There’s probably not a week that goes by that I am not called upon to defend the “Christian-ness” of Cornerstone University on some issue or in some fashion. Usually I find this phenomenon rather fascinating. Sometimes, I confess, I find it frustrating.
People question the university's Christian commitment based upon their understanding of the phrase, and the number of these perspectives seems infinite. No real consensus seems to exist anymore in what it means to be Christian.
Words that used to work in this defense no longer seem to work. For example, if I say CU is “conservative” people will assign their own definition to the word, which may include---theological understanding (which is what I mean when I use this word: CU is theologically conservative, which is to say that we believe the Bible is God’s Word and that it is our guide for faith and practice), political positions, rules or lifestyle commitments, or an organizational style or orientation as in not innovative, risk averse, or cautious. But CU does not demand that its employees always adopt politically conservative positions, CU bases its spiritual formation program upon spiritual discernment rather than rules, and CU is actually a rather progressive and innovative organization.
If I say that CU is “evangelical,” then people will think of everyone from Jim Wallis on the Left to Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson on the Right. I do not and CU does not niche on either end of this continuum. Or people hear the word “evangelical” and think CU is representative of the “Values Voters” who put Bush back in the White House in the 2004 election. Or people hear that word and think Fundamentalist, legalistic, or a group that doesn’t work and play well with others, has a vision for the world that brooks no disagreement, and in general is comprised of people who would not make good neighbors. Actually, if I say CU is “evangelical,” I mean that we believe the Bible and we believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son through whom one may receive salvation from sin.
If a university student goes to a dance, than it must mean the university is no longer Christian. If a professor uses a book in his class that was produced by a non-Christian, than this must mean the university no longer cares about its faith. If the university hires according to its faith principles this must mean people at the university stand in judgment of all others who may affirm slightly different views of Christian faith. If an university athlete does not comport himself or herself well on the court or field of play, than this must mean the entire university is given to poor sportsmanship and non-Christian attitudes. If people give to the university and allow it to build a beautiful structure this must mean the university is more about materialism than missions or ministry. If a faculty member writes something someone else does not like, this must mean that the professor’s view is the university’s view and, thus, the university is no longer to be trusted. And so it goes.
Cornerstone University is a Christian university. What does this mean? It means that all of our trustees and personnel are authentic and dedicated Christian people. It means that our academic, athletic, student development, seminary, and radio programming are intentionally constructed upon a biblical worldview with the purpose of teaching or propagating a biblical worldview. It means that we make decisions we believe will advance our mission—“to enable individuals to apply unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world.” It does not mean we are perfect, but it does mean we strive for excellence, consistency with our biblical worldview, and effectiveness.
Sole Deo Gloria.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006
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