Recalling his preaching mission at a well-known secular university, a prominent evangelist recently commented in private conversation about the shocking pornography displayed in dormitory rooms, and the widespread sex immorality confessed by students. “I sent my daughter to——College,” lamented another evangelical leader, “and now I’m told that all the social decencies I have insisted on are prudish!” Remarked a New York lawyer: “If you send your daughter to——, you must expect her to come home holding a cigarette in one hand, a cocktail in the other, and strutting a cynical attitude toward our American ideals.”

When education professedly dedicated to truth is indifferent to moral purity it becomes but an enterprise of sophistry and sham. By whatever disciplines and standards it upholds, every school implies approval or disapproval of a given way of life.

Christian institutions, too, would belie their heritage and purpose were they not interested in preserving scriptural standards of conduct as well as of doctrine. A church constituency has a right, therefore, to look to a Christian campus for higher social mores. Among church-related institutions the issue in debate is not whether but rather which criteria best reflect evangelical sanctification. Is the evangelical safeguard against the immorality prevalent in secular circles a campus code that stipulates “no card-playing, no smoking, no movies, no dancing, no drinking”? Some schools feel that annual student subscription to these regulations is as essential for protecting evangelical vitality as is annual faculty subscription to a doctrinal platform.

Sometimes, however, an almost anti-intellectual approach to Christian education lurks in the shadow of this separationist emphasis. ...

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

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

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.