Whither the Evangelical Colleges?
In the heavenly city of American Evangelicalism, there are many mansionshigh-profile mega-churches (Willow Creek, Saddleback), international NGOs (World Vision), advocacy groups (Focus on the Family)but the most valuable of these mansions are the 110 colleges that make up the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). With over 325,000 students and 22,000 full-time and part-time faculty, the CCCU schools are the intellectual pumping-stations of Evangelical creativity. Rick Warren, the senior pastor of Saddleback, is a graduate of a CCCU school, as is Bill Hybels of Willow Creek; so is Wess Stafford of Compassion International, and Peter Greer of Hope International.
Yet, the network of Christian colleges that gleams in the sunlight as the ivory tower of Evangelicalism is neither as stable nor as influential as it wishes or appears. Five years ago, I surveyed the overall state of Evangelical Christian higher education in the United States, and came away impressed by three ominous developments: