An interview with Frank Gaebelein, educator, editor, writer, pianist, on his eightieth birthday.

Question: A decade or so ago we used to hear sporadic cries that what we need is a Christian university. Do we?

Answer: I’m not at all sure that we do, though I am not in principle opposed to the idea of a Christian university. But instead of spending multiple millions on building a new Christian university, I believe it is far more important to direct great amounts of money and effort toward strengthening existing Christian liberal arts colleges. The liberal arts curriculum is the very heart of higher education. Furthermore, we need to give much more attention and support to Christian elementary and secondary schools, which deal with youth in their most formative years.

Q: Following on from that, what do you see as the future of the Christian college?

A: In their survival through the difficult sixties the evangelical Christian colleges have demonstrated their strength. Their future seems to me to be assured, so long as they adhere to their distinctive Christian convictions and continue to study and practice a genuine integration of faith and learning. One of the hopeful signs is the Christian College Consortium, which is undoubtedly doing much to enrich Christian higher education.

Q: Robert Elmore, a distinguished organist, once made this plea in a Christian magazine: “Let us stop feeding our musical sensibilities on ashes.” What do you say to this? And do you think it is true that many evangelicals regard music in church worship as little more than light entertainment?

A: In general I agree with my friend Robert Elmore, though I would perhaps use a different word for “ashes.” The problem seems to be that a good many evangelical churches ...

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