By Doug Beacham
The IPHC has 39 Bible schools and colleges outside the United States. In the USA we have three educational institutions and a fourth affiliated with us: Emmanuel College, Southwestern Christian University, Advantage College, and Holmes Bible College. Classes have begun in most of these schools. As I’ve looked at the Southwestern students on the soccer field from my office window, I’ve thought of how young they look and wonder if I looked like that when I was starting college at Emmanuel. I also considered that they have been born on the other side of the century and millennium marker; that is, they are in the final few waves of college students who will have been born with a 199- year date.
Probably the majority of freshmen entering these schools, especially in the USA, were born after the Oklahoma City bombing of April, 1995. They don’t remember that Bill Clinton was President of the United States. They were in kindergarten when the United States was attacked by Islamist terrorists. Their memories and opinions have been shaped by the various cultural trends dominating television, the internet, and the ever increasing world of apps. Their fingers text, Twitter, and Instagram faster than they can swipe a bank card for a grandedoubleshotskinnylatte at Starbucks. They don’t know the slogan “Let your fingers do the walking” (much less know what Yellow Pages are, or were), but they are living that slogan in the ubiquitous hand-held-prayer posture with heads down – even as they drive. They live public lives on Facebook but are often desperately lonely at home, and at church.
But the good news is that they are our children and grandchildren. They have inherited the world we gave them. I, for one, have some degree of confidence that they’ll do a pretty good job with it. But those that are Bible-believing Christians will live most of their lives in a very different world than we did, at least in the United States.
This brings me to comment on the importance of Christian higher education. Over the past months many of you saw, and responded to, the financial crisis at Emmanuel College. We are grateful for that response and there are over 700 young men and women there today who are growing intellectually and spiritually. Among the many lessons learned, the most important has been the imperative need for us as alumni and the larger IPHC church family, to regularly support Emmanuel, Southwestern, and the other schools. Education is not free. Faculty must be paid and facilities built and maintained.
I recently heard a speaker in Oklahoma remark that 71% of all baccalaureate graduates last year left with student debt that averaged $30,000. That’s why many of us must give more, and more regularly. That’s why all of us should prepare to leave scholarship funds for the future students at our schools.
There’s another reason that adds to the urgency of our response. Both Southwestern and Emmanuel make it clear in their official documents that they are IPHC schools and abide by the doctrine and Christian lifestyle affirmed by this denomination. They face the challenges that many Christian institutions face in standing for biblical principles in matters of justice, intellect, and sexual morality. When they abide by those standards they are held up to public scorn, ridicule, and biased and unwarranted charges. But I am thankful they affirm these standards and are willing to be life-giving bread for a generation reared on the destructive tenets of moral relativism.
Sadly, there is a growing chorus in our “tolerant” society asking if a “Christian” education can, by its very nature, really be an education. They are asking if Christian colleges with such standards should be granted accreditation. They are asking whether it is right for federal funds to be given to students who attend such “intolerant” schools.
I am not a prophet and make no claims to be. I choose to believe that voices of godliness and reason will prevail in our society. But we must be not naive in these matters. Now is the time to stand with our colleges in the USA and beyond.
Thank you alumni, friends, and IPHC constituency for your prayers and financial support for Southwestern, Emmanuel, Advantage, and Holmes.
Thank you IPHC schools, for your faithfulness to God’s truth and for being faithful to demonstrate righteousness, grace, and hope to the young men and women in your care.