Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Christian higher education is more important than ever

As students return to college campuses Christian students are finding that they are quickly becoming second-class citizens in many of those institutions. More and more universities are "derecognizing" Christian groups that meet on their campus.  For one of the latest examples you may want to read Ed Stetzer's article in Christianity Today. This is one more example of diversity gone wrong.  The liberal mantra is that no one has the right to attack the beliefs of anyone unless those beliefs reflect conservative evangelical thinking. Why any Christian family would want to spend tens of thousands of dollars to a secular university to attack the beliefs they have spent years trying to instill in their children is beyond me.

I attended a liberal university in the mid-1980s. I was an adult in my 40s with two children working a full-time job, pastoring a church, and had recently graduated from a Bible school. My values and beliefs were pretty solid, and I had the maturity to not accept every thing that came out of the mouths of our esteemed professors. That was not the case with many of my fellow classmates, often right out of high school, who assumed that these learned professors must know what they are talking about. It seemed like every class, regardless of the subject, found some way to promote evolution as a scientific fact, and the professor had to introduce that the first time the class met. The class I took on "Religion and Ethics" was really interesting. Much of the class time was spent with the instructor and me arguing with one another over her biblical interpretation and theology. The only thing we agreed upon was that we did respect the fact that each of us had formulated a belief system that we could defend, a fact she pointed out to the young students in the class that they had not done. Of course, any student who did have an evangelical belief system would have found those beliefs challenged.  That was 30 years ago; I can't imagine what pressures Christian young people face today in secular universities.

Ravi Zacharias told the story in a recent podcast of the time when one of the people in his organization was sent to the dean of her university.  Her offense was asking a professor why he continued to denounce Christianity.  Zacharias said the dean told the student that her parents had indoctrinated her for eighteen years and now the school was trying to educate her!

Some schools that call themselves Christians are little better. One pastor whose three children attended the same Christian college became concerned with the theology that was being taught in their classes. He contacted the president of the school to ask some questions and was told he had no right to question what was being taught. All three girls immediately withdrew and enrolled in another school.

Does the university your child attends, or will attend, offer a Christ-centered education that prepares a person mentally and spiritually to succeed in their chosen field? Does it help them mature in their faith rather than attempt to destroy it? Does it teach them that true leadership is servant leadership? Does it instill a value system in them that will prepare them to conduct themselves ethically in all they do? Will it prepare them to be the leaders our nation desperately needs? I believe this is what most evangelical Christians would want for their children, and this is what Christian higher education can provide.

If you are a pastor I encourage you to talk to your young people and their parents about the value of Christian higher education. Encourage them to at least talk to Christian colleges and universities about the opportunities they offer students. Let's give our Christian young people every opportunity to succeed in life, and I believe that begins with getting them a good education at a school that honors Jesus Christ in all it does.

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