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Another Reason to Choose a Christian College

My youngest is choosing a college. I hope she will choose a Christian college.

The preeminent university in her field is so anti-Christian that they expelled Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship from their school. Certainly, that academic community needs ambassadors of Christ, but do I want my daughter subjected to their constant indoctrination?

To choose a Christian college, or a secular one, is to open oneself to a lifetime of understanding based on a particular worldview.

To choose a Christian college, or a secular one, is to open oneself to a lifetime of understanding based on a particular worldview.

While we need to embrace our roles as the priesthood of believers, Malachi 2:7 (below) can imply that she has a more immediate duty than taking her priestly self too quickly into the lion’s den. Many young adults would be wise to use their college years to prepare for their priestly duties, which they will perform over the rest of their lives.

As Malachi infers, developing our walk with God as his priests is our first responsibility.

“True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth.”  (Malachi 2:6–7)

Allow me to write to you as I would to any young Christian in helping them to answer the question: why should I attend a Christian college or university?

Choose a Christian College Because We Are Priests

for the lips of a priest ...”

Who are today’s priests?  In Judaism, the priests, the descendants of Aaron, still exist today. They are not, of course, sacrificing lambs on alters. In the synagogue, descendants of Aaron will be the first of several people to be called upon to chant a blessing on the reading of the Torah. There are no other duties of which I am aware and, as a descendent of Aaron, I am a priest. (But, since I have met Yeshua, the rabbi in my parent’s synagogue will certainly not invite me to chant any more blessings!)

Today, it is the rabbis, not the priests, who would be expected to teach the meaning of the Torah.  Today’s Aaronic priests have few duties because their sacrificial duties ended when the Romans destroyed the Temple in AD 70.

How could we be Jews without the sacrifices? Judaism had to be reinterpreted, and it was the Pharisaical interpretation that emerged as dominant. Since the Pharisees were based in the synagogues, the synagogues emerged as the preeminent center of Jewish life, and their teachers, the rabbis, as its preeminent leaders.

Since the Temple was destroyed in AD 70, there is not an active priesthood in the Jewish community,  but there is a New-Testament priesthood. Of course, there is the Catholic designation of “priest,” but Evangelicals will immediately think of the fact that we all together make up a kingdom of priests. We are a holy priesthood, ambassadors of Christ, messengers, and stewards of messages from God.

Thus, priestly honors and duties apply to all of us.

Choose a Christian College Because We Are Messengers

“because he is a messenger of the Lord almighty …

Among our priestly duties are those of being a messenger. A messenger has a stewardship, a responsibility—to receive and deliver messages. A messenger who must explain complex messages would need a deep understanding of these messages.

To Explain the Messages, a Priest Ought to Preserve Knowledge

ought to preserve knowledge …

It was the priest’s duty to study the Law and to teach it faithfully. This is also a requirement for all of us that make up the priesthood of believers. As priests, our duty is not merely to try to be a good person, attend church, witness, or even teach Sunday school. It is certainly not to perform church rituals (like the sacrifices priests offered at the Temple).

We have a duty, an obligation, a responsibility to preserve knowledge of the holy.

In general, of course, knowledge is good. If we converse with educated people at our job, our neighborhood, our community, we hopefully have been faithful enough in our education to be perceived as credible. Therefore, as priests, we take seriously our studies in whatever subject. We should study broadly, but we cannot be experts on everything. Nevertheless, when it comes to the things of God, we all must study them deeply.

Would a shallow understanding that came from what we learned as children in Sunday school suffice? Be careful not to graduate with a college-level understanding of social sciences, secular literature, and humanities, while having only a Sunday-school-child’s-level understanding of the things of God.

Since we are a kingdom of priests who are called to become expert on things of God, study the things of God with no less perseverance than you would study your favorite college subjects.

Priests Are Full of Knowledge That Fills Us With Faith

True instruction was in his mouth … ” (NIV).

True instruction was in the priest’s mouth because the truth of God—His word and the things of God—were constantly fermenting in his mind and heart. It is what we dwell on that comes to our lips.

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34 NIV).

Don’t we long to be so full of the awareness of God that things of God are what naturally comes to our lips?  The Syriac version of the Old Testament reads, “for the lips of the priest drop knowledge” (Malachi 2:7).  We want to be so full of the Knowledge of God that if someone pricks us, what oozes out are things of God.

To be so caught up in an awareness of God, so full of the Spirit that one’s lips naturally drop God-inspired knowledge may require more than a daily quiet time and a weekly trip to church. We want to take every opportunity to feed on what is spiritually nutritious. This can include constantly memorizing and meditating on Scripture, reading Christian books, listening to Christian music, but can also suggest the need to sit under Godly mentors and next to Godly peers in college.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1 KJV).

