The Indispensable Christian College

What a difference a decade makes! Ten years ago Christian colleges ducked into the 1970s under the cloud of the question, “Would they survive the decade with strength and quality?” Economically, a “New Depression” had been declared in American higher education and Christian colleges were predicted to be the first victims. A “shrinking pool” of high school graduates was forecast for the middle of the decade, with a devastating impact upon smaller institutions. Worse yet, most Christian colleges had been written off as “invisible” in a national study of educational impact.

All of these doses of doom were being spooned out in the violent days of student revolt. Although Christian colleges were relatively immune from the rebellion, they were expected to feel the aftershock in changing moral values that would render them obsolete. No wonder grossly exaggerated rumors about the death of the Christian college circulated far and wide at the opening of the 70s.

Experts are still trying to figure out where their predictions went wrong. The 1970s was a decade of birth, growth, and maturity for Christian higher education. Enrollment increased ahead of the national average. Parents and students sacrificed for the values of the Christian campus despite rising tuition costs. After a period of adjustment and financial self-discipline, the ink on the books for the average Christian college changed from red to gray to black.

Most amazing of all against the malaise of moral deterioration in the secular culture, Christian colleges became centers for spiritual and intellectual renewal. Students who were products of the born-again movement led the way with fresh and joyful experiences in the body of Christ around ...

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