Engaging the Culture, Changing the World by Philip W. Eaton

“We must propose and model an alternative way of living and learning, standing out on the leading edge of culture, showing the way toward something profoundly more.”

The Christian university should not just be a school with chapels and Bible classes, it should provide incredibly more. In a culture that is pluralistic and post-Christian, secular universities have put huge questions marks by anything or anyone that proclaims truth. Colleges and universities once went after the heart and mind of a student, but today they attack the mind and abandon the heart.

Dr. Eaton, president of the Seattle Pacific University, calls for a university that challenges the mind and heart and the soul. Universities need to offer an overarching story and provide a map that directs our lives. They should be character-builders as well as centers of knowledge.

I think Dr. Eaton does a splendid job describing the challenges of the Christian university in our modern post-Christian culture. I am always a bit cautious when a Christian scholar starts asserting that all the problems of our culture can be solved if Christians were put back in charge. It is a bit foolish to say that our nation would be better if we held political, economic, or educational power in this country. In my opinion, we Christians do much better with change from the bottom up rather than the top down.

So what should we do? Should we attack the secular schools with all our resources in hopes that religion and theology can once again be integrated in America’s universities? No. Christian universities have a far different and far superior goal in mind that their secular counterpart. Our goal is to make Christian universities the guiding light of higher education. Our faculty, staff, and students should be different. If we become the leading edge of higher education, we can create some real change in our world.