April is college acceptance month for many high school seniors. All over the country, students are jumping up and down over acceptance letters, and many, with their minds already turning to next fall, have a strong case of senior-itis. And many parents, tasked with paying for their kids’ education, also have a case of the flutters, both financially and emotionally!
Our kids should be excited over this coming transition into adulthood. “Going to university,” as the Brits say, means learning new things, being on one’s own, facing new adventures (perhaps cooking and doing one’s laundry), and making new friends.
But a serious challenge to a young student’s faith might also be just around the corner. This is dramatized in the new movie “God’s Not Dead.” The film tells the fictional story of a philosophy professor who requires his students to write “God is dead” on a sheet of paper, sign it, and turn it in. The fun begins when one of his students, who is a Christian, refuses.
This is not just a movie scenario. In real life, unfortunately, too many Christian young people wither under the secular assault they face on our college campuses. But, it’s usually not so in your face as the movie portrays. Most aren’t going to face an overt intellectual attack by a professor—although some will. I’ve met few college students who leave the faith because of such a direct assault.
For most, their faith dies by a thousand little cuts . . . doubts about the Bible
’s truthfulness, Christian morality, or about the Bible’s view on sin, sex, marriage, human value, and so on. A well-placed snicker or raised eyebrow is just as devastating as any philosophical argument. And don’t forget the morally compromising hook-up culture that they will face. Too many are sadly ill-prepared.
So how do we prepare them in these last few critical months before packing up the car to not only survive spiritually while in college, but to prosper—to go from being a potential victim to a confident witness? Well, I’m glad you asked!
First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you of Summit Ministries, where I’ve taught for the last dozen years.
Summit Ministries offers a two-week summer boot camp in worldview analysis and cultural understanding for young people, and trains them to articulately defend the truth when it’s challenged—even by a college professor. They’ll explore the big cultural questions of our day and learn how to develop a biblical worldview in response.
I also want to tell you, however, about two excellent books. The first is “How to Stay Christian in College,” by J. Budziszewski, who was one of our friend Chuck Colson’s favorite thinkers, and mine too. “How to Stay Christian in College” helps prepare Christian young people to answer the standard “lines” they’ll hear in college with soul-satisfying truth, such as the assertion that to make good choices about sex, you have to experiment. Budziszewski’s book will help them understand that many of the most common lines that they’ll hear will express a false worldview.
The other outstanding book is by my friend Jonathan Morrow, “Welcome to College.” Morrow covers a lot of the practical issues that young people face both inside and outside of the classroom. There’s intellectual heft here, but it’s also very reader-friendly.
Each book is great in its own way. And personally, I recommend that you get both. And you can find them at the BreakPoint online bookstore. They’ll make great gifts for your high school senior or anyone who wants to respond to today’s challenges on campus from a Christian perspective.
And come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary. I’ll link you to an excellent review of the movie “God’s not Dead.” And we’ll also give you more info about the Summit Ministries summer conference. Hurry, the sign-up deadline is coming up fast.
Our kids are worth it, right? After all, God isn’t dead! And their faith in Him doesn’t have to be either, just because they go to college.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: April 10, 2014