Creation crisis in Christian colleges [Excerpts]
While many believers are committed to a Christian college education, escalating college costs are forcing these Christians to be very careful in their shopping for colleges (either for themselves or for their children). If one believes, as I do, that creation is foundational to all education, then an important criterion should be what the college professors teach about Genesis.
Recently, both the Wheaton College student newspaper and Chicago Tribune ran stories about the age of the earth in Christian colleges. Now, controversy in Christian colleges is not new. Nor is young-earth versus old-earth a new conflict in the church, for it’s been with us for over two centuries.
So why is there a conflict? The rub comes from the fact that although 44–47% of the population seems to believe in something resembling young-age creationism, probably more than 90% of Christian colleges and their professors do not. With the exception of Seventh Day Adventist colleges, it’s virtually impossible to find young-age creation taught at denominational colleges (Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, Nazarene, etc.), and some, such as (Southern Baptist) Baylor University, won’t even teach Intelligent Design. The Christian colleges which teach young-age creation are few and far between.
OK, but why can’t you simply go to a Christian college and stand firm on the age of things? The answer, in my experience, is that believers can more easily stand firm in their Christian beliefs in a secular university (where you know you can’t believe much of anything you hear about origins) than to stand in sectarian beliefs in a Christian college (where it’s hard not to trust professors who stand before you in such good Christian standing).
As an example, the Tribune article mentions three biology majors at Olivet Nazarene College who entered the school as creationists, but who are now theistic evolutionists. As a further example, the Wheaton College newspaper shows the results of a student survey (42% of the students responded) which showed that whereas 47% believed in a young earth before entering Wheaton (the same percentage which Gallup finds for the population at large in its polls), only 27% believed in a young earth by the time of the survey. The same survey indicated that Wheaton professors were a greater influence on their age-of-earth belief than their parents were!
The adoption of a Christian college’s teaching should be a concern to any young-earth creationist looking for a good Chrisitan college.