Shared January 29th, 2015
We are once more back on the topic (series) “What makes you rich?” and our scripture for today is “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”(Psalm 11:3).
In our last exhortation, I asked this question: “Weren’t these prestigious academic institutions Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge, Oxford, etc once Christian?What happened?” I think I would like to answer my own question. But first, did you ever imagine a world without schools and colleges?
I am sure you would agree that though education is very important, it does not mean that an uneducated individual has no chance of being successful or that an educated person will surely do well in life. That is not what I am saying. Education is important because it is a way to acquire knowledge, a form of learning where values, skills, mores, habits, characters, beliefs are imbibed and shared with others. Notice I said beliefs, values, mores, character, etc. These bring me to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge, Oxford, and so on.
What makes me/us rich? You know, several of America and England’s oldest universities were established as religious (i.e. Christian) institutions. Many of them, started over 300 years ago were Bible-proclaiming schools originally. Harvard (named after a Christian minister) and Yale (started by clergymen) were originally Puritan; Princeton, whose first year of class was taught by one Rev. Jonathan Dickinson was originally Presbyterian. They all once had rich Christian histories.
In fact as an example, the flag of Princeton University displays the school’s shield and motto. It has an open book inscribed with “Vet. Nov. Testamentum” (Old and New Testament) and the motto on the crest still screams in Latin “Dei Sub Numine Viget,” which translates as “Under the Protection of God She Flourishes.” These examples are just a drop of water in the ocean because I did not even mention many other universities like: Chicago, Stanford, Duke, William and Mary, Boston University, Michigan, the University of California and such others!
What about the UK (and you could say the same of Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, the Scandinavians, even Turkey, etc)? Well, in the UK, while Christian leaders established Cambridge University in 1209, Oxford University came into being as a result of the pioneering works of various religious (Christian) orders. As well, Saint Andrews, which is Scotland’s oldest university, was founded mainly for the teaching and study of theology. Likewise, the University of Edinburgh, which had a thoroughly evangelical beginning; similarly, it was founded under Presbyterian auspices. As you can see, Bible-believing Christians founded all these and they all represent both the foundation and the culture of the West.
What happened? How come there appears to be almost no vestige of that Christian heritage left in these institutions and in Western culture? Yes, what happened to cause so many schools to abandon their Christian roots? Is it because of changing worldviews? A switch to naturalistic philosophy? Or is it because of science? After all since the 1870s in the sciences, we have witnessed a strange departure from this rich Christian construct to wanton abandon. TBC.
Proposed prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. I want to know You more, because it is not about this world but where I will spend eternity. I want to be rich in You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!