Why I Repent Teaching in Secular Higher Education
An open letter of lament to my students
This is my story.
What I am about to express opens up the code of silence that many Christian college faculty may feel in the depths of hindsight.
I think of all the opportunities I forfeited at serving God while I was buying humanism and moral relativism, hook line and sinker—never doubting my position in the academe. I was building my career, right? I was using my gifts and talents so it must be God sent, unmistakably.
I couldn’t sleep at night. I was vexed like Lot and dejected like Joseph.
In the words of the Apostle Paul:
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Philippians 3: 8-9
I asked myself: How could I continue in an institution that indoctrinates children in humanism and justify it as God’s will for my life?
Was I foolish to think I could not be spoiled through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ? Why did I misplace my vexation with the notion that if God allowed me to enter a career in secular higher education, then it must be approved and favorable to Him. I was doing a good job, after all—I was getting good evaluations, I was staying away from the unfruitful works of darkness, my managers approved of me, and I was getting paid well while acquiring more class sections to teach. The students were learning a great deal and were bearing fruit in their writing skills.
Well, God still got a hold of me, despite what seemed fine. I realized that I would not be worth my salt if I didn’t mention the spoils of vain deceit, the tradition of men, the rudiments of the world. If I could only write a letter to every one of my students, I would pour out remorse and regret. I’ve borne a heap of sorrow and guilt over my part in the process of indoctrinating them in what goes antithetical to my faith in God. I repent and I lament:
I taught you writing and critical thinking in a place that was at war with the Creator of all things, teaching you that what you were learning in my class was to get you closer to the philosophies of the academe, at the cost of getting you further away from God. I told you that successful people paid attention and do well in class and study and make good grades.
I am sorry, dear student, for agreeing to put you through petty drills to make the standard grade and keep your eyes on the essay at hand, on the thesis, on proving yourself clear and concise. What you really needed was someone to tell you that you were good at something, that God can reveal to you the gifts He’s imparted to you, and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. That as challenging as you were with me in class—defiant, irresponsible, tardy, negligent—I needed to tell you that God loves you.
To hear you say you wanted to be an electrician and that you weren’t interested in learning how to expand your vocabulary or how to write eloquently should have been perfectly fine with me—we are all gifted in distinctive ways. We are not all the same. We don’t flourish in a monolithic. Academia defined success and we were to assign the work and grade the value—a collection of life sentences that would eventually tell the world where you were by the standards of secular humanism.
I wish I could tell you that fools despise wisdom and that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord. I should have asked you what good is success and money and a premiere education if your soul is lost? What good is it to encourage you to invest your money in support of a secular education that devastates you spiritually and morally, even though academically you will be favored in the world? I regret not proclaiming from the high tops that you’re learning a false religion when right and wrong is taught to be rooted in moral reasoning (relativism). The Bible refers to this as “having other gods before me.”
You survived through the confines of the classroom, a box waiting to implode with minds vulnerable to all sorts of philosophies, beautiful minds influenced by the doctrine of man. And I survived that as well. I broke free from that box and only by God’s grace, was delivered into His protective hands, and was shown that what was worth fighting for was that beautiful mind of yours.
Now, I will fight tooth and nail for you, people like my children, people who are led astray by the spirit of the age.