Guest / Limited Access /

Tonight, three of the largest Christian fellowships at the University of California, Berkeley, have arrived at First Presbyterian for a joint meeting. Hundreds of students, dressed in running shoes, jeans, and sweatshirts, spill into the sanctuary. A band warms up while students slap hands and hug. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has invited Campus Crusade for Christ and Asian American Christian Fellowship to hear a special speaker.

Excitement like this would characterize a large Christian gathering at Berkeley during any era. One fact, however, would certainly startle earlier generations. About 98 percent of this gathering is Asian American.

At Berkeley, California's premier public university, "evangelical Christian" and "Asian American" are almost interchangeable descriptions. Three trends come together. One is California's demographics: It is 11 percent Asian compared to 4 percent for the nation as a whole. Two is academic prestige: As the oldest and most selective campus of the University of California, Berkeley has an undergraduate population that is 42 percent Asian. (As a general rule, the more selective the school, the higher the percentage of Asian students.) Three is a national fact: Asian students are more likely to show Christian commitment than other ethnic groups, including whites.

Harvard is 17 percent Asian American; mit, 28 percent; Stanford, 24 percent; Princeton and Yale, 13 percent. At each of these schools, Asian students account for an even larger share of the Christian community. Often they meet in ethnically based fellowships, and these may be the schools' largest Christian ministries.

As a group they are hard-working—driven, some say—and morally conservative. Many come from ethnic churches—Chinese, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedPew: Evangelicals Stay Strong as Christianity Crumbles in America
Pew: Evangelicals Stay Strong as Christianity Crumbles in America
Amid changing US religious landscape, Christians ‘decline sharply’ as unaffiliated rise. But born-again believers aren't to blame.
TrendingInternational Mission Board Drops Ban on Speaking in Tongues
International Mission Board Drops Ban on Speaking in Tongues
New rules also loosen restrictions on baptism, divorce, and parents of teenagers.
Editor's PickThe Christians Who Annoy Us Are the Christians We Need Most
The Christians Who Annoy Us Are the Christians We Need Most
Why learning from those outside your tribe is essential to the church’s witness.
Comments
Christianity Today
The Tiger in the Academy
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.