Crosscurrents of exchange with the non-Christian world will help Christian colleges more effectively perform their tasks

Christian colleges have generally kept their students roped away from the dangers—real and imaginary—of the outside world. Yet Christ, speaking to his Father about believers, says that although they are not of the world (John 17:16) they are in the world (17:11), that they have been sent into the world (17:18), and that they are not to remove themselves from the world (17:15).

Almost by definition, Christian colleges tend to create barriers between those on the inside and those not. Despite a few channels to the outside, such as Christian service programs, intercollegiate competitions, and incidental daily contacts, there is too little real integration of Christian students with the world beyond the campus. The only world they know is the “Christian” world within campus boundaries.

As a result, many Christian colleges that aim to turn out leaders who will win the world to Christ tend to produce Christian isolationists. These men and women live out their days as much as possible in Christian surroundings—the evangelical church, Christian business associates, and Bible-conference vacations, and in time the Christian retirement community. Many of these graduates make comparatively little impact on the outside world because they are not really involved in it.

How can this be changed? How can Christian colleges begin to produce articulate and outgoing Christians able to live dynamically in a non-Christian environment?

The answer is that involvement with the outside world must become one of the goals of the Christian school. This requires a joint effort by administration and students; neither can do the job by itself. ...

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