The Most Powerful Institution in the World

As we kick-off a new year of ministry I want us to really think on this question, “What does Jesus Christ think about the colleges and universities today?” This is a question we all must face as believers, pastors, and campus ministers among 7,151 colleges and universities in America.

Charles Malik gave two powerful and thought provoking lectures in March of 1981 entitled “A Christian Critique of the University”. In these lectures he establishes that the university is the most powerful institution in the world. Below are excerpts from these lectures:

The university is one of the greatest creations of Western civilization. There is the family, the church, the state, the economic enterprise, the professions, the media and the university.

This great Western institution, the university, dominates the world today more than any other institution: more than the church, more than the government, more than all other institutions. All the leaders of government are graduates of universities, or at least of secondary schools or colleges whose administrators and teachers are themselves graduates of universities. The same applies to all church leaders. How can you create economically without some technical training? But the technical schools which provide this training are some sort of mini-universities, and their administrators and instructors are themselves graduates of colleges, universities or technical institutes. The professionals doctors, engineers, lawyers, etc. have all passed through the mill of the secondary school, the college and the university. And the men of the media are university trained, and some have undergone specialized advanced instruction in communication and journalism.

What about the family? In this age of universal education no parents are unaffected by the university, for they themselves are graduates of secondary schools, colleges or universities. And everybody parents, children, students, professors, administrators, professionals, church leaders, government officials, business people, industrialists and media people themselves are perpetually exposed to the bombardment of the media. The universities, then, directly and indirectly, dominate the world; their influence is so pervasive and total that whatever problem afflicts them is bound to have far-reaching repercussions throughout the entire fabric of Western civilization. No task is more crucial and urgent today than to examine the state of the mind and spirit in the Western university.

If the university today dominates the world, if Jesus Christ is who the church and the Bible proclaim him to be, and if we happen to believe that what the church and the Bible claim about Jesus Christ is the truth, then how can we fail, not only to raise the question of what Jesus Christ thinks of the university, but to face the equally urgent demand: what can be done? We are dealing with the power that dominates the world; how can we then rest without seeking to ascertain where Jesus Christ stands with respect to this power?

Since the university determines the course of events and the destiny of man more than any other institution or agency today, it is impossible for a Christian not to ask the question: what does Jesus Christ think of the university? To a Christian this question is an absolute imperative.

If you think for a moment that your presence and efforts at your campus are not important please think again. If you feel your church reaching your local campus should not be a top priority in the church’s outreach ministries please reconsider. You and your church are absolutely essential in reaching and changing the world for Christ.

So what is the mind of Jesus about the universities today? We will deal with this in next week’s post.



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