of Christian colleges is, unfortunately, largely a sad one. Yes,
the stories usually start well. But the continuing accounts often
reveal once-strong evangelical institutions that have abandoned
their roots, their Christian charters ignored.
Our pilgrim forefathers
never conceived of any institution of higher learning devoid of
a spiritual core. Six of nine colleges in colonial America came
into existence directly as the result of revivals. Harvard and
Princeton were founded to train young men for ministry. Brown,
Rutgers and Dartmouth all claim Christian antecedents, the latter
specifically for Native Americans.
Yet, by the time George
Whitefield, the leading evangelist of the 18th-century Great Awakening,
arrived on our shores, the situation had so significantly deteriorated
that he denounced some of the colleges as “abodes of darkness,
a darkness which could be felt.”
said, was filled with “Pharisees, resting on head knowledge.”
Yale was founded to counter Harvard’s spiritual drift.
Yet, it didn’t
take Yale itself long to drift. When Timothy Dwight, grandson
of revivalist Jonathan Edwards (briefly president of Princeton),
became president of Yale in 1795, neither the Yale faculty nor
student body claimed to be Christian. Despite opposition, Dwight
led Yale back into a move of God that lasted for several years.
The more recent list
of Christian colleges that have broken from their moorings is
lengthy. Historically, many begin their slide when they sever
ties with the original church governing body. But my point is
not to list these myriad institutions. It is, instead, to challenge
us to realize that an institution of Christian higher learning
is never more than a generation from complete apostasy …
and even Assemblies of God schools must remain ever vigilant.
Thankfully, they have.
Our Fellowship has a rich history of colleges and universities
birthed in the fire of Pentecostal revival. You will find no spiritual
meltdown in the institutions of the Assemblies of God. The pages
that follow should supply ample evidence of that.
— Ken Horn
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