The Idea of a Christian College: A Reexamination for Today's University by Todd C. Ream & Perry L. Glanzer

“The purpose of the university should be to develop human beings or persons to their full capacity.”

Christian higher education seems to have always been on the defense. As small liberal arts colleges gave away to land grant and research universities, Christians had to create their own realm of higher education. As society changed through the tumultuous twentieth century, big universities were on the forefront of this change while Christian schools lagged behind. When Christian campuses did change, it was met with great reluctance and resentment.

There have been plenty of books written about the purpose and mission of Christian higher education, yet, to me, they all seem to give the same message: Christian schools are better than non-Christian schools because they have the real truth in Jesus. Now, of course, no one says it that bluntly or absurdly.

While reading The Idea of a Christian College: A Reexamination for Today’s University, it like the authors were being very defensive, as if their book was responding to the accusation that Christian colleges and universities were inferior. To me, there was a strong us versus them mentality.

Although, I understand their defensiveness; Christian higher education has been a bit under fire as of late. I guess I am just getting tired of the war between Christian higher education and public universities. I don’t think one is better than the other, but they do serve different – yet both important – roles in our society.

In the end, I didn’t feel like this book was a great addition to the work published by Holmes back in 1975. I want to see a book dive deeper into the practices of a Christian university rather than just the soul and mission.

But there were a couple good quotes…

“Failure to place Christian worship at the center…of the Christian university, at the center of our common educational experience is to allow us to run the risk of being re-enslaved to gods of our own creation.”

“This side of eternity, we may never have all the answers. However, we will know the questions we should ask and trust in the wisdom God offers us to live faithfully in the meantime.”