What do college students do when they aren’t studying?


My Greek teacher Rev. James Lipscomb and I during one of our tutoring sessions at his home in Ruston, LA (circa 1994).

“What do college students do when they aren’t studying?” According to the Wall Street Journal’s Naomi Riley’s review of two books about college life, college students are primarily engaged in idleness.

No, they are not studying and going to class forty hours a week. They certainly are not becoming avid readers. Rather, they are in pursuit of the ideal represented in their ubiquitous watchword: “fun.” “Fun” includes among other things a great deal of binge drinking (often beginning on Thursday night and going through the weekend) and frequent casual sexual encounters.

This sad state of affairs comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to the decline of university life over the last thirty years or so. We are no longer shocked by Jay Leno’s undergraduate “Jay Walking All-Stars” who don’t even know who the vice-president of the United States is. We simply assume that a significant number of undergraduates will be idle dead-heads who really don’t learn that much by the end of their seven years of college.

There was a time in the history of higher education in America when going to college meant going to get an education. To be an undergraduate student was more than merely hanging around old buildings with books in them.

My own undergraduate experience began with the same shiftlessness portrayed in Ms. Riley’s article (minus the partying and dissipation). Academically speaking, I was just there to get a piece of paper. Somebody told me I needed that paper, so I was there to get it. I had no clue about how an education could enrich one’s life and faith. But that all changed during my sophomore year.

During my second year in college, I entered into a profound crisis of faith. As a result of one professor in particular and a few other key influences, I came to doubt the reliability of the sourcebook of my faith: the Bible. It was as if someone had yanked the rug out from under me and I had no where else to stand.

But God used this spiritual and emotional crisis to drive me to a whole new perspective on Him and my education. In addition to being driven back to the Bible, I became blood-earnest about understanding history, philosophy, theology and all the other big worldview disciplines that have impacted Christianity over the centuries.

For me, it wasn’t an academic exercise, it was a matter of spiritual life and death to understand the Bible and where it came from, to understand the history of theology, and to think God’s thoughts after others who have gone before.

My love of the Greek Bible began in earnest during this period because I knew that I had to read this book for myself. I could no longer allow the secularists to tell me what the Bible is, what it is saying, and where it came from. I had to know God’s revelation for myself or I felt as if I would drown in the morass of conflicting opinions about it.

I’m not saying that everyone’s experience should be like mine or that everyone should go to college so that they can become a New Testament professor. What I am saying is that an education is not coextensive with a piece of paper. Many people with the piece of paper don’t have an education.

An education relates to how we view the mind that God has given us. Are we going to be passive receptacles for the world’s tripe, or will we discipline ourselves for the glory of God to learn about Him and the world in which He’s put us? An education is not just about knowledge (though it certainly includes that!), but it is also the formation of our character under God and the shaping of our minds according to a biblical worldview.

I fear that the majority of what passes for undergraduate education today is very far from such an ideal. May God allow us to see this tide turned in our generation for the glory of God.

(For more on philosophical and theological roots of the current crisis, see my review of George Marsden’s The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief.)

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Pro-Life and Hip-Hop: Nick Cannon’s Amazing Video

Nick Cannon and His Mother

It’s not often that a rap video brings a tear to your eye. But my wife and I watched one tonight that did.

Some of you may know Nick Cannon from the hit movie “Drumline” or perhaps from his new show on MTV, “Nick Cannon Presents Wild ‘N Out.” What you may not know is that he released a music video this summer that is powerfully pro-life.

The lyrics to the song tell the true story of Nick Cannon’s mother. When she became pregnant with Nick, she was an unwed teenager. She made it all the way to the operating table of the abortion clinic when she realized that she was about to do something awful. So she got up and walked away from the clinic and away from the abortion. The rest of the song is a “thank you” to his mother for letting him live. The video closes with Nick embracing and thanking his real-life mother.

The music video to the song “Can I Live” is one of the most poignant pro-life messages that I have ever witnessed. Reading the lyrics alone won’t really convey the emotional wallop that you get from watching the video. So I highly recommend clicking here or here to see it for yourself.

