PREFACE (slide 1) Education has always been a significant part of the Christian experience. Jesus has been called “The Great Teacher,” and He was, but far more than that. For three years, the Twelve Disciples lived with and were taught by the Master. Those disciples wrote and taught what they had been taught throughout the known world. In 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, Paul listed the ability to teach as a necessary quality of Christian leadership. As the Church grew, teaching became increasingly structured – to ensure that Truth was known and followed in the multicultural Church.
PREFACE (slide 1)
Education has always been a significant part of the Christian experience. Jesus has been called “The Great Teacher,” and He was, but far more than that. For three years, the Twelve Disciples lived with and were taught by the Master. Those disciples wrote and taught what they had been taught throughout the known world. In 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, Paul listed the ability to teach as a necessary quality of Christian leadership. As the Church grew, teaching became increasingly structured – to ensure that Truth was known and followed in the multicultural Church.
PREFACE (slide 2)
The first recorded formal Christian Higher Education was in 425 A.D. at Constantinople, today’s Istanbul. The ruler of the Christian Byzantine empire, Theodosius II, founded a major university, Theology was at the center of the intent to develop a Christian culture. The University of Constantinople flourished until the fourteenth century. __________
Constantelos, Demetrius The Formation of the Christian Mind
PREFACE (slide 3)
In re-awakening Europe, the first university at Bologna, Italy, in 1088, was founded to strengthen knowledge of the Biblical Canon. Less than a century later, the University of Paris began, 1150, then Oxford University, England, in 1167 and Cambridge in 1209. Shortly after North America was colonized by Europeans, Harvard was founded in 1636, College of William and Mary in 1693, Yale in 1701, University of Pennsylvania in 1740, Princeton in 1746. All were founded with the purpose to spread knowledge of the Bible. Theology was at the center of the curricula, continuing the long practice of Christian principles at the center of learning.
PREFACE (slide 4)
The recognized value of a university founded on Christian principles, for the welfare of a people, led to several hundred other universities in Europe, North America, China, India, the Middle East, and Africa. However, omission of God grew almost imperceptibly. By 2000 A.D. very few universities remained committed to the knowing of God.
How did the intent to know God decay into widespread exclusion of God from higher learning? This case study notes some of the ‘small’ influences that led to this result.
PREFACE (slide 5)
First, intellectual communities gradually accepted reason as the sole measure of truth, with man as the final arbiter, replacing the knowledge of God as the supreme purpose of learning. This consequence of the Renaissance, then the Enlightenment, fundamentally changed the nature and purpose of Higher Education, and in fact, all education. In the 19th century, religion was deleted from the compulsory curriculum in France. During the 19th and 20th centuries, most universities followed the German lead of concentrating upon science and research, often considering religion unworthy of intellectual attention. Technology dominated universities instead of Theology. Man became his own god.
PREFACE (slide 6)
Africa is numerically the most Christian continent in the world. Yet the majority of its university professors have been trained in the humanist, rationalistic intellectual traditions dominant in Europe and North America. As a result, it is understandable that many Christian professors do not relate the God of all creation to the teaching and practice of their discipline. The result is a near absence of the Christian worldview and lessening of its impact in developing societies of the continent.
PREFACE (slide 7)
Two other factors, at least, endanger the integrity of African Christian universities. More than 30 African nations gained independence in the decade beginning in 1960. Each is gaining maturity through experiencing the costs of independence - confronting histories of domination, injustice, gross inequalities, poverty, ignorance, and hopelessness – without a solid grip on what is Absolute. Christian universities were designed to lead the way to a future of hope – by learning from the past, learning from others, and collaborating with worldwide Christian communities. It is unnecessary, and damaging, to talk and act as if each African community can do everything by itself. De-colonizing in that way only leads to arrogant ethnicity – tribalism, and internal conflict.
PREFACE (slide 8)
Lastly, the effort to walk as equals has led to a greed for the trappings of power – possessions, property, and prestige. Amassing more money than can be used in a lifetime has become the ultimate game – even of university professors and their leadership. Education has become a business, not just business-like, but a money-making business. At all levels, from primary through graduate school, profit determines class size, selection of teachers (less competence costs less), and courses offered. Concentration on spiritual and social needs is less profitable than teaching technology – which promises a polluted tomorrow with increasing inequality. The search for profit diverts universities from research focused on community needs to that which brings immediate and maximum profit.
PREFACE (slide 9)
These three devastating delusions are delaying a new day: 1) replacing God as Truth with Man’s reasoning, 2) prideful independence replacing collaboration, and 3) education for profit rather than transformation.
By returning to the Plumbline, the Word of God, for the building and functioning of our universities, hope for a new day can be restored.
Although originally published in 1992, this book is still used in the classroom and in the mission field. This classic is available in both soft cover and eBook versions. Recent adoptions by institutions of higher education include: Biola University and Moody Bible Institute-Spokane. Please click here or the button to the right to purchase a printed or eBook copy of Creating Understanding!.