Christianity helped conceive the idea of the university, which developed from schools attached to great cathedrals in places like Paris and Bologna.[i] The pattern continued in America. Beginning with Harvard University in 1636, for the next two centuries most institutions of higher learning east of the Mississippi River were founded by a religious or specifically Christian group. Yet today, the only thing left of biblical Christianity in most of these institutions is the Scripture reference inscribed on the gatepost.
“To anyone who investigates the current academic standing of reason, truth, knowledge, human individuality, and even the meaning of meaning itself, the thought is hard to avoid: if this is not a crisis, it is certainly not an intellectual position on which to sustain a great civilization or even a satisfactory university.”[ii]
“The modern academy has lost any consensus on that which is true, good, or beautiful. That’s another way of saying that the ontological and epistemological foundation for the pursuit of truth has pretty much crumbled, leaving a worldview vacuum of yawning proportions.”[iii] Postmodern thought’s greatest cultural foothold is in the academy.[iv]
In the postmodern university, the clearly dominant viewpoint teaches students that truth does not exist and that there is no meaning or morality (and thus, no hope). Yet people continue to send their children there.
No one suggests that students cannot receive a “higher education” at a contemporary public university. Of course they can and do. But students cannot receive a Christian “higher education” in a public institution of higher learning. This is one reason Cornerstone University exists.
Of even greater importance are the needs of people in current culture. God said to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). So Cornerstone University cannot proceed, “business as usual,” blithely ignoring the spiritual destitution of our neighbors. Men and women, their culture, and the created order stand in need of redemption and reconciliation found only in the One who said, “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).
This fact compels us. This must become Cornerstone University’s passion. Cornerstone University must, therefore, offer distinctive academic programs that prepare Christian students for a life calling of serving God and enjoying his creation by evangelizing people and transforming culture for Jesus Christ.
[iii] S.D. Gaede, “The Christian University in a Divided Society,” in David S. Dockery and David P. Gushee, eds., The Future of Christian Higher Education, (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Pub., 1999), pp. 91-92.
[iv] Os Guinness, Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What To Do About It, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994), p. 107.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006
*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.