In recent months, both the secular and the religious press have called attention to the economic plight of small, private colleges and universities. Evangelicals cannot ignore the serious question raised in an editorial in CHRISTIANITY TODAY, “Shall the Christian Colleges Die?” (May 21, 1971). We must face the realistic possibility that many Christian schools will be closing their doors; one estimate is that more than forty schools will shut down this year. Evangelical educators are aware that some hard decisions must be made if their schools are to survive.
Yet there are signs that the finest and strongest of our evangelical colleges will weather the storm and will continue to provide the high caliber of education for which they have become widely recognized. Crises are nothing new for the Christian colleges: their histories are replete with them. The Christian college has proved itself amazingly resilient.
In the previously mentioned issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, Frank E. Gaebelein sounded a challenge to evangelical educators, and a most timely one: “Christian education must explore new paths, though this may mean breaking with traditional ways of doing things.” Breaking with the traditional ways is no easy task, but evangelicals have been quite willing in the past to make necessary educational adjustments. To mention a few: they introduced the Sunday school, the Bible school, and in more recent times—yet long before reinforcement theory became popular in educational psychology—the motivational techniques of Sunday-school contests and prizes.
Is there an educational alternative to the private college for evangelicals to consider in the light of current economic stresses and strains? I propose that “Evangelical Living and Learning ...1
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