Why Christian Higher Education?
Reason #4 – TO LIVE MISSIONALLY
When you walk through the halls of history you find a prevalent assumption that professional religious workers, such as the pastor or the missionary, are the ones who really doing the will of God. Full time religious workers perform sacred work – first class service for God. However, those who are carpenters, housewives or plumbers are relegated to secular work – second best or second class service. If this idea is true it means that the students preparing for pastoral work are called to first class service and that those preparing for any other “secular” work are preparing for second class service.
What does the Bible say about this idea? The earth is the Lord’s (Psalm 24:1). Christ is Lord of all of life – not just religious life (Col 1:18-25 – “that in everything he might be preeminent”). There is no line between the sacred and the secular – rather, all of life is sacred because all of life is lived under His lordship. If all of life is sacred then every vocation is sacred service for God – there is no second class service. Martin Luther wrote, “the entire world is full of service to God, not only the churches but also the home, the kitchen, the cellar, the workshop, and the field of the townsfolk and farmers.”
In the fourth century Eusebius wrote that full-time religious workers embody the “perfect form of Christian life,” whereas farmers and traders may achieve only “a kind of secondary grade of piety.” In other words, his idea was that not only are those involved in “secular work” doing second class service but they are second class Christians. By implication this idea means the person involved in “secular” work is permitted or even prescribed to live out a lower standard of devotion and spirituality. This notion is alive and well in our own culture. We expect the pastor to live a spiritual life and to live out his vocation with integrity and commitment – to walk and work Christianly. However, as every day believers, we often assume that the same standard does not apply to us. We assume that it is permissible and even expected that we live in second class Christianity.
But there is only one class! Therefore, God calls believers in all vocations, to know Him deeply, to live out their Christian lives with depth, integrity and Christian character. Our culture does not merely need Christians in the work place – believers who live with the same values and same ethics as their culture do not provide salt or light. Rather, the need is for Christians in every vocation who walk and work Christianly, who shape a kingdom culture.
Prairie is committed to provide vocational training with excellence because there is no second class service. But Prairie is also committed to providing training for Christian growth because there are no second-class Christians. We are no less serious about preparing nursing students to walk and work Christianly than we are to train pastors to walk and work Christianly. Our hope and desire is that within a Christian post-secondary, Christian students will be formed to live their faith through their service so as to provide a genuine alternative to their culture and live missionally in their vocation.
More reasons to follow…