Much of my life, I filled my mind with useless things. At odd moments, the songs of my teen years, all of them secular, still come back to my mind. I want my kids to have Christian songs come back to their minds.  And I wonder what memories will keep reoccurring from their special and formative time in college.  If we are hungry for a deeper connection with God, we must hunger for more Godly influence in our lives.

Knowledge that Does Not Fit in the Temple

My mother made a needlepoint picture for me that has great meaning.  It is a Talmudic scholar in his study.

Should we censor sages who dare to study revelation from the High and Exalted One?

Should we censor sages who dare to study revelation from the High and Exalted One?

For centuries, the Jewish community revered the sages of religious knowledge. Eventually, the Jewish community tended to revere all kinds of scholarship and all kinds of scholars. All knowledge is good, but secular colleges are gaining a growing reputation for censoring free speech—particularly speech that challenges the politically correct orthodoxy of left-leaning thought.

As over-worn as the cliché may be, it is still true that some are drifting toward teaching students what to think instead of teaching them how to think. Therefore, “all kinds of scholarship” is commonly not revered or even allowed in secular academia.

What are secular college students taught to think about Christianity?

At best, Christianity is portrayed as being as useful as horse shoes in an auto-parts store. Are young adults, perhaps in their first season of living away from home, ready for this indoctrination?  A 19-year-old college student may not be able to match arguments with his 37-year old professor, but by the time that college student is 37, he should have spent so much time studying his faith that he would be ready.  Today, for instance, I can tell you why Paul was not the inventor of Christianity, but I was not ready to explain that when I was told at my state university that he was.

Priests Turn Others Away from Sin

“and turned many from sin …

The overflowing knowledge of God that springs from a spiritually well-fed priest turns many from the destructive, deterioratingness of soul that is a danger now and eternally. When young adults go off to college, they are entering a key season of life. They are making life-altering decisions concerning careers, habits, friends, and spouses.

When dealing with impressionable, young adults, we long for professors who, like the first priest, Levi, “… walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin” (Malachi 2:6 NIV). But, secular academia is not interested in turning many from sin. It is more common to hear of professors who are interested in turning many from Christianity.

Would we want the priests of Ba’al teaching us sociology, history, philosophy, and ethics from their worldview?

What about the priests of radical secularism, leftism, or those committed to some agenda relating to sex, environmentalism, politics, or gender?

What bits of truth would be left out of an American history course?  Would professors emphasize events that support their values and fail to reveal events that support ours, as Howard Zinn has taught his disciples to do?

Professors carry a great influence on how students see the world throughout their careers. Beware of instructors and colleges that have a reputation for turning many toward sin instead of from it.

Is it preferable for Christian students to be in an environment where they would have to constantly be on their guard?  A Christian liberal arts college will prepare students to practice a variety of careers. Such colleges may not require a great deal of study of the Bible, but will teach from a Christian worldview so that graduates will think and act biblicly. Bible colleges typically require at least 30 credits of Bible and theology, and often offer majors preparing students for a variety of careers.

These are environments where students have chosen to be influenced by Godly mentors and Godly peers.

Choose a Christian College Because People Seek Our Opinion on Things of God

… people seek instruction from his mouth.”

We are responsible to God and to our neighbors to be prepared to instruct. We are commissioned to be ready with a storehouse of knowledge so that we have what is needed by those who, at any time, might require our counsel. For us, study is a lifelong responsibility. And college is a special opportunity to be prepared for a lifetime of study.

To choose a college is to choose mentors, influences, and a destiny. In fact, one’s destiny intertwines with many people. So, in addition to choosing our own destiny, choosing a Christian college can impact the destinies of neighbors, colleagues at work, nephews, sons-in-law, or others who may seek instruction from one’s mouth.

Consider how in the course of life, even our teen years, people discuss many personal things with us: relationship issues, family matters, disappointments, work, money… and even on things pertaining to God. There are times when we need to have stored up a reservoir of knowledge from which to draw.

The more we have faithfully been storing up knowledge, the more equipped we are to become personal counselors in the midst of the people with whom we interact. Because of the combination of our knowledge of the things of God, and our own experience of walking with Him, there are those who will even seek us out for guidance through their life’s circumstances.

To prepare to be people from whom others should seek instruction, from whom should we seek instruction?  From those who themselves have not preserved knowledge of God and serve in institutions that censor such instruction?

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1 KJV).

A Father Sighs Relief

My daughter has narrowed her search to two Christian colleges. While she still faces many decisions pertaining to majors, concentrations, careers…, she will be in an environment where Godly influences and counsel will help her to find her way, as well as to become a more Godly influence and counselor to others.

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2 Responses to Another Reason to Choose a Christian College

  1. Mike Wood 04/13/2016 at 5:30 pm #

    So where did she go? =)

    • David Agron, Ph.D. 05/03/2016 at 10:04 pm #

      Honors program at Azusa Pacific University

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