What goes on in a Christian College classroom that is distinct from the public university? Course content always comes with some perspective and some persuasion. In this post, I attempt to describe the Christ-centered classroom perspective and persuasion. Although I take responsibility for what I write, I must acknowledge that I have been significantly helped by the writings of Gene Fant and D. A. Carson. In addition, my friend and colleague Anthony Abell has helped me with both concepts and wording.
The Clearwater Christian College Curriculum: The Gospel in the Arts and Sciences
Speaking the gospel into the liberal arts is an on-going process of study that at Clearwater is supported by the resources of the Faith2Life Biblical Worldview Center. There is a healthy symbiotic relationship between the Center and the Faculty. On the one hand, faculty are supported by the center while on the other hand, the Center benefits from the research and teaching skill of the faculty.
So what does a gospel driven liberal arts education look like at Clearwater Christian College?
First, there is an unmistakable character to all the classes. The faculty teach their course material in “distinctively Christian ways that drip with theological content” [Fant]. They are God-centered, Christocentric, and happily committed to the biblical text.
Second, there is a deliberate attempt to provide the student a biblically informed conceptual framework of reality. This objective attempts to answer the big questions of life both in courses of the curriculum and the discipleship opportunities of student life. The existence and knowledge of God, an understanding of how knowledge and truth are known, an understanding of man’s nature and constitution, and an investigation of how to live are addressed from the reliability of the biblical revelation.
Third, there is a focus on God’s view of things. Course work and discipleship centers on biblical truth, universal orthodoxy, and the things that have enjoyed historic agreement throughout the ages in the Church. Students are taught to distinguish these transcendent realities from cultural and conscience bound particulars.
Fourth, there is the pursuit of a missional life outcome. Students are encouraged to live out their part in a healthy church and to participate in great commission initiatives. Enabled by the regenerative power of the gospel and empowered by the Spirit, Christ-followers engage the world through living and communicating truth, constantly evaluating their view of reality to God’s authoritative view of things, and making adjustments when necessary.
Once again Fant offers a beneficial insight. “A Christian approach to liberal learning is one of the most effective strategies for preparing to undertake such a vision of gospel-focused life. It prepares Christ followers for urban settings, for rural settings, for Western living, for non-Western contexts and for any conceivable path where God’s calling might lead.”