The Great Commandment: A Paradigm for Christian Higher Education -- By: David S. Dockery

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 01:3 (Fall 1997)
Article: The Great Commandment: A Paradigm for Christian Higher Education
Author: David S. Dockery

The Great Commandment:
A Paradigm for Christian Higher Education

David S. Dockery

David S. Dockery has been president of Union University, Jackson, Tennessee since 1996. He is the author or editor of several volumes, including Southern Baptists and American Evangelicals: The Conversation Continues and Christian Scripture, as well as numerous scholarly articles and reviews. This article is an edited version of his inaugural address.

The Challenges and Opportunities

We stand on the doorstep of a new century with great hopefulness, but also with an awareness of the difficult times in which we live. Values clarification will certainly rage into the third millennium. Educational issues will continue to be complicated by social problems such as poverty, the breakdown of families, and the ravages of crime, drugs, and AIDS.1 Further, James Mecklenburger, Director of the Institute for the Transfer of Technology to Education, has loudly proclaimed that “Information Technology is the most powerful educational force since chalk.”2 Others view such technology less positively.3 Nonetheless, the high technology age is here, bringing both blessing and curse.

Clearly, we must remember that High Tech is not enough. High Touch is mandatory for followers of Jesus. Jesus, the master teacher, first called His followers to be “with Him” before He sent them on mission. Christian higher education must take advantage of new opportunities that facilitate learning, break down traditional barriers, and provide new and powerful information. High Tech may be a useful servant, but it makes a horrible master. More important questions even than the use of technology loom before us today. We must determine the purpose of education, or more specifically, the purpose of Christian education, as well as the common values we want to share with the next generation.4

The restlessness that characterizes so much of Western society stems in part from the enormous changes in our country and in our world. Leith Anderson says these changes “promise to be greater than the invention of the printing press, greater than the Industrial Revolution.”5 At the heart of these paradigmatic changes is the fact that truth, morality, and interpretation are being ignored, if not rejected outright. Therefore, Christian higher education faces some formidable challenges.6 Throughout education and culture, the very existence ...

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