Every university has a purpose, a mission. Ours is to prepare students for great jobs in a changing economy by providing a “biblically integrated education” that will prepare them to serve God in “ministries and professional occupations.”
But life is more than finding a good job and career. We all have gifts and abilities, a destiny and a purpose, and as followers of Christ we understand those gifts come from a loving God who directs our path. When we pursue His calling on our life, and take His truth and His principles into the world, we bring godly influence into our culture. And that is the vision for Arizona Christian University – to “educate and equip followers of Christ to transform culture with the truth.”
Can we at Arizona Christian University make a difference for the Kingdom of God? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time in history that God used students at a small college to bring cultural transformation.
A while back I was reading a book that talked about a nation that was “on the verge of moral disintegration.” What did that look like?
Much of that sounds familiar to American Christians today, doesn’t it? But the book wasn’t about America today. It was describing Great Britain during the first half of the 18th century. The book is “The Burning Heart: John Wesley, Evangelist,” and it was written 44 years ago, in 1967.
In the introduction, the author is describing what the nation of Great Britain looked like – laying a foundation for the the moral and spiritual mess into which John Wesley and George Whitefield and other Christian evangelists of that era were born. Now imagine what some followers of Christ in Great Britain might have been thinking in the first half of the 18th century …
“I sure hope Jesus returns soon because this country is headed straight downhill.” Or: “If God doesn’t judge England he needs to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
So how did God transform Great Britain?
Well, it started at a small college called Oxford, with a few young people gathering for prayer and reflection on their relationship with Christ, and it shook the world. As God changed and transformed and set on fire the hearts of the Wesley brothers and George Whitefield, the historical evidence is quite clear -- their prayers and their preaching had a transformative effect on that entire nation, and the Awakening that began in England spread to the New World and affected the very founding of the American republic.
All of the issues England was facing were affected by this awakening … Christian leaders like Wilberforce rose up in government and fought slavery … laws changed, behavior changed, crime, drunkenness, gambling, and prostitution declined, marriage was again respected. More importantly, the claims of Jesus Christ were understood and embraced by many millions.
The battles in England today – the loss of faith, the abandonment of Christianity to the sidelines of British culture – remind us that each generation must fight its own battles. Each generation in every nation has an opportunity and a challenge – to continue a culture’s departure from truth, or to be transformed together by the renewing of our minds … even more, to pursue relationship with God with a passion and a purity that can engage and revitalize an entire culture, and nation, and world.
So as we begin a new year, and new traditions at Arizona Christian University, I have two questions for our community:
Why not us? And why not now?