A Christ-Centered Education

Ohio Christian University has adopted a list of what it declares are its “Core Values”.  These values are meant to succinctly describe who we are–at a glance–and can be found above our guest parking signs on campus, on the banners hanging from light poles, even on the walls over some of our drinking fountains.  The list is not long and includes such values as Bible-based, Ministry Motivated, Student Oriented, and so on.  And, while all these values are important, none is more important than Christ-Centered

But what does it mean to offer a Christ-centered education?

In the 17th Century a shift occurred, or, perhaps more accurately, a separation occurred.  In the centuries preceding the 17th Century both biblical and humanist thinkers took for granted that theology and science were threads belonging to the same tapestry. During the Enlightenment Era, however, faith and reason were uncoupled from each other.  Faith was relegated to private experience.  Reason was to guide the affairs of public life.  This led, in turn, to a secularized public square.  Up until this point, at least in Western Civilization, faith and reason had always been integrated.  This is what St. Augustine wrote about almost two millennia ago, when he called for a “thinking faith”.  Many other great thinkers–who were also Christian believers–saw no reason to believe that an intellectual or spiritual barrier existed between theology and physics, or between the study of God and of the stars He created, between literature and the word made flesh. 

Throughout the 17th Century Europe, however, the Bible had to justify itself more and more at the bar of reason, and what started as a shift grew into a separation.  Until now we come to 21st Century America, and many of our institutions of higher learning have replaced the concept of "revealed truth" for the more "enlightened" concept of "observed truth".  They have replaced a worldview shaped by the Bible, for a worldview shaped by the assumptions and beliefs of emotion and personal preference.  The result is a dualistic approach to learning and separation of heart knowledge from head knowledge, of wisdom from information, of calling from career, faith from learning, and God from His creation.

This loss of the Christian worldview from most of our country's colleges and universities has resulted in the creation of a curriculum in which faith is not only disconnected from virtually every academic discipline, but is actually seen as being incongruent with serious scholarship, research, and teaching. Today, the situation has emerged where the concepts of revealed truth and objective truth are dismissed as irrelevant, and the belief in relative truth (true for you, but not true for me) reigns supreme impacting all spheres of higher learning.

In Part 2 of this series, I will address the problem of truth separated from reality and how the two can be united in a comprehensive, holistic, Christ-centered education.

About OCU

Ohio Christian University is committed to offering a complete education that develops students intellectually, professionally and spiritually. OCU offers degree programs for residential undergraduate students, graduate students, and adult and online students. Every program is designed to equip students to become leaders in their careers, communities, families, and the world.