Bruce Ashford is a professor of theology and culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also serves as provost and dean of the faculty. Dr. Ashford is an incisive commentator on faith and culture, and his book Every Square Inch is a wonderful introduction to Christian cultural engagement.
One particularly interesting chapter concerns the relationship between faith and scholarship. In it, Ashford observes:
When an 18-year-old believer enters college, she often is entering an environment in which the smartest people she will meet (her professors) are opposed to Christianity. In fact, many universities and academic disciplines have become breeding grounds for professors who take delight in undermining or even mocking our deepest Christian convictions. The university is one of the most influential institutions in the modern world, a funnel through which hundreds of thousands of young people pour out annually into every sector of human life. It is not altogether implausible to say, “As the university, so goes the next generation (115).
He goes on to say, “However, from my experience, I’ve learned that many 18-year-olds enter college with very little ability to think Christianly or critically.” Consequently, students usually fall into one of two ditches. Either students will compartmentalize their faith or compromise their convictions. That is, students will either learn to push their faith aside or defy the tenants of their faith as a way to solve the tension created by a professor’s contradictions of their Christian faith.
If Ashford is right, and I believe he is, the pressing need of the hour is a more focused and intense discipleship model, one that fosters the development of a comprehensive Biblical worldview. That is what we aim to do at CLA. We want students to graduate from this institution ready to defend their faith with the kindness and conviction of Christ. We desire to see the next generation lead in all spheres of life, including the sphere of higher learning.
Personally, I cannot think of a better way to spend my day.