Why You Should Be Careful Which Christian College You Attend

by Ken Ham on February 26, 2023
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

Does it matter which Christian college you send your child to? Many Christians don’t believe so, trusting that any college that claims Christ is better than sending their child to a pagan, secular university. But is this really true?

Christian colleges who have compromised the truth of God’s Word (and there are many of them) can actually be more damaging to a young person’s faith than out-right, in-your-face atheism.

Well, I would say no, not necessarily. Christian colleges that have compromised the truth of God’s Word (and there are many of them) can actually be more damaging to a young person’s faith than out-right, in-your-face atheism. Think about which is more dangerous:

  • A professor who claims to be a believer, says he loves God and believes his Word, and yet subtly twists the Scriptures, undermines their authority, and plants seeds of doubt, dragging young people away from their “sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3) into a pseudo or weak Christianity that lacks the clarity of the Scriptures, refuses to speak authoritatively to the issues of our day, and puts Scripture in subordination to man’s reasoning and emotions OR
  • An atheistic professor who cares nothing for God’s Word and rejects it out of hand as a book of fairytales while showing disinterest or antagonism towards Christians.
No college is perfect, but there are still Christian colleges here in the US that believe God’s Word and hold to its authority in all areas.

Obviously neither of these scenarios is good (and, thankfully, there’s a third option!), but I would argue that the first scenario is actually the more dangerous one for young people. Remember, God’s Word teaches that if the salt is contaminated, it’s no longer good for anything (Matthew 5:13). Christian colleges that compromise the truth of God’s Word are leading young people astray, and sadly, many college students graduate as unbelievers or as professing believers who condone, or even openly practice, sin and think exactly like the world. As God’s Word states, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

So, what’s the third option? Well, for those who wish to attend college, the third option is a solid, Bible-believing, gospel-teaching Christian college. Now, of course, no college is perfect, but there are still Christian colleges here in the US that believe God’s Word and hold to its authority in all areas. Find these colleges and send your child there instead!

But how do you find such a school? Well, here are three practical ideas:

  1. Find the college’s statement of faith. Most Christian institutions have a statement of faith page on their website (and if they don’t, that’s a big red flag!). If you or your child is interested in a college, go straight to that webpage and pay attention to what they say but also to what they don’t say on that page. Is it detailed? Is it very vague? Does it give specifics about what they believe, or does it leave everything very general? What do they say about Genesis? What about the Word of God? If the statement of faith is very vague and general or uses phrases such as “the Bible contains the Word of God” or “the Bible is a source of truth,” you should probably start looking at another college! As a guide, check out the Answers in Genesis statement of faith on our website and use it for comparison. (https://answersingenesis.org/about/faith/)

  2. Investigate who the school invites to speak. See if the school livestreams or posts its chapel services. See who they are asking to come and present and what kind of content these speakers are presenting—does it align with God’s Word? Is it rich and biblically solid? Or is it fluffy, merely appealing to students’ emotions? Who the college invites to speak in their chapel can be a good indication of what kind of teaching they allow and promote.

  3. Talk to the college. If the college you are considering has a robust statement of faith that seems biblically sound, don’t just stop there. Talk to representatives from the school, especially the president, dean of students, or the Bible and science department heads, if possible (you may have to be persistent!). If you are visiting the school while classes are in session, talk to students about what is really being taught in classrooms—you might be surprised!

    So, what should you ask? Ask very specific questions that truly get to the “meat” of what the college believes to ensure that what you mean by, for example, “biblical inerrancy,” is the same as what the school means when its claims “we believe in biblical inerrancy.” People don’t always mean what they say, so asking repeated, clarifying questions can be invaluable. Here are some ideas for questions you can ask (These are the questions we suggest in my 2011 co-authored book, Already Compromised; it’s a great resource to help you choose a biblically sound college.):

    1. Is God triune (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)?
    2. When did death and suffering enter into the world (for man and for animals)? That’s a crucial question.
    3. Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Creator?
    4. Do you believe the days in Genesis are literal, approximately 24-hour days?
    5. Is it proper to interpret Genesis to conform to what one already believes about the past, or should one change one’s belief to conform to what Genesis says? In other words, should Genesis be interpreted in the style it is written (literal history), or should it be interpreted in some other fashion (i.e., in light of millions of years and evolution)?
    6. Has a human male and female been around since the beginning of creation; did they evolve from a lower life form; or did God create them millions of years after creation?
    7. Do you believe there are intelligent alien life forms?
    8. Did God use a big bang?
    9. Was the Flood of Noah’s day global or local (regional)?
    10. Do you believe Satan/Lucifer rebelled before or after the end of day 6 of the creation week discussed in Genesis 1—Genesis 2:3?
    11. Why don’t people today believe the gospel when we boldly preach it?
    12. How many “races” of people did God create?
    13. Was the fossil record primarily laid down by Noah’s flood and how does this relate to the age of the earth?
    14. Is Genesis important when preaching the gospel in today’s culture?
    15. Are there any legitimate contradictions in the Bible?

Carefully consider how the answers are given to the questions above—were they given confidently? Did the person answering use vague, “slippery” language? All of these are clues into how seriously the school takes the Bible and biblical truth.

You can discover more about choosing a Christian college in an episode of the brand-new podcast, Zero Compromise, hosted by Answers in Genesis’ Patricia Engler, Rob Webb, and Jessica Jaworski. We’re very excited about this new podcast, designed specifically to reach young people (please share it with others!). I encourage you to watch the episode “Picking Your (Next) College” below and subscribe to enjoy all the coming episodes (they have some very exciting guests in future episodes!):

A Helpful Resource for High School Students

Whether you plan to send your child to a secular or Christian institution for post-secondary education, I strongly encourage you to give them a copy of Patricia Engler’s (speaker and writer for AiG) college survival guide, Prepare to Thrive.

This really is an excellent resource that we would love to see in the hands of every Christian high school student (which is why we offer discounted bulk pricing). You can find Prepare to Thrive on our online bookstore.

Oh, and every year in November at the Ark Encounter, we host a Creation College Expo featuring Christian colleges from across the nation so students can meet with the representatives one-on-one, hear teaching from AiG speakers, and tour the Ark for free. It’s south of Cincinnati.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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