In the Epilogue of my forthcoming Why Study History: Reflecting on the Importance of the Past, I challenge Christian historians to use their expertise to strengthen and edify the church. But I say very little to challenge churches to embrace the expertise of Christian historians.
I have done a lot of speaking in churches over the last couple of years, but most of them have been affiliated with a Protestant mainline denomination. Mainline Protestants do a much better job of creating space for educational opportunities. Evangelical churches (there have been some wonderful exceptions) are not interested in sponsoring classes, seminars, talks, or conversations about history, politics, philosophy, literature, or serious theology because they are more interested in promoting service, evangelism, missions, spiritual growth, and other forms of Christian activism or personal piety. Why have a course or seminar that helps Christians think more deeply about how to be responsible citizens or cultural critics when you can devote your time and energy to preparing people to grow in their faith? (As if “growing in your faith” has nothing to do with understanding how to be a thoughtful witness in the world). The result, of course, is what Mark Noll has called “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.”
Over at Christianity Today, Mark Galli urges the local church and Christian colleges and universities to work together. Churches, he argues, should care about the fate of Christian colleges and work at developing stronger relationships with such institutions. Here is a taste of his piece:
Melissa King says
Yes, Christian colleges and universities should work hand in hand to improve the strong relationship between individuals to create a better generation and to improve the quality of Christian education. Accredited online christian colleges should also cooperate in this.