Kathryn Jean Lopez from National Review Online writes:

“Cannon’s new music video ‘Can I Live?’ tells a tale that’s very different from a gangsta’s paradise of dirty dancing and booty calls that Cannon may be sandwiched in between on MTV or BET. In the song, the hip-hop pop star tells his life story — or at least the beginning of it and his mom’s close call with abortion.

“Cannon, 24, appears in the video as a ghost (or an angel, if you prefer) and sings, ‘Mommy, I don’t like this clinic. Hopefully you’ll make the right decision, and don’t go through with the knife decision.’

“A scared teen, his mother was on a gurney — that’s how close the call was — but got up, and, at least in the video version, ran.

“He points out to his mother something she got on some level, or she wouldn’t have gotten up: ‘That’s a life inside you, look at your tummy. What is becoming Ma, I am Oprah bound. You can tell he’s a star from the Ultrasound.’

“The video images tell a stirring, gripping story regardless of where you fall in the abortion debate.”

Go watch the video and buy the single. We should support something that is bound to save many lives that might otherwise have been snuffed out.

(R. Albert Mohler talked about the video on his radio show. You can download the mp3 of Mohler’s program here.)

(HT to Justin Taylor whose blog first brought this video to my attention.)

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“No Miracles Allowed”

Today’s Washington Post runs a story on the Intelligent Design (ID) debate titled “In Explaining Life’s Complexity, Darwinists and Doubters Clash.” One opponent of Intelligent Design explains why he thinks ID is unscientific: “One of the rules of science is, no miracles allowed. That’s a fundamental presumption of what we do.”

Isn’t it telling that the proponents of Darwinism reject ID based solely on the presumption that ID can’t be right. There’s no serious engagement of the arguments and data cited by ID proponents, just an a priori dismissal.

This just goes to show the atheistic naturalism that is at the heart of much of modern science. This God-less presumption concerning human origins is no less a faith commitment than those who would argue otherwise.

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“Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive”

Even the title of the story reveals that the New York Times is on the war-path against intelligent design: “Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive”. This article reads like an opinion piece, but it’s not. It’s reported as straight news. There is no serious engagement of arguments in this article, just the usual ad-hominem accusation that Intelligent Design scientists are politically motivated culture warriors.

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The Gospel for Porn Stars and Porn Addicts


“. . . and such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:11)

After two critical posts, it’s time to say something constructive. Even if I can’t agree with the methods of the XXXChurch, I do want to affirm their desire to take the Gospel to every sinner. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is just as much for porn stars and porn addicts as it is for any other sinner on planet earth. Continue Reading →

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More on the XXX Church

I have had more than one person object to my last post with something like the following: “You cannot come down on these guys for going to the porn convention because they may not have a struggle with lust like most other men do. Besides, we have to take the Gospel to sinners, and sometimes that may mean going to porn conventions.”

I want to respond to those objections with a few thoughts. Continue Reading →

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R. Albert Mohler on Contraception in Marriage

R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has posted the second of two articles on married couples who refuse to have children. You ought to take a look at both of them.

This most recent article is titled “Deliberate Childlessness Revisited,” and the first is titled “Deliberate Childlessness: Moral Rebellion With a New Face.”

Mohler admits that he touched a nerve with the first article—which is no surprise given that he maintains that “deliberate childlessness” is a “moral rebellion” against God.

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The New York Times Bashes the NARAL Ad

Can you believe it? Now the New York Times is editorializing against the NARAL ad! Not only that, but John Tierney piles on with an Op-Ed titled “Pro-Choice but Anti-Naral.”

This bodes ill for NARAL Pro-Choice America and leaves them looking more and more like a fringe group. No doubt this is why their communications director, David Seldin, has resigned.

The Times editorial ends with the following paragraph:

“In withdrawing the ad, Naral’s president, Nancy Keenan, said that the controversy sparked by the ad had ‘become a distraction’ from the group’s effort to educate the public. Lamentably, her statement stopped short of apologizing to Judge Roberts, and to Americans of all ideological stripes who are hoping for a confirmation process at once vigorous and informed. If Naral wants to regain credibility, it should start there.”

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