The Dreadful Departure of Faith at Christian Colleges

 

 

The Dreadful Departure of Faith at Christian Colleges

By now, most of us who are regularly exposed to Christian influences in the media—whether in print, online or in other ways—have heard or read of the lamentable defection of professing Christian young people when they enter college or the university. This should alarm every parent reading these words. And it should concern every teenager who would like to pursue a college education.

We’ve read of the warning from preachers, teachers, and writers that a large number of professing Christian young people “lose their faith” within a year or two after leaving home when they enter college. The statistics vary, but generally the statement is made that between 50 percent and 90 percent of young people are thought to accept evolution and reject their faith in God.  (This poses a real problem for those who hold to a view of unconditional eternal security, but this is not our concern in this article.) Shouldn’t this be a shock to parents as well as sons and daughters? Isn’t it a concern to you?

Why is this problem so pervasive in today’s society? If children have been exposed to the theory of evolution from the early grades to twelfth grade, is it any wonder that many of them will accept it in their elementary and high school days and especially accept it in college?  When young, unformed, and untested people in their teens and twenties take classes in physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy, why do we marvel that many (actually most) of them will reject Biblical truth regarding origins and accept what their older, educated, and sophisticated professors teach them? When an eighteen- or twenty-year-old student receives convincing input from these unbelieving professors, why do we think it strange that they would turn from what they have heard in church, Sunday school, and parents and accept what they learn from these refined atheists and agnostics?

We need to realize that virtually all (I know of no exceptions) public colleges and universities that are controlled by and funded by the state or local governments, will, of necessity, promote evolution and will not advocate a belief in God our Creator! As unfair as it is, these institutions that receive tax income (the taxes we pay the government) will support evolution and promote unbelief. They will do this under the belief that this is part of “the separation of church and state”!

If we are true Christians who believe the Bible, we know that this is an abominable attitude. It is not only unfair; it is shameful. How could anyone say that it is right for a teacher to say that the so-called Big Bang originated the universe some 14 billion years ago and this solar system some four billion years ago? How could anyone say that it is permissible for such an educator to profess that there is no God and, if there is some sort of “god,” he just was responsible for the Big Bang in the beginning and then the universe has continued by blind chance over the eons of time until life spontaneously arose from primordial soup and eventually the billions of life forms have come from this chemical mixture?  Not only is this preposterous, it is a shameful blasphemy of God our Creator.  Yet this is what young people are being exposed to when they continue their secular humanistic education!

If this is the problem with government-sponsored higher education, what about private institutions that make some profession of Christianity? Couldn’t they more likely profess and teach the truth about God and His creation? Yes, they could very well stand for the truth of Scripture in regard to origins and God’s present existence. But of the many hundreds of colleges and universities, most fail the test of truth. Think of Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and a host of other colleges that began as religious schools but are hotbeds of evolution and atheism in our day! This demonstrates that schools can and do change. Over the years, they lose their original stand for God’s truth and degenerate into unbelief of all kinds. Many more recent and smaller schools have likewise degenerated in their trend toward unbelief and being acceptable in our contemporary world.

During my educational career, I went to several different colleges that professed to be “Christian” in character. Sadly, I must admit that they all compromised to some degree. I’ve visited many different “Christian” colleges over the years, and virtually all of them have compromised in various ways. I’m surely glad that I was not negatively affected by their teaching on origins.

Most of us are acquainted with the “Answers in Genesis” organization in Kentucky (answersingenesis.org). As you may know, they specialize in the basic issue of creation and God’s present working in the natural world. Check out their website if you have the time.  Ken Ham, the president of this organization, has conducted much research on the degree of belief and unbelief in the world. Not long ago, he and his associates also did research into the amount of belief in “Christian” colleges in America and they were somewhat stunned with the results. This is the way that Ham begins his written report (taken from answersingenesis.org /college/many-christian- colleges-receive-a- failing-grade/)::

Let us be clear from the start. We love the idea of educating youth from a consistent, Bible-based worldview. But an ever-increasing number of “Christian colleges” no longer teach the authority of the Scriptures. So what do Christian colleges and seminaries really teach? This was not a pop quiz, and the schools were not asked any trick questions. Yet a recent nationwide survey by America’s Research Group uncovered some disturbing findings about many of today’s leading Christian colleges and seminaries.

The report was an attempt to contact leading institutions that had a reputation for being “Bible believing” and “conservative” in theology. This is a continuation of the explanation for the survey:

Ken Ham, president and CEO of Answers in Genesis, said the study originated as a result of troubling stories he kept hearing as he traveled worldwide, meeting with parents, pastors, and educators. “I knew something was happening out there,” he says. “Over the years my concerns continued to grow, but before I spoke too loudly, I wanted to make sure that I could prove it.”

To find more specifics about the beliefs and teachings of Christian colleges, America’s Research Group attempted to contact leaders at the schools in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). This conservative association of schools, now with over 110 member schools, restricts membership to schools with a “Christ-centered mission” that is “rooted in the historic Christian faith.” All their full-time faculty members and administrators must also profess faith in Christ.

