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Why Christian Colleges Sell Out

Written by Gary North on January 23, 2016

And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying . . . Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shall appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians (l Ki. 5: 2, 6).

Recently, I received a letter from a man who inquired about a speaker I had invited to a conference I plan to hold four months from now. His son has become interested in the work that the speaker has done in investigating anti-Soviet guerilla movements. The son recognized early that this man is a humanist and anti-Christian, and he conveyed this information to his father. The father, a Christian, wrote to me and almost begged me to tell him that the man is not a humanist. He wrote that he assumed that I would never hire someone to speak at one of my conferences who did not share my views, so would I please explain to his son that the speaker is a Christian?

I wrote back to him that it is my policy to hire competent people to speak on particular topics, and that for the most part, Christians are not competent.

The letter revealed to me once again the desperate situation Christians find themselves in today. Here is a father who is obviously concerned that his son is about to be led away in some fashion by someone who is not a Christian. The son recognizes a particular kind of competence in the man, and is interested in gaining similar competence for himself. The father wants to be assured that all is well, that his son is going to be following a Christian man, and that I will be able to give some sort of official Protestant imprimatur on the man’s theology. His son recognizes exactly what the man’s theology is, yet the father is grasping at the thin straw that his son is incorrect, because the man is going to speak at a conference I am putting on. He does not know that l did a taped interview with the man and specifically pointed out on the tape that my philosophy is completely at odds with the man’s libertarian presuppositions.

Higher Education

His son is attracted by competence. So are the sons of many Christians. Sons want to go to college, and there are no first-rate colleges or universities that are Christian. There is no college, even third-rate, that is staffed from top to bottom with scholars who are actively working to restructure the content of their academic disciplines in terms of the Bible. There is not even a single department on any campus in the English-speaking world whose members are even aware that such a reconstruction is necessary. Furthermore, there never has been such a department in 800 years–none that has ever left a published legacy of its efforts and findings. Not one. In every case, Christian instructors have mixed in natural law categories or some other form of common-ground philosophy, and the biblical content of the course work has been submerged and then ignored. Nevertheless, Christian fathers continue to send their Christian sons to be instructed by atheists and Christian compromisers who teach anti-Christian courses. Competence counts.

Parents believe (correctly) that there is no institutional alternative to humanist colleges, at least none which is recognized by the world of employers. We even find that a conservative church such as the traditionally Calvinistic (and tiny) Orthodox Presbyterian Church requires candidates for the ministry to have graduated from an accredited college or university. Yet the church offers no formal training for its college students which would provide them with biblical presuppositions that reveal the bankruptcy of modern (and ancient) humanist education. Despite the fact that Bible presuppositionalist Cornelius Van Til is an ordained member of the denomination, they have officially adopted the compromised rationalism of Thomas Aquinas, Charles Hodge, and Gordon Clark as the approved academic methodology of the church, as reflected in church standards for “teaching” elders. The compromised Intellectual legacy of nineteenth-century Presbyterian Calvinism–a legacy based on a rationalistic apologetic methodology–still binds this church in epistemological fetters.

The rise of the independent Christian school movement has, to some degree, at last offered a partial alternative to humanist education. Students are given some minimal training on the differences between a Christian world view and rival world views. But philosophy is not the specialty of the fundamentalists who write the curricula for the Christian schools. Most fundamentalists are proponents of some version of Roman Catholic medieval apologetics (the five proofs of God, the evidential defense of the resurrection, etc.), and they too adopt some sort of common-ground approach to science. This is true even of the six-day creationists, who explicitly try to build a model of the physical sciences without mentioning the Bible. They try to play the game by the humanists’ rules–rules that even the more consistent humanists have at last abandoned, such as the doctrine of neutrality.

What we find, then, is that Christian students are placed as apprentices under God-hating instructors who use God-denying presuppositions to construct a world view at odds with the Bible. This goes on for years–anywhere from twelve to twenty years. Parents may worry a bit about this arrangement, but they shrug it off as inevitable, and hope for the best. What they get, at best, is a compromise. It may take their sons a lifetime to rethink everything they have learned in college. I have seen some (including ordained pastors) who never have rethought what they learned. They are the curse of the church today.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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