Dear Campus Community,
We live in a culture saturated with profanity, violence, pornography, and more. The inundation of secular media has created a callousness and belittled a desire for purity in what we put before our eyes and in our minds. What may cause one person to stumble may not cause another to stumble, but we all recognize the cultural decay of the world in which we live.
There has never been a more important time to be intentional with everything we do during a student’s 1,000 days on our campus. We have the freedom to direct students’ lives through media, movies, music, novels, lectures, textbooks, and many other things on campus. To use that freedom wisely and intentionally, we must not be cavalier or sloppy with the things we put into their minds. We must make sure that we help our students to think biblically and critically about all things while not asking them to compromise high spiritual standards. As the culture continues to drift farther away from a biblical worldview, our task will continue to grow more difficult, but we remain committed to standing for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ. How may a young man or woman keep his or her way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Ps. 119:9).
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” So let us operate by our vision statement as we offer academic excellence in submission to biblical authority with intentional discipleship focused on transforming lives for the Gospel.
Some will fear that this results in legalism. It does not. What we endorse and require on campus is different from what we discipline or forbid an individual from doing. Imposing one person’s standard upon all is legalism. Commending what God commends as an institution is biblical wisdom. We must wisely avoid being a stumbling block to others while not imposing rules on individuals in a legalistic manner. Others will fear that this provides too much insulation from the culture. It does not. God’s Word commands us to be in the world but not of the world. We must learn about sin, but we should not experience all forms of it. We must teach other worldviews but in such a way to commend the truth and rightness of the biblical worldview. I suspect we are all in agreement on these things, but I commend them to you for your thinking as we move into more hostile waters culturally.
Finding the right balance of educating our students with excellence while strategically driving them toward Christ will not be easy in the days ahead. Yet we should never pray for an easy task, but for the strength to accomplish the most difficult task with wisdom. As we move forward into the future, let us be found faithful to care more about Scripture than culture, to care more about our testimony than our reputation in the academy, to care more about God’s approval than man’s acceptance, and as James 1:27 says, to remain unstained from the world.
Dr. Thomas White