Recently I was asked by a young Christian for my opinion about Christian colleges. My alma mater, Eastern Nazarene College, was mentioned as a consideration. Here is what I was asked:
“I was thinking about transferring to another university in the fall of 2014.
I know you like to do a lot of research, and such, so I have several questions.
1. What are the positive things about Eastern Nazarene College (I ask this first because I know you might ignore the pros)?
2. What are the bad things about ENC?
3. What Christian colleges would you recommend?
I will share my answers here, in the hopes that I can contribute towards helping other young Christians make the right decision for their future education.
First of all, I am honored that you would seek my advice regarding such an important decision in your life. I pray that any influence I may have in your life is based on a biblically-centered worldview, and based on the unwavering truth that the Bible is God’s inerrant word, and it is the final authority for our Christian faith and practice. So here are my answers to your three questions.
Question 1: What are the positive things about Eastern Nazarene College?
It’s hard for me nowadays to think of the positive things about ENC, when there are so many negatives that I have found. Although I don’t ignore the pros about any school, I consider them based on the cons as well. One positive is that I am sure there are principled, biblically grounded professors at ENC, who would be a good influence for you if you were in any of their courses. You will probably be able to find a real Bible believing professor at any Christian school, except perhaps for the very worst ones. I am sure also that there are good career programs at the school, perhaps one that will fit your career plans. I recall enjoying much of what I learned back when I attended ENC in the late seventies. ENC is also located in a town which is not far from the city of Boston, a city rich with historical significance. They have a pretty good athletics program, and if you are interested in sports, you may well want to participate. These are some of the positives I can think of right now.
Question 2: What are the bad things about ENC?
I will summarize some of the most significant things that make ENC a “Christian” school in name only, and instead makes it a breeding ground for some of the most damaging and anti-God teachings you would ever encounter.
- ENC supports and welcomes professors who teach ungodly ideologies, such as: open theism, the teaching that God does not know the future; process theology, the teaching that God is not perfect, and actually learns from His mistakes; and “theistic” evolution, a godless belief in our origins that completely contradicts God’s word and clear account of how he created us. One of the most dangerous professors who taught evolution, Karl Giberson, has left ENC, but still speaks at schools such as Northwest Nazarene University and remains an influence.
- ENC has been gradually softening its position on the clear biblical teachings on homosexuality. Its leadership recently approved the formation of an LGBTQ support group on campus. Its current chaplain delivered one of the most shameful messages to the student body at a chapel service a few years ago, diluting the message of the Gospel and condoning the acceptance of “homosexual Christians.” It is clear that the president and other leadership have no problem with the kind of message given that day. They are compromisers of the truth and are filling the minds of students with an unbiblical message, in the name of “love.”
- ENC welcomes false teachers to speak at their chapels. They have repeatedly had Tony Campolo to speak. Campolo blatantly promoted mysticism to all the students and pastors in attendance the last time he spoke, and not one person seemed to care. The college leadership personally told me they had no problem with Tony Campolo, in spite of my warnings and evidence of his unbiblical ideology. Discernment is sorely lacking in the leadership at ENC.
- ENC is ecumenical in philosophy. In a personal conversation my wife and I had with the college president, the chaplain, and the provost, President Corlis McGee referred to Roman Catholics as “brothers and sisters in Christ.” How can that be, when the Roman Catholic Church teaches a works-based gospel, that you have do good works in order to be saved? Sadly, this trend is happening throughout the Nazarene denomination. ENC even lists several Roman Catholic churches in its list of suggested churches on their website. My father, who was rescued by Jesus from Roman Catholic bondage, would be in tears at knowing what is happening now.
- ENC promotes many books by emergent church leaders, such as Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and others. You will find these books in the college bookstore, along with Roman Catholic bibles, including one that even has a rosary inside it.
There is much more I could tell you, but I want to keep this fairly brief. You can read many articles about ENC and the other Nazarene colleges at my blog (see link at the end), including the entire transcript of the chaplain’s message about homosexuality. I do not recommend a single Nazarene university today, because all of them have been compromised by false teaching, some very severely.
Since what you are considering is Christian colleges, I recommend that you stay away from Eastern Nazarene College if you are opposed to one or more of the things I listed. If a definition of a Christian college is that it is one that upholds the very basic principles and teachings of the Bible while providing a good education, then ENC does not live up to that standard. The school no longer even lives up to Nazarene standards, yet calls itself Nazarene. This is clear misrepresentation of a product. For example, you will not see any clear statements from the leadership that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible word of God- because they do not believe it is. Instead, you will most likely hear of seminars and lectures that promote social justice and good works, diminishing the true teachings of Scripture and changing the real Gospel into another gospel.
Many people have told me, “hey, its better that they go to a “Christian” school than a secular school. Well, at a secular school what you would be up against is a worldly philosophy that is unpretentious, and most would not even care that you are Christian anyway. You will definitely know your “enemy” if you go to a secular school. But at most “Christian” schools today, you will find that the enemy is from within, and you will discover also that the enemy is very deceiving. The apostle Paul wrote that Satan and his servants appear to us as ministers of light, and thus they will work to deceive you, or at least oppress you in your Christian faith. Is that what you really want at a “Christian” school?
Question 3: What Christian colleges would you recommend?
Most “Christian” universities today promote and teach spiritual formation, which is another word for contemplative spirituality or mysticism. There are really few that I can recommend just based on that fact, and even the ones I recommend need to be “inspected” before making the commitment. At the minimum, if a Christian school does not clearly and boldly state their stand on Scripture as the word of God, then that school is suspect, and perhaps you need to look elsewhere. The list I have made at the end is not exhaustive, but are schools I have either researched, or they have been recommended by trusted Christian friends. In the end, you must do your own homework before making that final decision. I realize some of them may not have the programs that you are seeking, so some of them may be ruled out for that reason.
Short of God’s intervention with an infusion of godly administrators who are dedicated to real Biblical principles, schools such as Eastern Nazarene College are doomed to continue down a path of corrupted teaching which will damage many in their faith, and divert many others from the real Jesus.
In the end, it is clearly a decision you will need to make yourself with much prayer and with guidance from God’s word. Should you decide that you can weather the storm and go to ENC, you must acknowledge that you are going to be surrounded by wolves in sheep’s clothing, while at the same time your money is benefiting a school that is not upholding biblical principles. You will need to realize that the need to put on God’s armor is even greater when you attend a “Christian” school, and that the very people who are entrusted with your spiritual health and guidance, may be the ones who will do their best to undermine it.
May the Lord grant you wisdom.
Here are some recommended Christian Colleges that do not teach spiritual formation nor promote the emerging church, as far as I know. You will have to research them to see if they offer programs that you are interested in.
Bob Jones University (South Carolina)
Pensacola Christian College (Florida)
Allegheny Wesleyan College (Salem, OH)
Appalachian Bible College (West Virginia)
Atlanta Baptist College (Georgia)
Berean Bible Institute (Wisconsin)
Bible Missionary Institute (Rock Island, IL)
Boston Baptist College (Massachusetts)
Cornerstone Bible Institute (South Dakota)
Faith Baptist Bible College & Seminary (Iowa)
Faith Bible School (Mitchell, SD)
God’s Bible School (Cincinnati, OH)
Heartland Baptist Bible College ( Oklahoma)
His Hill Bible School and Camp (Texas)
Hobe Sound Bible College, Florida)
International Baptist College (Arizona)
Northwest Indian Bible Institute (Alberton, MT)
Penn View Bible Institute (Penns Creek, PA)
Union Bible College (Westfield, IN)
Corey McPherson’s message at ENC:
ENC’s Local Church Recommendation page: