Our theme music for today is “Hide the Beer, the Pastor’s Here” by the Swirling Eddies (Outdoor Elvis, 1989), undoubtedly the best song ever written about Christian colleges. Stay tuned until the end to hear the entire song. Oh, and our special guest is Dr. Chris Gehrz of Bethel University.

General Introduction
– A very special episode
– Effusive praise for Chris Gehrz

Personal Experience
– Our experiences at Christian colleges
– Chris’s experience in the cold, heartless, secular Academy
– Culture shock?
– Praying in class

Pietist Theories of Education
– Beginning in the Reformed tradition
– Other influences
– What is pietism?
– Is pietism anti-intellectual?
– Chris Gehrz says a bunch of Swedish names I can’t spell
– The pastoral role of faculty members

Christianity and Great Books
– On being The Bible Guy
– Great Books as a cure for specialization
– Tying the threads together
– Filling in a gap in the biblical narrative
– (The weird robot echo begins…)
– Great Books as travelogue
– Questions, not answers—dialogue, not monologue

A Christian Theory of Education
– Christian Humanist University—CHU CHU
– Humanizing human beings
– Asking more interesting questions, not giving better answers
– Inviting students into lives, not just realms of knowledge
– Whole and holy persons
– The “ecclesiastical university”

– What makes Christian-college students different?
– Keeping the candle under the bushel
– Sense of mission
– Political conservatism
– Lack of intellectual subculture
– Academic and spiritual transparency
– Sense of entitlement
– (Bad cut to fix robot echo)

In Loco Parentis
– The pietist tension
– Why sex leads to dancing
– Intervening weeks of improper scruffiness
– Trying to think of students as adults
– Where does the college stand when it makes rules?

The Takeaway Question
– Why are Christian colleges a sound investment?
– The price of college vs. the cost of college
– Exclusivity vs. hospitality
– Freedom from state budget cuts
– The future of online education


Holmes, Arthur Frank. The Idea of a Christian College. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1987.

Jacobsen, Douglas, and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen. Scholarship and Christian Faith: Enlarging the Conversation. New York: Oxford UP, 2004.

Smith, James K.A. Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2009.

Willimon, William H. and Thomas H. Naylor. The Abandoned Generation: Rethinking Higher Education. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1995.

5 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode 16: Christian Colleges”
  1. I read the song title as “hide the bear” the first couple times I scanned it, and the only thing I could think of was, “Man, I thought our bats and squirrels and raccoons in the dorm were something back in the day…”

  2. Unspellable Swedish names:
    • David Nyvall, founder of North Park (might have said this)
    • John Alexis Edgren, founder of Bethel (might also have said this)
    • Karl Olsson, president of NP, 1959-1970 (did say this)
    • Carl Lundquist, president of Bethel, 1954-1982 (and this)

  3. I just had a quick comment. Many Christian schools in the 19th century were founded during a time when millennialism was very popular, especially postmillennialism. Many Christian educators felt education was a part of the way society was transformed into the kingdom of God. I think that this is an interesting way to view education. I know that it is easy for us to lose faith in institutions these days, but in many ways we should see schools as a means to change and transform lives, hearts, and minds.

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