Finding a Truly Christian College

By Julie Roys
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            It’s mid-April and my son, like scores of other high school seniors, has less than two weeks to decide which college he’ll attend.  He knows he wants to attend a Christian college – a decision his father and I heartily affirm.  
            We understand how significantly peers and professors influence students during this time of rapid intellectual and spiritual development.  So, we’d definitely prefer that our son spend these formative years in a Christian community, which encourages him to think and live biblically.           

            However, finding a Christian school that does this consistently can be challenging.  Sure, they all tout slogans that sound good like, “Sharpening intellect, deepening Christian faith” – or “God first.”  But, students’ stories reveal a darker side – professors who denigrate biblical inerrancy; promote gay rights; advocate wealth re-distribution as a Christian virtue; or teach Darwinism, while belittling creation and Intelligent Design. 
            Often this is done in the name of expanding students’ intellectual horizons.  As John Mark Reynolds, the new provost at Houston Baptist University notes, “Many profs view their mission as helping poor, right-wing Christian children outgrow their parents’ faith.”  Now certainly, I expect professors – even at Christian schools – to expose my children to opposing ideologies.  But, their job is to teach students how to discern truth from error – not to uphold error as truth! 
            About 25 years ago, sociologist James Davison Hunter studied students at nine schools in the Christian College Consortium.  And sadly, he found that students’ adherence to “religious orthodoxy” actually declined during their four years at Christian schools.  More recent research shows this trend may be reversing as more colleges work to integrate a Christian worldview into all disciplines. And, no doubt, students on average do far better at Christian schools than at secular universities where studies show more than half lose their faith.  At Christian schools, only six- to seven-percent do.
            Still, students and parents need to approach this decision very carefully.  Explore curriculum; talk to professors; research chapel speakers – and determine, “Is this college really conducive to our beliefs and values – or is it hostile to them?”

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