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faith of a maker

Riveting new book combines science, technology, engineering, art and math to compel the reasons for believing in Jesus

FAITH NEWS SERVICE – Proving that the earth was created by God, and that Jesus in fact walked the earth, has been the debate of Christian scientists and scholars for years. Yet, they have come up against stiff opposition, desperate to prove them wrong.

However, what if we could add to the proof of Jesus’ existence, as well as building faith in Him, via the ‘STEAM’ model? Many will ask, what on earth is STEAM? The answer is quite simple. STEAM stands for ‘Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematic’, and a new book may just provide some unique answers.

In his compelling new book Faith of a Maker – Reasons for Believing in Jesus, Australian author Dr. Phillip McKerrow addresses issues raised by Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) that challenge the faith of believers in Jesus as they craft objects with STEAM materials and live in a global community.

Dr. McKerrow’s purpose in writing is to grapple with these issues as a Maker looking through the lens of his Christian faith. And he just so happens to hold the credentials to write such a book. As the former Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Wollongong (UOW) prior to his retirement, Dr. McKerrow’s unconventional approach in integrating STEAM content with Christian faith into one unique volume on Christian apologetics is a fascinating read.

A Maker is a person who carries out a craft to produce a physical product, including quilters, wood carvers, electronics technicians, artists, and modellers. In this context, Dr. McKerrow seeks to answer the questions that non-believers ask about faith in Jesus, so that they might believe, and that believers ask about faith in Jesus, so that they might be encouraged to grow in faith.

Dr. McKerrow uses personal anecdotes, creative stories, and simple technical descriptions in a style that has been described as quirky and eclectic by Senior Professor Roger Lewis of the University of Wollongong. Quirky because it is unconventional to integrate STEAM content with Christian faith in a book on Christian apologetics. Many books have been written about science and faith, but few about Making, STEAM and Faith.

It is eclectic in its use of various styles of creative non-fiction to help the reader understand complex concepts. Dr. McKerrow has spent his life making things and teaching others how to make them. When he was a lecturer in Computer Science at the UOW, he wrote a textbook titled “Introduction to Robotics” based on his teaching of robotics.

Now, in Faith of a Maker, he thinks about the issues raised by STEAM from a biblical perspective, specifically why believing in Jesus is a sensible thing to do. He explores issues that range from the beauty of mathematical equations to the moral questions raised by Artificial Intelligence.

In each chapter he explores the thesis that we were made by an infinitely powerful God who we cannot know by science because he is in eternity, but we can know by faith. This leads him to the conclusion that observation of creation and revelation by faith produce complementary evidence that supports reasons for believing in Jesus.

Throughout this book, he considers the influence of faith in Jesus on how a maker thinks about some of the STEAM disciplines.

Dr. McKerrow started work as a trainee Electrical Engineer when he was sixteen. After 13 years of designing, installing, and maintaining electronic and computer systems to control steel processing mills, he moved to UOW where he taught programming and conducted research in robotics for 30 years.

At the same time, he studied the bible and taught biblical theology at Figtree Anglican Church. It is this combination of experience in making and lay theology that makes this book unique.

Dr. McKerrow is also not afraid to tackle the difficult questions. Six months after he wrote Chapter 10 titled Death, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The thought that he now has a disease that is fatal with no cure at present caused him to ask: What have I done with my life? Does anything I have made have any value? He questioned the purpose of everything he had made.

It also gave the contents of this book a personal focus. It was no longer a set of intellectual arguments, but was now a heightened real-life experience. The death of Jesus took on a new significance.

Faith of a Maker, published by Ark House, is about reasons for believing in Jesus; reasons that will enable your faith to grow when confronted by difficult circumstances. Anyone who is asking questions about faith in Jesus will find it a fascinating read.

More on the author
Dr. Phillip McKerrow is retired. During retirement he has written bible studies in simple English for international university students, built a wooden motorboat and written the book: Faith of a Maker. Prior to working at UOW he worked for John Lysaghts Australia Limited as an Electrical Engineer making control systems for steel processing lines. He has published 2 books: The Performance Measurement of Computer Systems and the other An Introduction to Robotics. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and a member of Figtree Anglican Church.