ANONYMOUS WRITES: What are the pros and cons of attending a Christian college (or university or seminary) as opposed to a secular school? I know there’s freedom of conscience in the issue, but I’m curious what the Bible’s principles teach.
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Well, in a Christian college, it’s easier to find a good church, and a good core of Christian friends (possibly future spouse B-), and it’s less likely that you will be very challenged in your faith. With a secular college, it is more likely that you will be challenged, and you can focus more on outreach. Both have benefits. Just go wherever God leads you.
I don’t think it’s necessary to go to a Christian college! Here are some things to consider tho:
What are you getting a degree in?? For example, if I’m going to be a counselor, do I really want to have all the worldly ideas of phychology and how to help people from a worldly standpoint put in my brain?? or would I rather have Biblical training to help people from a Biblical perspective?? However, if I’m a mechanical engineer, it’s not really going to make much of a difference with my training what school I go to…
Yes, going to a Christian college makes living out our faith *easier* and less oppressed…It’s easier to find good friends and be nurtured spiritually…so that’s a pro!
Think about this tho: Going to a secular college gives us far more opportunity to share God’s truths with others who probably don’t believe. We can shine the light of Christ in a dark place!! Yes, we are more apt to receive persecution (maybe mild; maybe not) but the Bible tells us “blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness..”. Going to a secular college would be far more difficult, challenging, and dangerous…But if we are strong in the Lord and we really have a desire to serve Him those things shouldn’t scare us; but rather excite us!!
^^This isn’t to say going to a christian college is wrong..at ALL!!! God calls us all to different places, to put ourselves on the line for Him at different times, and to engulf ourselves solely in His people for a time at different times. I think where you go to college; whether it’s Christian or secular, is something you should pray about!! GOd will guide you to the right place for YOU! He will show you! THe things I’ve shared above are just things to think about…
To kind of answer your last sentence: I don’t think the Bible teaches against going to a secular college (being around unbelievers is how we fulfill Mt. 28:19-20)…nor does I think it teaches against going to a Christian college (being around other believers is one large way we grow and learn as Chrsitains!) ! God will reveal to each one of us where He wants us personally if we ask Him. =) Hope this helps!
In a Christian college you don’t have the peer pressure of a secular college, I know some family friends who went to a secular college and the peer pressure just kinda tore them away from God. I really think that going to a Christian college more ideal than a secular college but that’s my opinion. I hope this helps =)
As I was deciding which college to go to earlier this year, one of my Bible teachers advised me not to go to a Christian school. At a secular school, you will have many more opportunities for outreach, especially with campus groups like InterVarsity, Cru, Navigators, or RUF. You’ll definitely be challenged more in your faith, too, for better or for worse. Going to church will be of your own choice, not because your school requires it, for example. State schools are usually a lot cheaper, though. But you do have to make a very intentional effort to keep your faith and make sure you’re part of a community of Christians.
It depends on what you want out of college. The problem with a lot of Christian colleges is that they won’t actually prepare you for the professional world. Now, if you want to be a pastor then obviously you’ll need to go to seminary. But for other careers you’ll run into problems.
One example is that a lot of Christian colleges aren’t accredited. I’ve known several people who went through college then discovered their degree has no value in the real world. My Christian college is accredited however while preparing for my senior year I discovered that my degree won’t qualify to teach in any public school in my state (or any private/Christian school that has standards of certification for their teachers) so my career is severely limited.
There are, of course, some Christian colleges that are fully accredited and have programs that will help you get into your career of choice. Just make sure you research your options thoroughly.
As for other concerns: sure, a Christian college will have fewer temptations… maybe. There are absolutely ‘Christian’ places that will expose you to sin. But in general they will probably be a more a tame environment. However you should also ask yourself if you are going to be sheltered from the secular world your entire life or not. You could certainly go to school then graduate to work in a purely Christian environment, but most career paths will force you into contact with worldly people and places. If you’re not exposed in college you’ll be exposed in the workplace.
If you don’t think you could handle being exposed to worldly things, acknowledge that and work it into your college plans. If your career path is going to put you into Christian ministry then you’ll probably want to go to a Christian college. If you’re not planning that, then a Christian college isn’t going to offer anything you couldn’t find at a secular school, and may actually put you at a disadvantage.
