America’s Christian colleges are in trouble. About thirty-five have died this year, unable to cope with soaring costs and exploding fields of knowledge. And observers predict nearly 1,000 deaths in the next two decades. But the crisis has spurred a lot of fresh thinking among educators. Consider these pioneering efforts:

  • In Detroit, nondenominational John Wesley Foundation hopes to sponsor some twenty-five satellite schools in the next five years. The plan: students would take most of their course work at secular colleges, while living and studying religion at a near-by Christian campus called, at each location, John Wesley College. The degree would come from the secular school.
  • Near San Diego, Skyline Christian Institute will begin pilot classes this month for a similar, but graduate-oriented, satellite school. The institute describes itself as a “powerhouse, generating a love of Christ which the students carry daily on to the secular campus,” rather than “a greenhouse in which we cultivate students in isolation from the secular world.”
  • Close to the nation’s capital, a Baptist minister is planning an experiment in “world-community” to be called Dag Hammarskjold College. Though the school is described as a “Christian mission,” its goals sound more like those of the secular university.
  • Ground has been broken in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for American College, a superpatriotic school that will affirm “Americanist ideas.”

Spearhead of the Wesley colleges is Dr. Kenneth Armstrong, 42, pastor of Detroit’s First Nazarene Church. The first Wesley college is scheduled to open in two years with a $6 million-dollar plant in Detroit (the only major city in America without ...

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