America's Forgotten Heritage of Christian Higher Education

I was able to spend some time on the East Coast this summer, and was reminded again of our nation's deep foundation of Christian faith.

During my trip I visited a number of historic colleges including Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Amherst. The consistent connection between these academically prestigious universities is the strong foundation each had in Jesus Christ and in preparing Christian leaders for service in the world. All have departed from that heritage, yet it is hard to escape their Christ-centered foundation because it is inscribed on the walls and monuments of these schools.

At Yale we found an entire building whose interior was a tribute to those Yale students and faculty members who died in America's wars. An entire wall was dedicated to Yale's Christian missionaries who were killed on the mission field advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

At Harvard, we saw the famous statue depicting the school's namesake and founder with an open Bible on his lap. The Amherst campus includes a prominent statue of school founder Noah Webster, who created the American dictionary, and who famously said, "Education is useless without the Bible."

Amherst, now considered one of the top private colleges in the country, was so conservative and so committed to Scripture that it had difficulty receiving accreditation in the 19th century from the state of Massachusetts.

At Princeton, in their enormous chapel, we discovered the "Prayer for Princeton." This prayer is much more relevant for Arizona Christian University than any Ivy League school today:

"O Eternal God
The Creator and Preserver
Of all mankind we beseech Thee
To bestow upon this university
Thy Manifold gifts of grace
Thy Truth to those who teach
Thy Laws to those who learn
Thy Wisdom to those who administer
And Thy steadfastness to all
Who bear her name
Bind us together by these
Gracious influences of Thy Spirit
Into that fellowship
Which can never fail the company
Of Jesus Christ our Lord

Our nation has an amazing Christian heritage, and Christian higher education is a significant and vital element of that tradition.Yet it seems few Americans today understand that heritage, and how the influence of Christianity and biblical literacy was at the core of developing a prosperous and free nation. As a people, it seems we are largely unaware of the role Bible-believing Christians played in creating the freedoms we often take for granted today.

Arizona Christian University is pleased to continue the original work of these great educational institutions, by providing a place in this generation to prepare Christian leaders who understand the enduring significance and need for application of biblical truth in our culture.