We Can’t Afford It

By: David C. Richardson

“We can’t afford it.” This is a common response when Christian parents explain why their sons and daughters are not attending Christian colleges.

Certainly the comparative monetary costs of Christian colleges and state schools are one reason Pentecostal youth choose other colleges. But what about costs that cannot be measured in dollars and cents? Parents and students must consider other aspects.

Recently I spent a year as a graduate student at a state university. My opinion is that we cannot afford not to send our children to Christian colleges.

In 1987 a survey of Pentecostal youth was conducted across the United States. Some 67 percent said they wanted to attend college; some 50 percent planned to enroll in a secular college or university. Over 30 percent, who felt called to ministry, indicated they planned to attend a state university.

But an alarming percentage of young people from Christian homes who attend public colleges and universities leave the church. Why?

The secular college environment has changed dramatically. The social, moral, and academic environments at state universities in the 1990s hide costs far beyond what those who graduated even in the 1970s might imagine.

A teaching style known as “politically correct” is becoming the norm on secular campuses. This phrase describes curriculum that in reality is anti-Western, anti-U.S., anti-male, anti-religious, and anti-absolute values. Under this banner many values taught in the Christian home are attacked.

The political correctness may be subtle, such as assigning freshmen in an English class to write papers titled, “What is wrong with U.S. policy on…?” A young woman attending the school I was described such a class. While U.S. policy may be imperfect, asking college freshmen in an English class to concentrate on only the negative is indoctrination.

The social and moral environments of a college are as important as what is being taught in the classroom. The social and moral trends at a secular college will most often challenge Christian values of chastity, morality, and sobriety. The standards of morality instilled in young people for 18 years or more will be ridiculed in word and deed by many students and some faculty.

Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. While I do not want to leave the impression that Christians should never send their children to secular colleges or universities, the decision should be made considering all costs involved – not just financial.

Christian colleges may cost more than others you are considering, but financial aid is available. If your freshman son or daughter must attend a secular school, make every effort to ensure that the continual challenges to faith and standards can be withstood.

As Christians we should carefully examine the social, moral, and academic environments we are sending our young people into. Wouldn’t you rather have your son or daughter taught by faculty who share your values and standards and strive for professional excellence?

To help our students get a good education in a Christian environment, we need to financially support Christian colleges. Unlike state universities, Christian colleges are not and cannot be subsidized by tax-generated allocations from the government.

In what environment do you want your children establishing their values for life? Christian colleges are prepared to offer the best education in God-centered environments.

(The above material appeared in the May 17, 1992 issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.)

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