“Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord.”
About eight miles down the road from where I live, sits Oberlin College. It was founded by two Presbyterian ministers and named after a third prominent minister, J.F. Oberlin. The school was originally established in 1833 to educate a missionary army of Christian soldiers. It was founded on spiritual principles and embedded in a wave of Christian revivals that involved Charles Finney, a leader in the Second Great Awakening. A chapel in his honor still sits on the campus. However today, as you walk the campus of Oberlin College, you easily observe that its focus is liberal arts – with an emphasis on liberal.
Harvard College was founded in 1638 by Puritans for the purpose of training missionaries for the Gospel. Sadly, by the mid-19th century those Puritan embers of spirituality had burnt off and disappeared. Yale University was founded in 1701. From its’ inception, it was designed to teach students to respect the Bible as the Word of God. Students from Yale would travel the country preaching salvation. But it too sadly walked away from its spiritual embers. Both these universities, like Oberlin College, ended up buried in a permissive and progressive existence that destroyed the purpose they had come into existence for. Apparently, some institutions of higher learning have learned nothing.
You ask how America can be in the sad, shameful, dishonorable condition that it is in. You wonder what went wrong. The above centers of higher learning can teach us how. Universities, as well as nations that were founded for the glory of God, can easily end up losing their way because other purposes take over. Purposes that distracted their initial values and objectives.
But before any of us start pointing our fingers at our liberal humanistic nation and institutes of higher learning, let’s stop and search our own hearts. Perhaps we have all lost some of our zeal for the Lord. Perhaps we all somehow got distracted, sidetracked, caught up in family, money, success, or a thousand other things and forgot the very purpose for which we exist. Perhaps each of us needs to stop and reconsecrate our heart, mind, soul, and strength to knowing and serving Jesus Christ better. If we who live in America don’t come back to our first love, our first call; we may all end up like Oberlin College, Harvard, Yale…..and much of America.