Colleges That Offer Spiritual Psychology – College life has always been characterized by varying degrees of rebellion against conventional patterns of thought and behavior. In recent years this rebellious passion has taken on a much deeper dimension than the panty-campaign of old. In addition, a counter-movement is now becoming very evident in conservative Protestant colleges across North America. A study shows pockets of intellectual unrest on accredited evangelical campuses.
After all, today’s Christian college rebellion is a purposeful crusade against hypocrisy and the status quo. At worst, it encourages, among other things, immorality, where at least in the case of church-affiliated colleges, motels on the edge of campuses do a thriving business.
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Either way, college administrators will try to keep students and some faculty members in line this fall while also trying to comfort worried parents and complaining alumni who need the help to fend off the temptation.
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Azusa Pacific College Dr. George L. “This stuff is everywhere,” Ford said. “All schools have been affected. We’re getting reactions to the Berkeley riots.”
The Vietnam War is a big issue on secular campuses. The most obvious movement in radical colleges is to remove old restrictions. At Northwestern Nazarene College, Nampa, Idaho, the student body approached open rebellion by attempting to obtain permission to wear shorts and short-sleeved blouses in the dining hall.
But ideological movements are also seen in such schools. Another embittered Nazarene college student said, “Academically, freedom is impossible on a church campus. The Church has much potential, but it gets nothing but school teachers, insurance men, and zealous preachers.”
Spokesmen for the rebel element insist that they do not reject biblical ideas but are against false propaganda, preoccupation with black and white codes and abstractions. Miss Betty Jane Tutton, professor of literature at St. Petersburg (Florida) Junior College, claims that students are now asking more radical questions but that evangelical higher education has traditionally been, as she puts it, “restricted from discovery.”
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At least part of the unrest can be attributed to the difficulty of reconciling the various academic branches of orthodox Christianity. This is intensified with the apparent shift of spiritual dynamics from theology, missions and music to political science, sociology, psychology, history and even literature.
A Christian faculty member says, “Students are now taught to use the inductive method in everything. “When they apply it to religion they are confused.”
A complicating factor on most campuses is that the “stinker fringe” tries to hold intellectual exchange responsible for its own selfishness. Sometimes a new morality takes hold, and sex becomes a covert source of entertainment. Christian educators are complaining more loudly than ever that freshmen have closed-minded views about sexual morality and bring to public schools values imbibed from peer groups, not from home or church. Failure of parents and clergy to provide proper and adequate sex education to children is considered a major problem.
This year, Harvard scholar Dr. Evan J. Fah believes that “real rebellion” arises from the personal spiritual problems of the individual student. “Often they are what we might call pagan evangelists,” said Fahs, who most recently taught sociology at Bethel College, a Baptist General Conference school in St. Paul, Minnesota. “He knows all the labels and all the theories but nothing about a personal relationship with Christ. He’s rebelling against a God who doesn’t work, failing to realize that his own frustration lies only in the fact that he’s never plugged in. Didn’t happen.”
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Other evangelical observers take a significantly more optimistic view of volatility. Incidents of practical mockery of a well-known preacher at two Christian campuses in the East are believed to be indicative of a new spiritual depth seen by fake pundits. ” he shouted
Speakers invited by the administration present special problems, especially when chapel attendance is required. This engagement often has a non-academic rationale, meaning that the audience rarely matches the interests and concerns of the students and only succeeds in arousing hostility. An example of this occurred recently at a Midwestern school when the local pastor gave a speech against the evils of theater.
“Fifty percent of chapel services are a waste of time,” Dr. declared Virginia Mollenkott, head of the English department at Nyack (New York) Missionary College. He says they are often “experiential exercises” during which students choose to study and write letters. “Students turn off their hearing aids when someone starts preaching in full.”
At Nyack, the flagship school of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the faculty is said to be more avant-garde than the student body. Most campuses have the opposite.
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Perhaps the most serious aspect of the current turmoil is that few of the “elect” are aware of it—that is, college financial aid providers, students’ parents, and the general membership of sponsoring churches. College administrators often try to keep a lid on controversial rumors, threatening the college’s revenue stream if word gets out. The resulting information gap creates explosive potential.
Some schools seem to use a little imagination and rebellious spirit to good advantage. Malone College, Canton, Ohio, has now begun an annual seminar on social problems, organized by the Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends. Some time ago about seventy Malone students signed up to tutor Negro and colored homes in nearby ghettos as an expression of their Christian sympathy.
At Seattle Pacific College, the largest of the Free Methodist schools, inner-city projects are also part of students’ extracurricular programs. Many of the 3,000 students at Abilene Christian College (Church of Christ) are channeling their latent energy into direct preaching through weekend and holiday visitation efforts.
In short, evangelical educators are realizing that today’s students need faculty that offer more than spirituality and piety. Unless students are challenged to take evangelistic initiatives academically and spiritually, they soon become reactive and question the adequacy of their own movement.
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Be careful Valparaiso (Indiana) University’s fifth college, Christ College, opens this month to students by invitation only. Dean Richard P. “We’re moving beyond the idea of an honors college to involve a much larger portion of the university community in experiential programs,” Beppler said. Valparaiso Liberal Arts College is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Barrington. Officials at Barrington (Rhode Island) College report that they are “reorganizing the academic program to more effectively convey the philosophy of Christian education. The new concept includes Bible study as the ‘controlling center’ of the curriculum, to demonstrate and communicate contemporary relevance of biblical truth to thought and life. Interdisciplinary ‘bridge courses’ are designed.” Barrington, a suburb of Providence, recently dedicated a $300,000 student union building and plans to build a $650,000 physical education facility this fall.
Goshen. Like many church-affiliated schools, Goshen (Indiana) College has been hard-pressed to fund necessary expansions. But President Paul E. Eager to maintain church-state separation, Meininger refrained from appealing for federal aid and instead asked his faculty to pray. One result was $1 million from a Michigan couple, Goshen alumni. Goshen is a four-year Mennonite liberal arts college with a graduate-level seminary.
Azusa Pacific. Brown Military Academy’s forty-acre property in Glendora, California, is becoming part of the campus of Azusa Pacific College. Two miles south of Azusa’s main campus site. The newly purchased addition is located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
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Reformed Theological Seminary. The inaugural convocation of the Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi will be held next week. The new Presbyterian-based seminary will begin classes on a fourteen-acre campus.
Northwestern College. Declining enrollment and financial problems prompted Northwestern College to suspend daytime classes for a year. The school, once led by evangelist Billy Graham, plans to reorganize and operate under a three-year program that began in 1967.
Lycoming. Ground was broken this summer for a $4.5 million academic center on the campus of Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. A significant portion of the construction costs are paid by the federal government under the Appalachian Regional Development Act. Lycoming is a Methodist liberal arts college.
The Council of Church Unions gained its ninth full member last month, the first addition since the basic principles of mass church unification were proposed in Dallas this spring (see May 27 issue, page 46).
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At number nine is the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, whose bishops voted to move from observer to participant status. It is one of three Negro Methodist organizations seeking their own merger. Another of these, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, joined COCU earlier this year.
The addition of AMEZ, which had 770,000 members in 1959, increased the potential COCU constituency to more than 24.5 million. It also increases the chances of ethnic integration
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