ERIC Number: EJ1203915
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Abstractor: As Provided
Christian Higher Education in the United States: The Crisis of Evangelical Identity
Hammond, Michael D.
Christian Higher Education, v18 n1-2 p3-15 2019
The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) is the most successful higher education organization to emerge from the modern American evangelical movement. Especially within the context of the United States, higher education has been a key element of neo-evangelicalism since the 1940s. Rather than choosing "between" biblical truth and cultural outreach, post-World War II neo-evangelicals called the church toward a thoughtful approach to address the needs of the world. The early movement was focused not only on evangelistic ministry efforts, but also on education as a primary means for shaping the culture. As modern evangelicalism took shape in the 1950s, the movement struggled to find a consistent moral voice. From early challenges related to the civil rights movement to current debates over poverty and immigration, evangelicals have engaged with cultural issues, but with a wide variety of strategies and viewpoints. Political issues have brought evangelicals into public life, and some leaders have used elections as the primary means for promoting moral concerns. Consequently, the public may often view U.S. evangelicals as activists concerned with political voting rather than as sincere followers of Christ who are committed to social ethics. Yet, the Christian college represents a significant platform for sustaining evangelical thought in public life. Evangelicalism has suffered a fracturing in the last decade or so, and the term now carries a negative connotation in some circles. Many colleges in the CCCU are searching for a new way to describe their evangelical identity. The historical meaning of the term "evangelical" focused on gospel proclamation and social reform. A return to this emphasis, as well as an alignment with the international focus of evangelical movement, can provide a more accurate and consistent legacy for evangelical institutions.
Descriptors: Church Related Colleges, Higher Education, Christianity, Religious Factors, Religious Education, Institutional Mission, Institutional Role, Educational History, Educational Change, Politics of Education, Beliefs, Social Action, Activism
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A