Trying to explore the “best access” of the Gospel to the collegians on secular campuses may seem a rather cryptic pursuit. CHRISTIANITY TODAY’S findings are based on the comments of Christian professors stationed on such campuses from coast to coast.—ED.
Freshmen arrive at the campus with “whatever pattern of religious conviction or code of morals was nurtured in the home church or high school” (Dr. Harold L. Alden, emeritus professor of astronomy, University of Virginia). “Young people mature early these days; I am pretty sure that most of them have already decided whether or not they are interested in any form of religion, and possibly just which form, before they reach college. Hence the importance of high-school programs like Young Life” (Dr. John R. Brobeck, professor and chairman of the department of physiology, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania). Most students will profess to be religious on entering, says Dr. Elbert H. Hadley, professor of chemistry at Southern Illinois University, “but the great majority leave their religion at home when they come. By the time they graduate, only a minority attend church.” Professor Hadley thinks the pressures contrary to Christianity are overwhelming: “During 15 years of teaching I haven’t seen a dozen students acknowledge Christ as their Saviour. I feel we must get the students before they come to college.” Granting that more students than we realize begin higher education with an “all settled” frame of mind, notes Dr. Arlan L. Edgar, associate professor of biology at Alma College, Alma, Michigan, nonetheless even an incoming student with a Christian background is “in for a rocky freshman year as far as his faith is concerned.” The early fall of a freshman’s career ...1
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