JBU Professor Published by Oxford University Press

Siloam Springs, Ark (October 16, 2000) — Dr. Rick Ostrander, assistant professor of history, recently published his first book, The Life of Prayer in a World of Science: Protestants, Prayer, and American Culture, 1870-1930. The book explains how a number of American Protestants around the turn of the century adapted their view of prayer to fit the outlook of modern science. Ostrander was inspired by a 1930 article in "The Christian Century" which asked a number of Protestant leaders the question, "Does prayer change the weather?" His purpose in writing the book was to explore some of the intellectual challenges that confront modern Christians.

"What amazed me was that many leading Protestants of the day claimed that prayer had no effect on the weather, since weather is controlled by scientific laws that God never breaks," said Ostrander. "I wondered why mainline Protestants had come to disbelieve what most Christians throughout history had believed, that prayer can sometimes have tangible effects on the physical world."

Ostrander started the book as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Notre Dame in 1995. "My dissertation advisor at Notre Dame, George Marsden, suggested that I polish up the manuscript and send it to Oxford Press, since they're the leading publishers in the field of American religious history," said Ostrander. "The fact that Dr. Ostrander's book is being published by Oxford University Press stands as a testament to the quality of his work," said Dr. Ed Ericson, assistant professor of history and chairman of the Division of Social and Behavioral Studies at JBU. "Dr. Ostrander's scholarship and hard work are highly valued in the division and throughout the institution," said Dr. Ericson. "In only his fourth year at John Brown University he is already President of the Faculty Association and a Teagle Fellow with primary responsibility for promoting scholarly efforts across campus."

Ostrander came to JBU because he wanted to teach in a close knit Christian university with a strong academic reputation. "JBU is an excellent fit for myself, and the Siloam Springs community is a good environment in which to raise my family," said Ostrander. Before coming to JBU, Ostrander attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, then finished undergraduate work at the University of Michigan. His M.A. and Ph.D. were completed at the University of Notre Dame.

John Brown University is a private university with an enrollment of over 1,500 students from 46 states and 30 countries. JBU is a member of the Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities as well as the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.