Friday, March 13, 2009

A Curious Trend

This upcoming Sunday's Christian Standard is the annual Christian College issue. They’ve added a new stat – percentage of students from Restoration Movement background. I was stunned at how low the figure is for some schools (William Jessup U – 15%; Hope International – 16%; Northwest Christian – 7.5%; Atlanta – 30%); and the low percentage overall (it looks like the average is around 60%).

I am pleased that “our colleges” are broadening the scope of influence and inclusion (and I do have a standard rebuttal to those who complain that “half of the students at _____________ are from denominations” – I tell them, “If you want to increase the percentage of RM students, then send more from your church.”).

I’m confident that some of these students will embrace N.T. Christianity when they learn about the way of God more adequately. However, I can’t help but wonder (and yes, I’ll admit that years of campmeetings and the like have probably contributed to my thinking; but personal observation bears this out as well) how many of these students will earn a degree and then go right back to their churches that are teaching false doctrine. And everybody thinks it’s great, because they are “serving God”. Or, even worse, they will find a ministry in one of our churches and bring their denominational doctrinal baggage with them.

I hope I'm wrong.


Anonymous said...

Who gives you the right to say what is the right truth or the "false" truth?

Soren said...

Jesus. Through His Word.

Gman said...

I've been wondering that same thing. SAD isn't it?

William Mckinley Dyer said...

I read the comment from "Anonymous" and thought to myself Jesus through His Word, then i read your response to him and i laughed.

Deano said...

One of my big gripes is that in the pursuit of the "almighty accreditation" - many have ceased to be Bible colleges in the traditional sense.

When it costs a young man wanting to enter the ministry 19,000 and up per year - how will he ever be able to perform ministry with that debt?

I just wish some would man up and say what they are - A Christian Liberal Art College (or university) and quit claiming to be preacher colleges!

Kathy said...

Must say, I loved the reference to R.C. Foster today. Brought back great memories of sitting at his feet for two sessions of his Gospel class. Didn't know then how awesome an experience that was! Thanks!

Brett Oliver said...

I'm new here - but, the Church needs to get off the "Bible College" bandwagon and do its job along with parents. There really should be no need for Bible College. I'd like to see them all go out of business because we were training our people in God's Word from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Just a thought... but when will the local church start training up guys for ministry? How can those of us in professional ministry mentor and coach guys who want to go into ministry and train them on the job--without them piling up so much debt?

Soren said...

Aaron & Brent,

I hear what you're saying. Another pertinent question, however, is how many churches are going to hire/call somebody who was “trained up through the local church”? They want Bible College graduates. And truthfully, I’ve met/heard some of the guys who went to the “school of evangelists” in the church basement. Put kindly, it shows.

Brett Oliver said...

Agree with your statement Soren - my statement was an ideal, a goal of sorts. I mean really, do you think Paul when he was establishing churches went to the Bible Colleges for apostolic leaders? We have this Western mindset that a leader of the church should be a graduate of seminary. I think that has done the Church a lot of harm over the last 4-5 hundred years - our people are passive in the ways of Jesus. If they rose from the congregation, I think we would come closer to the "priesthood of all believers."

Thanks for the post and the conversation.


Anonymous said...

I agree as well with the fact that a great majority of churches won't hire a guy unless he's got the degree. Heck, I've got one. Nothing wrong with them. But one thing I know about my Bible college degree--it really didn't help prepare me for the practical side of ministry (one of my profs even told us that).

What I'm thinking isn't necessarily the "church basement school" (we've got those here in the mountains of VA, too). Is there a way we can identify the guys in our churches, mentor and coach them through the practical side while they're getting the degree (which can be pursued via distance learning and/or online with some schools now)?

From personal experience, I think something like this needs to be explored. I've seen plenty of Bible College grads flame out as well, and they're saddled with a degree that may not serve them well outside of church work, as well as a lot of financial debt.

As always, Soren, excellent topics and discussion.