How to Defend Your Decision to Attend a Christian College
In the search for your ideal Christian college, you may meet those who are opposed to higher education, especially one with a religious affiliation. If you’re unsure of how to respond to their objections, check out Cairn professor Jonathan Master’s article “On God and Education,” originally published by The Curator.
Dr. Master explores the arguments set forth by theologian John Calvin and distinguished professor Stanley Fish, one of the most perceptive public defenders of the humanities in recent years.
Using excerpts from Dr. Master’s article (bolded for emphasis), here are three common objections to a Christian education and how to refute them:
Objection #1: You can learn about God at church. You don’t need to go to a Christian college to study your faith.
Rebuttal #1: God has truly spoke to us through His Word, and I want to devote my studies to examining His Word in depth.
“Because God has spoken truly in His word, the content of education would be different. A theo-centric higher education would have a heavy emphasis on Bible and theology at its core. If the sovereign God, Creator and Savior, has actually spoken to His creatures, then surely this message would be significant.”
“It is not something that could be relegated to one or two minor courses in four years of intensive coursework. If God has truly spoken, a thorough university-level education would need to devote more than just a few hours in one or two semesters to the study of this revelation. And an education that ignores the authoritative word of God entirely is at best incomplete; at worst, utterly misleading.”
Objection #2: You know the saying “religion and politics don’t mix”? Well, the same goes for education and faith.
Rebuttal #2: I don’t want to compartmentalize my life. I want an education that integrates my faith beliefs. I want to study art, history, and science in the context of the God’s teachings.
“If God has spoken truly in His word, this education must also be integrated. God’s word does not simply address personal spiritual concerns; it addresses many aspects of life, both public and private. It presents an understanding of God, of ourselves, and of the world in which we live.”
“Isolating biblical teaching sells it short; in fact, to isolate the Bible would be to misunderstand it entirely. This means that the theo-centric model is not content with simply requiring a large core of Bible and theology courses. Biblical teaching must be integrated into the entire curriculum.”
Objection #3: Can’t you just study the Bible on your own?
Rebuttal #3: I want to study the Bible alongside others so we can encourage, challenge, and grow together.
“The fullest education would necessarily take place within a community. There are several reasons for saying this. First, Calvin argues that God’s word is never just about one individual. In creation, God made both male and female; Israel is chosen as a nation to bless the world; the church is an assembly, one body with many parts.
“Biblical faith is always lived and learned with others. This principle may even reflect something about the very nature of God as revealed in the Christian scriptures. He is one God in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Though the analogy is inexact, we could say that God Himself exists in a kind of community.”
Just remember that while defending your decision to attend a Christian college is fine, getting defensive may be counteractive. Always remember to speak wisely, as Titus 3:2 reminds us “to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”
Master, Jonathan L. “On God and Education.” The Curator. Curator Magazine, 24 July 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.