Evangelical colleges and Bible schools have yet to be affected by consumerism in the way the above mock headline suggests. However, Christian higher education will probably soon feel the impact of consumerism in other ways. The constituents of evangelical colleges may ask some pointed questions about what kind of product such schools are releasing. And they have a right to know.

Earlier this year Jonathan Kaufman wrote a guest column for the New York Times, “Yale Cheated Me out of Truly Liberal Education.” Are some of our alumni ready to write a similar piece? Can the glowing claims of school catalogues and promotional literature be documented in the lives of graduates? Socrates reminds us that the “life that is unexamined is not worth living.” Have we been giving the graduates of our evangelical colleges the opportunities and the instruments that will help them examine their lives five, ten, fifteen, twenty, or thirty years after the commencement service?

A 1974 survey on doctrine and Christian conduct of Moody Bible Institute alumni revealed that these graduates wanted to talk to their school. After completing a twenty-one-page questionnaire, more than half of the 1,332 respondents took time to write some personal comments. (A few of them wrote two or three typed pages.) They seemed to be saying, “Why hasn’t anyone asked us these questions before?” At most Christian schools, no one has ever taken the time to ask graduates how their Christian liberal arts education has affected their lives.

Also in 1974, a survey was made of 311 Christian colleges, Bible colleges, and seminaries, from Appalachian Bible Institute to Yale Divinity School. The returns revealed that only seven schools had ever polled their graduates about doctrine ...

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