So, figure out what your career plans and do your research. And don’t let yourself be screwed over by a school that doesn’t actually have the necessary credentials, because it’s hard to recover from that.
I have often said that I would rather go to an atheist college than one that teaches some twisted version of “Christianity” because it’s harder to witness to people who already think they’re believers. However, if you can find a Christian college that shares your beliefs and professors who will encourage you in your faith, I’d say go for it! Either way, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet people from around the world, and you’ll have the chance to share your faith with those who believe differently.
I can give you a list of pros and cons…but as far as what specific biblical principles would apply in this situation, I really have no idea. I could say “it’s a matter of personal conviction” and leave it at that but people often use that as a blanket statement to avoid looking at what the Bible actually says. Here’s your list, and thanks for the challenge to actually find biblical principles about this.
Important question: Why are you going to college? The answer to that can definitely help make the decision. And like Megan said, what kind of degree you are pursuing makes a big difference in whether you should choose a Christian or secular school.
(note: CC = Christian college, SC = secular college)
Pros of going to a CC:
-professors who teach with a Christian worldview
-no party atmosphere
-if you want to meet a spouse…you may want to attend a CC. However…if you are looking for a fellow Christian who is in the trenches/ on the front lines for the Lord, you may find them at an SC.
-some have compromised. Either go to a CC that you know is solid or go to an SC. Open spiritual warfare (SC) is way easier to deal with than trying not to let yourself get sucked into inward corruption (compromised CC).
Cons of going to a CC:
-can be cliquey
-fishbowl effect—can become a bubble that insulates and isolates you from the real world
-limited choice of major (depending on where you go)
-limited exposure to other viewpoints which you will encounter in the real world
-adversity (SC) can challenge and strengthen your faith—if you are not careful, the homogenous Christian environment can lead to apathy
-small CCs may not be accredited or offer quality programs—choose carefully
Pros of going to an SC:
-interaction with other worldviews/more connected to the “real world” (this article was very good) http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/is-it-okay-to-attend-a-secular-college/
-broader choice of major—and depending on what field you are in, SC may be the only choice (did you know that there is not even one astronomy program offered at a CC?)
Cons of going to an SC:
-professors who teach with a humanistic worldview
-temptation to compromise unless you have a strong Christian support group
“The Christian student at a secular college must be very discerning about the information presented in the classroom. Many students are inclined to blindly accept whatever they are taught without thinking about how the professor’s philosophy of life might affect his interpretation of the evidence.
The consistent Christian does not have this luxury. We are to be constantly on guard—and not conformed to the thinking of the secular world (Romans 12:2) so that we are not “taken captive” by unbiblical philosophy (Colossians 2:8). Always search the Scriptures to see whether what is taught is consistent with God’s Word (Acts 17:11).” (https://answersingenesis.org/college/surviving-secular-college/)
I would say that this is also true of a Christian college—keep
your eyes open.
Remember that college is not just job training—it shapes your worldview. Be forewarned: many secular professors, once they find out you are a Christian, do consider it their job to break your faith and “convert” you to a humanistic worldview. However, going to a secular college will not make or break your faith—who you are will make or break it. How firm is your foundation? Do you understand how the Bible connects to the real world? Are you prepared to be the minority in class and defend your beliefs? Find out what kind of Christian presence there is on campus—can you get connected to a solid group of believers? If you do choose to go to a secular school, consider taking a year or a summer first to attend either a worldview program or a one-year Bible college program. It’s worth it.
Whether you choose a secular or Christian college, I think these principles from InterVarsity are really helpful:
-Learn to study Scripture and have a daily quiet time (prayer and Bible study)
-Develop Christian community—you can’t do this alone
-Engage your studies from a Christian viewpoint
This is something you should really prayerfully consider. Going to a Christian college is great as long as it’s a true Christian college. No college is completely perfect and I believe most anywhere you go is going to have at least some Christians and quite a bit on non-Christians. Some of the pros of going to a Christian colleges : most put Christ at the center of everything, there classes are centered around the Bible, the staff usually consists of saved individuals who truly care about you(not that you won’t find that at secular college as well), there less partying and stricter rules on moral behavior on campus, and the colleges main goal is not only to see you excell academically but also spiritually. Some of the cons: a lot of Christian colleges tend to be a little expensive (you may be able to find one that’s not, though), and although they might say there a Christian college and they might look like a Christian college, it’s always a chance they’re not really a true one. Another thing to consider is being involved in Christian college organizations like RUF which has groups at both Christian and non-Christian colleges all over the US.
