The Promise and Promises of a Christian College -- By: Paul R. House

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 01:3 (Fall 1997)
Article: The Promise and Promises of a Christian College
Author: Paul R. House


The Promise and Promises of a Christian College

Paul R. House

Paul R. House, editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, is Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of seven volumes, and has contributed several articles to journals and collections of essays.

During my ten years at Taylor University, located in Upland, Indiana, I came to realize that no other church-generated ministry has as much promise and makes as many diverse promises as a Christian college or university. Christian colleges have the potential to offer students the best possible education—one that integrates Christian faith and all forms of learning. They can thereby avoid the worst pitfall of secular education, which is the unwillingness, lack of opportunity, or inability to consider the Lord who created the heavens and earth as the major part of the educational equation. Supporting this promise is the fact that these institutions have made solemn promises to their constituencies. These promises are anchored in God’s word, and they have been made by believers in the God of truth. Thus, when they are broken, the college’s integrity as a specifically Christian entity is in question. When they are kept, however, the students and constituencies of that faithful institution receive the full benefits of loving God with heart, soul, mind, and strength.

The Promise of a Christian College

Christian colleges should be even more committed to academic excellence than the best-intentioned state university or secular liberal arts college, for they were founded to serve the God who created life, earth, persons, and outer space. The Scriptures teach that the Lord is, among other things, intelligent, creative, personal, and rational. Scripture’s authors are themselves interested in art, literature, philosophy, theology, biology, zoology, and a variety of other academic subjects. A large amount of instructional material appears in the Old and New Testaments. Christians have every reason, then, to expend great time, effort, and resources upon attaining a quality, full-orbed education.

The full promise of a Christian college is not simply in the effective dissemination of relevant and helpful information. Rather, it lies in the integration of Christian truth into these disciplines. Integration of faith and learning means that in each academic discipline skilled Christian teachers are able to teach and lead students to assess information based on the truths of scripture. For instance, in Literature courses professors judge the validity of authorial worldviews based on a Christian worldview. In Business courses professors weigh the ethical integrity of transactions and the treatment ...

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