One less preacher, and hundreds of African pastors missing Old Testament classes! When I went up to varsity, in 1967, if I hadnt met up with a group of Christian students my faith would have crumbled.
They were a strange lot - long hair (at least the boys), scruffy clothes and
some of their ideas were a bit odd. Not really the kind of people parents approve
of, but they preserved my faith when it was severely tested.
Ever thought that the youngsters from your church who become students are missionaries?
Secular universities are the most dangerous mission field on earth. Yet the missionaries are often new converts and they have little training or support from their home churches. It is a scandal!
The modern secular university of the nineteen-sixties, when I was a lad, was a dangerous place for Christianity. Rationalism and militant atheist professors claimed quite a few of my contemporaries. Today's post-modern university is worse. Added to the old-style rationalism and scientism that had no place for miracles, or a God who works them, is a new belief that there are no absolutes. Everything is true (more or less, and if I like it) but nothing is really True or truly Real.
In the 'old days' there were still quite a few Christians on staff and they gave us support and encouragement. It was even almost acceptable to be a Christian - though already, in the revolting sixties, a bit odd. Now our children will need firm belief and all the support they can get if their faith is to survive - let alone if they are to witness to others.
There are however some things you can do for the young missionaries you send out early next year.
For students at most of our Universities you can best equip them with books that relate Christian faith to contemporary intellectual challenges. Inter Varsity Press have a number of good titles and your local Christian bookshop can suggest others.
However if your young missionary will be studying at Auckland they can take University courses for credit that will give them the intellectual foundations they need to support their faith and defend it to others. Carey Baptist College is part of a consortium (ACTE) which teaches a number of papers tackling aspects of Theology and the Bible that gain credit in most University of Auckland degrees.
Study of this kind in the supportive atmosphere of a College that trains ministers will enable your young missionaries to examine their faith and its relevance to todays world. Taking a few such courses will equip them for their mission - nearly impossible - and complement the Spirits empowering for which you have prayed.
Who knows, a few years on they may become Ministers or Missionaries in an official way. In that case the courses they did as part of their varsity studies will provide a flying start to their academic training.
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2002
All material on these pages is protected by international copyright, however I am very willing to consider requests to use all or part of any piece. The use of small quotations is (of course) fine, just give as reference (at least) my name and the URL (e.g. Tim Bulkeley http://eBibleTools.com/angels/).
The other site Tim runs Postmodern Bible - a hypermedia (hypertext and multimedia) Bible commentary project