Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Can There Be a Christian Univeristy?

Owen Strachan has a good post here, reflecting on Kenneth Kantzer's assessment of Carl F. H. Henry. Kantzer thought that Henry's greatest failure was in not establishing his dream of establishing a "great Christian university--and his greatest achievement being his advocacy of Christianity as a compelling, viable world-and-life view.

A number of years ago D.A. Carson took up the former topic in his essay, “Can There Be a Christian University?The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 1:3 (1997): 20–38

He proposed eight theses and four priorities (below), but read the whole thing for his explanations and various sub-points on what this would look like in terms of structure and vision.

  1. A university is a tertiary-level institution devoted to study and education in a plurality of fields at both undergraduate and graduate levels, controlled by some unifying Vision.
  2. A Christian university is God-centered in the structure of its thinking and in the establishment of its priorities, cheerfully pledging allegiance to the Christian revelation, and in particular the focal point of that revelation, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the gospel he has proclaimed.
  3. A Christian university is passionately committed to the formation and maintenance of a Christian worldview.
  4. Because Christians recognize their finiteness and their sinful minds, the Christian university is called, whatever its prophetic voice, to humility of mind and the kind of communal care that fosters integrity and candor.
  5. Because of its God-centeredness, the Christian university will recognize that it is beholden to the church, to the world, and to the God who inhabits eternity.
  6. Because of its God-centeredness, the Christian university seeks to maintain a tension between a world-wide openness on the one hand, and cultural integrity and sensitivity at the local level on the other.
  7. Within the vision of the Christian university already laid out, it is entirely appropriate to provide both liberal arts education and professional training.
  8. A Christian university will rigorously reflect on academic freedom and confessional Fidelity.
  1. Teach the Bible.
  2. Teach the Bible worldviewishly.
  3. Pursue excellence.
  4. Reflect hard and often on how to preserve the institution.