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Let us be clear from the start. We love the idea of educating youth from a consistent, Bible-based worldview. But an ever-increasing number of “Christian colleges” no longer teach the authority of the Scriptures. So what do Christian colleges and seminaries really teach? This was not a pop quiz, and the schools were not asked any trick questions. Yet a recent nationwide survey by America’s Research Group uncovered some disturbing findings about many of today’s leading Christian colleges and seminaries.
“Something was happening . . . but before I spoke too loudly, I wanted to make sure that I could prove it.”
Ken Ham, president and CEO of Answers in Genesis, said the study originated as a result of troubling stories he kept hearing as he traveled worldwide, meeting with parents, pastors, and educators. “I knew something was happening out there,” he says. “Over the years my concerns continued to grow, but before I spoke too loudly, I wanted to make sure that I could prove it.”
To find more specifics about the beliefs and teachings of Christian colleges, America’s Research Group attempted to contact leaders at the schools in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). This conservative association of schools, now with over 110 member schools, restricts membership to schools with a “Christ-centered mission” that is “rooted in the historic Christian faith.” All their full-time faculty members and administrators must also profess faith in Christ.
Researchers also contacted “religiously affiliated” colleges listed in the Higher Education Directory. These schools are associated with various denominations, including mainline Protestant and a few Roman Catholic schools. (Interestingly, people from this group responded similarly to CCCU members. For example, 98% in both groups believed in the inspiration of Scripture, and there was only a 2% difference on belief in Christ’s virgin birth.)
The surveyors attempted to contact four specific types of school leaders, who set the direction of the school: presidents, vice presidents (or academic deans), heads of the science department, and heads of the religion (or theology) department.
In all, America’s Research Group interviewed 312 administrators and professors from 200 different colleges. The good news? Most respondents (98–99%) believe that the Bible is “inspired by God” and that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, died a substitutionary death on the Cross, and rose bodily from the grave.
But as the questions probed further, the news was not so good. For example, only 74% of respondents believe that Scripture is without error (“inerrant”). Even fewer (60%) accept the Genesis creation account of six literal 24-hour days. Ironically, the heads of the science departments were more likely to accept this than their colleagues in the religion departments (71% to 57%).
The research, published in the new book Already Compromised, paints a troubling picture of the Christian higher education system. Yet parents often send their children to these schools, trusting the professors to believe 100% of the Bible, when many professors and school leaders do not really believe all that the Bible teaches.
Almost all leaders at Christian colleges (presidents, vice presidents, and heads of the science and religion departments) say they believe in Scripture’s “inspiration,” and most accept the N.T. history regarding Christ. But that does not necessarily mean they hold the same high view of the inerrancy of Scripture and O.T. history.
What do the leaders at Christian colleges really believe? It depends on who you talk to!
*This was an open-ended question, not a yes/no question. But everyone was asked the exact same question.