The study then went beyond these member schools to other “religious” schools that had a similar commitment to Biblical truth. Here is the explanation:

Researchers also contacted “religiously affiliated” colleges listed in the Higher Education Directory. These schools are associated with various denominations, including mainline Protestant and a few Roman Catholic schools. (Interestingly, people from this group responded similarly to CCCU members. For example, 98% in both groups believed in the inspiration of Scripture, and there was only a 2% difference on belief in Christ’s virgin birth.)

The surveyors attempted to contact four specific types of school leaders, who set the direction of the school: presidents, vice presidents (or academic deans), heads of the science department, and heads of the religion (or theology) department.

How extensive was the survey and how accurate were the results? Apparently the study was as thorough and accurate as possible:

In all, America’s Research Group interviewed 312 administrators and professors from 200 different colleges. The good news? Most respondents (98–99%) believe that the Bible is “inspired by God” and that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, died a substitutionary death on the Cross, and rose bodily from the grave.

But as the questions probed further, the news was not so good. For example, only 74% of respondents believe that Scripture is without error (“inerrant”). Even fewer (60%) accept the Genesis creation account of six literal 24-hour days. Ironically, the heads of the science departments were more likely to accept this than their colleagues in the religion departments (71% to 57%).

Ken Ham published the results in a book entitled Already Compromised, and indeed it is an eye-opening look at the amazing amount of unbelief in these religious and professing “Christian” schools.  Here is a detailing of some of the results:

The research, published in the new book Already Compromised, paints a troubling picture of the Christian higher education system. Yet parents often send their children to these schools, trusting the professors to believe 100% of the Bible, when many professors and school leaders do not really believe all that the Bible teaches.

What Do Leaders at Christian Colleges Believe?

Almost all leaders at Christian colleges (presidents, vice presidents, and heads of the science and religion departments) say they believe in Scripture’s “inspiration,” and most accept the N.T. history regarding Christ. But that does not necessarily mean they hold the same high view of the inerrancy of Scripture and O.T. history.

Views on the Bible

·       98% believe in the inspiration of Scripture

·       81% believe in the infallibility of Scripture

·       74% believe in the inerrancy of Scripture

Views on N.T. History

·       99% believe in Christ’s virgin birth

·       99% believe in Christ’s substitutionary death on the Cross

·       99% believe in Christ’s bodily resurrection

Views on O.T. History

·       60% believe in God creating the earth in six literal 24-hour days

·       58% believe the Flood was worldwide

·       42% consider self a “young-earth Christian”

What do the leaders at Christian colleges really believe? It depends on who you talk to!

Is this enough to shake your confidence in the leadership and teaching staff of these colleges?  Ham continues his exposure:

Question: Do you believe in God creating the earth in six literal 24-hour days:

 

President—79%

Vice president—40%

Science department—71%

Religion department—57!

 

Question: Do you believe the Flood was worldwide?       

 

President—87%

Vice president—43%

Science department—56%

Religion department—57%

 

Question: Do you consider yourself a “young earth Christian”?

 

President—52%

Vice president—51%

Science department—57%

Religion department—15%

 

Question: What does your institution teach about evolution? (This was an open-ended question, not a yes/no question. But everyone was asked the exact same question.)

 

(A) We show evolution to be false:

President—19%

Vice president—42%

Science department—6%

Religion department—3%

 

(B) We teach evolution to be true:

President—0%

Vice president—4%

Science department—6%

Religion department—31%

(This was taken from answersingenesis.org/ college/many-christian -colleges- receive-a-failing-grade/.)

If this unbelief was rampant in so-called Christian institutions, what would we find in secular colleges and universities? Does it still make you wonder how professing Christian young people can “lose their faith” when they go to both secular colleges as well as “Christian” colleges?

We don’t know the answer to this dilemma if, in fact, a young person wishes to pursue a higher education because of his aspirations to a certain field of study. Perhaps he can find a college that is conservative and then choose his subjects carefully. Perhaps he can enter a field in a secular school that doesn’t require as much exposure to extensive unbelief and skepticism. And some simply choose to pursue a career as a tradesman that would not require training in an institution of higher education. It also would be best if a young person can stay at home and not go to a distant location where he knows no one and could get into “the wrong crowd” (this is another aspect of the problem—that of the moral compromises that higher education promotes!).

Whatever a young person chooses, along with the wise input of his parents, he needs to remember that he should no nothing that would jeopardize his firm faith in God, in Christ Jesus, in the Bible, and in truth. As Scripture says, “A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, the naïve proceed and pay the penalty” (Proverbs 27:12). Whatever you do, be faithful to God, deepen your faith in Him and His Word, and shun the foolish arguments of unbelief.

The wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, ‘He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness’; and again, ‘the Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless’ (1 Corinthians 3:19-20).

It would be best to forego an education that will make you compromise the ways of the Lord than to find such an education and lose your soul!

–Richard Hollerman

 

 

 

 

 

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