In his book, Precarious Vision, Peter Berger talks about a man standing in judgment before God. He is to give an account of his stewardship, but quickly finds that his alibis for indifference, inefficiency, and inaction crumble before the Almighty’s discerning eye. If, during his lifetime, he had scrutinized his behavior from God’s vantage point, things might have gone better. But alas, it is too late. The last scene finds him naked, shivering, and stripped of all defenses.
Berger views the situation from the individual’s standpoint. However, it is vital that Christians view it in the collective context as well. God’s assessment of us depends on his commission to us. And for the Christian college, that commission is developing world-changing Christians. We can—and should—produce change agents like those in the early church who “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).
Understanding The Word
In accomplishing this mandate, Christian higher education must first help us understand the Word of God. To illustrate, let me call attention to certain, all too common, mishandlings of Scripture that prevent us from becoming more concerned over the plight of God’s world.
1. Among evangelicals, there are those who believe that human suffering is a sign of Christ’s imminent return (1 Tim. 3:13); and that whatever they do, things will only get worse. Yet this scarcely excuses the Christian from social responsibility. To do nothing is like a doctor concluding that since all his patients will eventually die, he might as well stop treating them.
2. A corollary is the suspicion or conviction that suffering is somehow related to the sins of the sinner. That one may suffer in this life ...1
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