A Christian Field Guide to Technology

for Engineers and Designers

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A Christian Field Guide to Technology for Engineers and Designers is a book by Ethan J. Brue, Derek C. Schuurman, and Steven H. VanderLeest and published by InterVarsity Academic Press.

The book was a finalist for the FOREWORD Indies Book Awards in the Science & Technology (Adult Nonfiction) category.

About the Authors

Ethan J. Brue (PhD in mechanical engineering, Iowa State University) is professor of engineering at Dordt University. Previously he worked as an engineering consultant in the energy generation sector and as a research and development engineer in the agricultural science and technology industry.

Derek C. Schuurman (PhD in electrical engineering, McMaster University) is professor of computer science at Calvin University. He has previously worked in industry as an engineer designing embedded systems. He is the author of Shaping a Digital World: Faith, Culture and Computer Technology and coauthor of PSpice Simulation of Power Electronics Circuits.

Steven H. VanderLeest (PhD in computer engineering, University of Illinois) is Principal Engineer for Multicore Solutions at Rapita Systems, Inc. and an app developer at squishLogic LLC (a company he founded). Previously, he was the COO at an engineering services company and a professor of engineering at Calvin University. He was also the first president of the Christian Engineering Society.


"I believe that Christians are called to make the world a better place. Engineers and designers have a unique opportunity to pursue that calling. A Christian Field Guide to Technology for Engineers and Designers provides a helpful framework to experience appropriate pride in pursuing the meaningful field of engineering and design while also acknowledging the humility associated with human limitations."

—Jason Andringa, president and CEO, Vermeer Corporation

"A beautifully and clearly written book on technology! After a long history and a recent spurt in development, the wonders of technology have left an all-controlling mark on our culture, so that we speak of the technological society. Thinking about that culture fills us with awe as well as anxiety. Technology knows the waywardness of Babel's tower as well as the blessing of salvation through Noah's ark. Responsible technology is rightly given much attention in this book: it is a technology in harmony with nature, in the service of all that lives, and above all subordinate to our neighbor and in praise of the Creator. The book makes it clear that it is not enough for an engineer to be just an engineer."

—Egbert Schuurman, emeritus professor in Christian philosophy at the Technological Universities of Delft and Eindhoven in the Netherlands, former senator of the Dutch Parliament

"Here is a rich resource for the early career engineer who needs help applying biblical truth to their technical endeavors in the workplace. Through an excellent overview of important theological concepts, thoughtful design principles, and practical vocational wisdom, Brue, Schuurman, and VanderLeest explain how integrating faith and work in practicing engineering and creating technology provides endless opportunities to both glorify God and enjoy him. If only such a book had been around when I entered the workforce with an engineering degree!"

—Steven Lindsey, executive director of the Center for Faith+Work Los Angeles, retired Boeing systems engineering executive

"I have taught engineering ethics at the college level for more than thirty years. This is the book that I wish had been available when I started. Many modern engineering ethics books tend to ignore the relevance of Christian faith to the development and use of modern technology. This excellent book will be a helpful addition for Christian faculty and students at public universities, so they can see how their faith can relate to the use of technology. Similarly, it can encourage practicing Christian engineers who wonder how their work can be informed by their faith. For Christian universities this book would make an excellent text for either a freshman introduction to engineering course or a stand-alone engineering ethics text. If I were still teaching full-time, I would use this book in my engineering ethics class."

—William Jordan, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, Baylor University

"We have been blessed in recent years with some wonderful explorations of what it means to glorify God in our daily work. Now this marvelous book shows us how to take further steps by focusing on the details of a specific area of work. The authors not only give us profound—and often very inspiring—guidelines for believers engaged in engineering and design, they also point the way for folks in other professions to dig into the specifics of their vocations."

—Richard J. Mouw, president emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary

"So often, Christians focus on the ethical and social implications of technology from a user's perspective but fail to recognize the faithful service of brothers and sisters who work tirelessly behind the scenes to design and develop these powerful culture-shaping tools. As the church rightfully proclaims how our faith connects to all of life including our work, I am grateful for this volume by these distinguished scholars and practitioners addressing the unique challenges that technologists face every day, given the importance of their work that touches every aspect of our society. This is an extremely valuable resource connecting Christian theology and ethics to the pressing challenges of technology today."

—Jason Thacker, author and chair of research in technology ethics at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

"Brue, Schuurman, and VanderLeest have provided an excellent resource for contemporary students who may be designing technology, systems, or software, helping them to think about the implications of what they are designing. It covers broad biblical principles that technologists can bring to the workplace to help shape a design in a responsible manner. The authors also recognize that even the best and well-intentioned designs can be subverted and become yet another idol in the lives of those who design and use them. This guidebook will help Christian engineers and computer scientists think more biblically about the technologies and systems they develop. My only wish is that it had been written when I was an undergraduate engineering student five decades ago!"

—Dennis L. O'Neal, dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Baylor University

"It is common in Christian higher education circles to discuss the intersection of faith and learning. Often, this is highly abstract and conceptual and in fields like engineering, computer science, and design, these discussions seem far removed from the technical problems those trained in these fields are trying to solve. The three authors of this work have worked both in industry and academia and bring their experience together with a well-informed faith to offer a work that digs into the specifics of how Christian faith informs design, ethics, and the uses technology serves for the common good."

—Bob Trube, Associate Director Faculty Ministry/Emerging Scholars Network at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA

"I have been eager for this because the books which explore a philosophy of technology (of which we have many) are sometimes a bit abstract for ordinary engineering majors. This, though, brings it home, principled and practical about guidelines for normative engineering design. Simply put, it is a must for anyone in this field. Allow me to say that again, with feeling: Simply put, it is a must for anyone in this field."

—Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Bookstore