And just like @Amanda said you don’t won’t some twisted man-centered view of Christianity.
And by the way RUF stands for Reformed University Fellowship. For more information check out this link http://www.ruf.org/about/our-mission
I highly recommend joining them wherever you go!
Lots of other Christian young adults, less partying, God-centered education, and what is usually a fairly tight-knit community. You’ll have a much easier time finding a group of Christian friends, and it’s often great prep for going into missions work.
Higher education costs, less diverse opportunities and crowds, and a considerably smaller evangelism oppurtunity at the collage itself, and some majors are not taught.
If I were to recommend a private Christian college I have heard wonderful things about Patrick Henry College. If you are willing to pay the tuition and are getting a degree in pre law, English, journalism, or another English/government based major, I highly suggest it. They beat out Harvard and Yale in debate, and Ivy League fight over their pre law students. They have a ton of graduates in the secret intelligence business, and have THE COOLEST teen camps on the planet. Just saying.
I don’t know too much about college as I’ve never done a thorough study, but I do have some advice. In non-Christian colleges you have a lot of secular teaching that you may end up having to study and deal with. Thus, having your beliefs challenge on every corner. Although I have a good friend who is dual enrolled in a secular college and seems to be doing just fine. While some Christian colleges would provide a safer bet in a lot of ways, good company, you’d be learning things that were based on the Bible and there wouldn’t be the pressure to conform to the world. But you’re looking at higher cost and as some of the people here have already said some Christian colleges have a lot of mixed up teachings that you may end up having to debate. I guess it all really depends upon what you feel led to do, just don’t choose anything out of impulse pray and study carefully before you make up your mind.
I don’t think that it’s accurate to say that you won’t be challenged at a Christian college. You aren’t “bullet-proof” from the Enemy. My older sister is at a Christian college and she tells me that it ain’t easy. Yes there is a community of believers and God-centered education, but remember, Satan works actively no matter what environment he’s in. My sis has encountered people from all walks of life there. Missionary kids, Homeschooled peeps, Christians who have traveled from their home halfway across the world just to go to that college etc. etc. And yet, just because they’re Christians does not mean at all that they don’t question or doubt their faith. The professors, knowing that all of the college students are Christians, go the extra mile for them to think outside of their “bubble” and grasp theological doctrines and literature.
Anonymous, you will be challenged wherever you go. Embrace it, for God has asked us to walk the narrow way and do hard things.
There are a lot of pros and cons involved in this decision and they are all valid. From my own experience, I went to a secular college/university and yes, I was ensnared by the secular party culture drinking beer and such. What was especially depressing during that time was that I was on my own for the first time and had no one to commune with. But back to your question, if you can afford then I would go the Christian school route but be selective. You want to be prepared for the real world too. The choice it ultimately yours, but I would recommend maybe Liberty university. If you go the secular route and try to avoid feelings of isolation like me, I would look into getting associated with on campus Christian groups like Campus Crusade for Christ or Intervarsity. I can’t speak for other groups like Baptist Student Union, RUF, etc. However, when I looked into these other groups their attendance numbers were small. That’s why I gravitated to CCC and Intervarsity – big groups, lots of activities (campouts, getaways, Bible studies) and lots of people, thus less lonely and more connected.
I think you should go to the secular school. If you ask why then answer this question: Where is the light needed?
In the darkness! Take it as an oportunity to share the Good News from God with your future classmates and God will teach much more about Himself than at Christan school. So go and shine the Light there. Do hard things! What are you waiting for?
It depends on what you make of it. Go to the college with the major you want, whether that be Christian or secular. Be a light to all the students there, whether Christian or not. However, I would be more concerned about going to a Christian college, because many students may not truly be living for Christ, and the teachings may be twisted perversions of the Bible. Christ will be there no matter where you go, whether Christian college, secular college, or no college at all. Just trust God. A secular college can actually benefit you because the challenges to your faith in Christ will only make you stronger in your faith. James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Have a nice day, and if you go to college don’t back out on hard classes 🙂