Academics vs. Academia -- By: Mal Couch

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 05:15 (Aug 2001)
Article: Academics vs. Academia
Author: Mal Couch

Academics vs. Academia

Mal Couch

It’s as if you can hear the rumbling both near and far of great institutions crashing to the ground, as they become weakened under the load of a burden that is too great to bear. That burden is actually an accumulation of beliefs and “isms” that are not compatible with genuine biblical Christianity.

The load begins with the philosophies and attitudes of the culture that are being imported into the structures of churches, seminaries, mission groups, parachurch organizations, etc. The cultures are dictating the terms, and the truth is being systematically watered down. To be more specific, the culture is bringing into our midst outright secular liberalism, secular psychology, culturally tainted musical forms, New Age mysticism (within the framework of the charismatic movement), and feminism.

Since the publication of the last CTS Journal, many of the above issues have done more damage than I could imagine. It was only a few weeks ago that I was introduced to the organization called Christians for Biblical Equality. Reading through the material presented on their website I was shocked by the overt influence of the charismatic movement, feminism, and secular psychology. Their website material was full of re-written theology and church history. The shifts in logical thinking, and even of clear patterns of thinking, were shocking to me. But hundreds, if not thousands of women and men, will be bedazzled and fooled by the rhetoric.

But one of the ongoing trends I’ve not written about in this Journal is that of what I call the flirtation with academia that is going on in many, if not a majority, of our Bible colleges and seminaries.

Academics is defined by the dictionary as “any place of instruction: a school,” and one that is “conforming to set rules, standards, or traditions.” A negative definition of the same word reads, “theoretical or hypothetical; not practical or directly useful.”

In our traditional Evangelical setting, hopefully the first definition is what we would strive for. When a school is established, it is hoped that, in the good sense, it would strive to simply be an acceptable place of studying the Bible, with a set of rules and traditions. But the negative side of academics is leading our schools down the wrong path to academia that, as the dictionary would put it, refers simply to the “academic world,” that high and lofty place dedicated only to “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7).

This issue w...

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