It was February of the year I was to graduate High School. I had been granted a scholarship to attend a well-known university as a pre-law student. My college plans were set.
Until the Lord turned my world upside down by turning me to Himself. A most unlikely convert – I became a committed Christian.
In not too long a time I met with one of my High School teachers – who happened to be a pastor. He was the only pastor I knew. Thankfully, he was a minister who believed the Bible is the Word of God and who held to historic Christian teaching. (Sadly, that’s not true of all who bear the title of Christian pastor or minister.) He began discipling me – and I will thank the Lord for all eternity for that time he spent with me so patiently and carefully,
In the course of those meetings, the pastor expressed his concern that, as a very young Christian, I would be attending a college that would hardly be a good environment to encourage my new faith. He suggested that I go to a Christian college.
This was right out of left field. I had no idea what he was talking about. (And, remember, my plans for college were already set.) I asked him what a “Christian college” was.
The pastor explained to me that all schools have certain philosophies of education – ideas that govern the way the school (or its various schools) view the world and everything about it. (I later came to learn that these were actually faith commitments – religious commitments even if the school claimed not to be religious.) Particularly because I had come to faith in Christ after toying with a lot of very weird ideas in that tumultuous period of the late 1960s, the wise pastor told me that it would be good if I could go to a college with faith commitments that would encourage me in my faith rather than discourage or actively oppose it.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
I ended up giving up the scholarship to what I’ll simply call “The secular college”, and, instead, attending a Christian college (actually, a university) where I received both my bachelor’s degree and my first master’s degree.
In more ways than I could ever express to you, my life became (and is still today) totally different because of those years at a Christian college:
- I developed friendships with other committed Christian classmates who gave me a network of encouragement in my new faith.
- I was blessed with committed Christian teachers who became role models for me.
- I began to learn how to think about every academic discipline in ways that were faithful to the Word of God and that honored Jesus Christ. It was my introduction to the fascinating challenge of “bringing every thought captive” to Jesus Christ as the source of all Truth.
- I grew in my communication skills in a school that put an emphasis on helping young people express their faith naturally and effectively in every calling in life.
- Through healthy extra-curricular activities, I was able to develop my gifts in ways that formed me for my eventual work as a Christian pastor and leader.
- And last, but hardly least, I met the wonderful, committed Christian woman who would one day become my wife and the mother of our six children.
As you can tell, I don’t need to be convinced of the benefits of a Christian college.
But I want you to be!
And that’s our topic for today’s A Visit to the Pastor’s Study: The Benefits of a Christian College. It’s not wrong to attend (or to let your son or daughter attend) a secular college or university. I’m not saying that. But there are many, many benefits of attending a good Christian college. And I want you to think about that with us in the hour ahead.
I’m fascinated with the vast background and experience of my guest today on A Visit to the Pastor’s Study. Dr. Mark Hijleh has served as Provost of The King’s College in New York City since July of 2014. (He also serves as Professor of Music at The King’s College.) Before that he served for over 20 years in various capacities at another Christian college – Houghton College, in western New York State. During that time, he also served as the Founder and President of the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers.
With over a quarter of a century of experience in so many parts of the world of Christian higher education, Dr. Hijleh is – to say the least – well qualified to help us think today about The Benefits of a Christian College. So, put on your thinking caps!
Dr. Mark Hijleh, – Provost of The King’s College, Manhattan, New York City – welcome to A Visit to the Pastor’s Study….
Here’s a link to the full program:
Yours in the God of all wisdom and knowledge,