. Eight Trinity students participated, and seven other visiting students represented Evangel University, Judson College, Olivet Nazarene University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Spring Arbor University, and the Department of the Army. [Click here for the list of students.]

The Center awarded more than $7,500 in financial assistance, and scholarships funded by the generous donations of the law firms Davis & Kuelthau, S.C.; Hoogendoorn & Talbot, LLP; and Ruff, Weidenaar & Reidy, Ltd.

“The Institute is a unique opportunity for students from other schools around the country to discuss a variety of interesting topics,” said Steve Verhagen ’08, who assisted with the Institute. “It covers topics such as Christian citizenship, creation care, and Old Testament law. No other course covers such a wide variety of topics while integrating them so cohesively.”

Charles Emmerich, executive director of the Center and chair of Trinity’s political science department, explained the purpose of the Institute is to provide Christian worldview training to pre-law and law students from Trinity and partnering colleges and universities throughout the nation.

“Law is a noble calling,” he said. “We need to prepare students as leaders who will make decisions in the framework of Christian truth.”

To accomplish this, Emmerich believes Christian higher education needs to have a clearer understanding of law and politics and a deep commitment to training future leaders who will one day be passing, regulating and enforcing the law. Sponsoring special programs such as the Institute, as well as strengthening the College’s political science department and pre-law curriculum, will help provide the means to achieve that goal at Trinity.

“I expect a lot of my students in order to prepare them,” said Emmerich. “A ‘toughness’ is required to serve God through law. It’s not for the faint of heart.”

Captain Doug Moore of the U.S. Army understands this duty to pursue justice while relying on God’s strength. Moore, an Institute participant and one of the guest lecturers, is a defense attorney and a Christian. Having served in Iraq, he understands reliance on God’s grace when under fire. But the battles he fights in the courtroom also require what he calls “complete relinquishment into God’s hand.”

Moore shared stories of serving in Iraq and in the courtroom, which vividly illustrated the real-life application of the mission of the Center for Law and Culture at Trinity: to glorify God, serve our neighbor, and care for creation. Students also benefited from lectures delivered by other distinguished speakers at the Institute.

Robert Buikema, Esq. spoke on the subject “Christian Lawyer: Oxymoron or Noble Calling?” at the Institute’s graduation luncheon. Buikema explained to students that law is a calling. “God has redeemed all of life,” he said, “and he is calling us to join him in his work to redeem creation.”

Following the presentation, students were recognized for their successful completion of the Institute coursework and presented with certificates by Emmerich and Dr. Steven Timmermans, president of Trinity.   

 “The Institute is an excellent opportunity for Christian students to explore key foundational principles and basic ideas relevant to law and politics in a warm, friendly environment without compromising the academic rigor of those investigations,” said Daniel Rubio, a recent graduate of Spring Arbor University, Michigan. 

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