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August-September 2018


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The Right Kind of Instruction

By Daniel A. Webster


You only need to read a short while in the Proverbs to notice two dominant themes: 1) godly wisdom actively seeks instruction; 2) godly wisdom actively seeks the right kind of instruction. If this is the case, we must examine the teachers we allow to influence our thinking.

I am thankful for the opportunity to teach at Welch College as an adjunct instructor. When I was in school, several of my professors had a massive impact on my life, and it is an immeasurable blessing (and responsibility) to know I may play a small part in impacting the life-direction of my students.

The release of the movie God’s Not Dead a few years ago sparked a renewed interest in the religious beliefs of community college and university professors. The movie portrays an individual of strong faith who stands up to his antagonistic, atheist professor. As in Proverbs, he refuses to receive instruction of a fool who claims there is no God (Proverbs 14:1).

But is the movie accurate? Do these types of things really take place at secular schools? While I have heard stories of professors who mock the faith of students,

I have also heard firsthand accounts of professors who were kind and accommodating of students’ faith. An examination into the research conducted by Gross and Simmons provides helpful insight on this topic. Neil Gross, former assistant professor of sociology at Harvard University and currently Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology at Colby College, and Solon Simmons, assistant professor of conflict analysis and sociology at George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, recently (February 6, 2007) conducted research to find out “How Religious Are America’s College and University Professors?”


Do You Believe in God?

A large sample of professors from community college, four-year universities, non-elite PhD programs, and elite PhD programs were asked to affirm statements with which they agreed. Here are the actual results concerning these professors’ belief in God:

  • 10.0% “I don’t believe in God.”

  • 13.4% “I don’t know whether there is a God, and I don’t believe there is any way to find out.”

  • 19.6% “I don’t believe in a personal God, but I do believe in a Higher Power of some kind.”

  • 4.4% “I find myself believing in God some of the time, but not at others.”

  • 16.9% “While I have my doubts, I feel that I do believe in God.”

  • 35.7% “I know God really exists, and I have no doubts about it.”

Common wisdom often suggests the majority of college professors are atheists; according to these results, this is not true. But the fact that only 36% of professors claim they “know God really exists and have no doubts about it,” should cause great concern.


Having a Form of Godliness But Denying Its Power

When surveying the data, two findings were quite startling. The first concerns the question of origins. Gross and Simmons’s research found that 84.1% of professors surveyed disagreed with the following statement (with 75.3% registering strong disagreement): “The theory
of intelligent design is a serious scientific alternative to the Darwinian theory of evolution.” That’s right—84% of the professors surveyed do not believe God created the world.

This is important. While 36% of those surveyed did, in fact, believe in God, only 16% believe in God as Creator. The research goes on to survey these professors’ view of Scriptures. Only 6.1% of professors believe “the Bible is the actual Word of God.”

Even among professors who claim God is not dead, a smaller percentage actually believe God reveals Himself through the Scriptures. I can’t help but be reminded of Paul’s description of the last days, when people have “the appearance of godliness, but deny its power.” These “are always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:5-7). One who claims belief in God yet denies the Scriptures has only a form of godliness. I sincerely pray for the 6.1% who have a faith rooted in the Scriptures, that they would be a light in this dark world.


Does It Really Matter?

If I am getting a degree in business, does it really matter that my professor doesn’t believe the Bible is the actual word of God? If I am getting a degree in biology, does it really matter that my professor doesn’t think the theory of intelligent design is a serious scientific alternative to the Darwinian theory of evolution?

Yes, it matters.

University students, regardless of major, take up to half of their college courses in general education fields pertaining to things like human origins, marriage, sexuality, gender, the family, religion, philosophy, the meaning of life, the value of human life, and so on. These are biblical matters that must be viewed in light of Scripture. Both business majors and biology majors are taught from a perspective not only contrary to but often hostile to Christian faith.

Additionally, we must approach all study of all subjects with the presuppositions God exists and He created, that He reveals Himself to man through Christ and the Scriptures, and He plays an active role in His world through the Spirit and the Church. Unfortunately, many believers have a false dichotomy between what is learned at school and what is learned at church. This should not be—truth is God’s truth, wherever it is found.

At Welch College, as a regionally accredited institution, we are blessed to offer 40 programs of study taught not only by professors who are experts in their fields (65% hold terminal degrees in their areas of study), but who hold the Scriptures to be the inerrant and sufficient Word of God.

The Proverbs state godly wisdom actively seeks instruction. This is clear in the declaration “fools despise wisdom and instruction.” But, godly wisdom also listens to the right kind of instruction. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. We must incline our ear to men and women who first and foremost fear the Lord. To be the right kind of people, we must receive the right kind of instruction.

About the Writer: Daniel Webster is director of enrollment services at Welch College. He served four years as lead pastor of Glad Tidings FWB Church in Asheboro, North Carolina, and ten years as an associate pastor at Gateway FWB Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Webster has written young adult curriculum for Randall House since 2014. He has master’s degrees in biblical studies and church music. He and his wife Kimberly have three children, Aaron, Julianna, and Noah. Learn more about Welch College: Read more from Daniel:


©2018 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists