The snow started falling last night and continued all day long, transforming the campus and the surrounding mountains into a winter wonderland. This afternoon we saw lots of students frolicking in the snow. The BI runs on a hectic schedule during the winter quarter. Students attend classes Tuesday-Friday, then get ready for 500 high schoolers who arrive every Friday for weekend Snow Camp. They have Monday off, then the schedule starts. In addition to the classes and ministry, each student is required to do 6-8 hours of work around the campus each week--housekeeping, food preparation, the dish pit, or a variety of other tasks. Several times this week, students catch a quick nap during the ten-minute breaks between classes. The academic calendar goes from September through early June, then the students do summer ministry at one of the Word of Life camps. Some students stay on for the second year program, while others continue their education at various Christian colleges. Favorite college destinations include Liberty, Cedarville, Moody, Tennessee Temple, Baptist Bible College, and Philadelphia Biblical University.
Today we covered Galatians 3-4 and the first part of chapter 5. During my lecture on Galatians 3:15-25, we talked about the role of the law in the Christian life. I mentioned the traditional "Three Uses of the Law" in Christian theology: To show us our sin, to reveal our need for Christ, and to teach us the way of holiness. While discussing that "third use," I asked the students about the rules at WOLBI. They have dorm inspection every Thursday, they have lights out at 11:30 PM on weeknights. We talked about the dating rules, which boiled down are "no physical contact" and there must be a "third party" along on any off-campus date. Plus there are rules about dress, church attendance, and a variety of other issues. By the standards of a state university, the rules would seem strict indeed. But the students seemed cheerful and laughed a lot as we talked about the role of rules in the Christian life.
You might wonder why young men and women (the majority of students are in their late teens or early 20s) would take a year to enter such a rigorous program. The answer seems to be that they can come to the BI and in one year get a solid grounding in the Bible, theology, the Christian life, and Christian service. You might call it a one-year course in all-round Christian discipleship. The atmosphere here is more intense than in most schools they will attend in later years, but that intensity works because these young people want a foundation that will last a lifetime. I find it invigorating to be around students with such a hunger for the Word of God. That's why I come back to teach Galatians every year.
To sign up for Pastor Ray's free weekly sermon email list, click here. You can find his daily weblog, online sermons, travel schedule, and other resources at www.keepbelieving.com. You can write Pastor Ray at [email protected].