Essay / Education

Marsden at Biola

Renowned scholar of Fundamental Evangelicalism and the secularization of American universities, George Marsden, visited Biola this week as a guest of the Associated Students. On Wednesday a small number of faculty, including myself, had the opportunity to speak with him. When I asked him what he thought would keep Biola University from following the course of formerly religious schools (such as Yale or Duke) into secularism, I received an unexpected answer. According to Marsden, those schools that were once religious and are now secular had always wanted to be at the forefront of the culture. Biola, Marsden rightly asserts, has no such pretensions or desires. The moral, it seems, is that Biola needs to remain true to its mission of seeking to be counter-cultural, even to change the culture rather to be at the so-called forefront of cultural progress. I agree whole-heartedly with this assessment. I certainly do not want to teach in a school that simply supports and enhances the agenda of today’s American culture. Rather, I want to seek to change the culture with the life-transforming message of Christ. If working at a Yale or Duke means that I have to support the “cultural agenda,” then give me Biola where at least my labors count for an eternity and not just for a generation (or less). May Biola University remain true to her calling for another 100 years in the same way that she has remained true in her first century!

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