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What is Happening on Christian Campuses is Depressing

It used to be a no-brainer for me. When my high school students would seek my advice on potential college choices, I would almost always encourage them, “If you can afford it or find the money, go to a private, Christian college.”

My experience at Indiana Wesleyan University in small Marion, Indiana was a critical four years in shaping my worldview, ideology, and grounding my faith in something concrete. I learned not just about the subject matter of my chosen profession, but more importantly I was taught how to use my occupation to glorify God. I learned how to think and act Biblically. How could I not want that same thing for students that I care about?

But things are different these days. I don’t make that recommendation quite so quickly or unreservedly. In some cases, I think my Christian students are far better off going to a state university than to a school that professes itself a Christ-centered institution. Why?

Because if I was Satan, I would not spend much of my time targeting secular university campuses that I already own. I would recognize that Christian students who attend such institutions come with their guard up. They know that God will be mocked or ignored, and thus my ability to deceive them through atheist professors openly hostile to Christ will be diminished.

No, I would focus on those schools that wear the name of Christ and that are supposedly training the next generation of Christian leaders. I would infiltrate those campuses through professors wrapping humanistic, new age teachings in the language of Christianity. I would corrupt the truth, trusting that the Christian students attending would not know the Word of God well enough to test what they are hearing against it. I would count on those students letting their guard down and assuming that since they’re on a “Christian campus,” what they hear from their “Christian professors” and in “Christian chapel services” is Biblical. I would call into question the very Word of God amongst His own people. I would replace Biblical priorities with counterfeit causes of the world, masquerading as Christian.

And that’s precisely what I have seen unfold with regularity on multiple Christian campuses around America these last several years. That’s why the news I just read about my own alma mater was sadly as predictable as it was frustrating.

Another day, another absurd tale of excess by social justice warriors on campus. Over at Reason, Robby Soave relates the story of a student at Indiana Wesleyan University who was investigated and disciplined in 2017 after he wrote a brief, trollish Facebook post about Halloween costumes. 

In a nutshell, Indiana Wesleyan issued a silly, worldly-centered guideline about not wearing Halloween costumes that “appropriate” other cultures. A student named Micah Sample wrote a mocking Facebook post essentially saying, “I’ll wear whatever I want.” His post led to complaints from other students about how it made them feel “attacked and completely dehumanized,” how it had, “broken me to a certain degree.”

In response to the outcry from what was, let’s be honest, a small handful of social justice activists, IWU’s administration sprang into action, putting Sample through a series of disciplinary hearings, publicly disavowed his offensive words, put him on something called “citizenship probation,” forced him to write a “reflection paper,” and booted him from the school’s “Honors College.”

You know, just like Jesus would do.

Biblical teaching certainly wouldn’t recommend bringing the offending and offended parties into an office, sit them down, pray with them, then counsel and guide them through a reconciliation. No, what IWU did seems far more Biblically based. (If you aren’t picking up on the sarcasm, you need a better sensor).

Think how disproportional a response this was. Does IWU truly want to be in the business of monitoring all of their students’ social media accounts, and whenever one says something that could be deemed offensive by someone, somewhere, issue a public statement of disavowal and kick them out of their “Honor’s College?” Surely not. So why Micah? Is it crazy to conclude Micah met this fate because IWU’s administration feels the need to mimic the world when it comes to the social justice spirit of the age? Who needs worldly woke universities when Christian ones seem to have it all covered?

It’s just all a continued, needless frustration.

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