Written by Teresa Goodnight
70%–that’s 7 out of 10 college students walk away from Christ by their junior year,
according to Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OKWU). That statistic alone should petrify parents. His haunting question: “Are you THAT sure your child won’t be one of the 7?”
CSM reported in February on Carson Lowe, a student at the University of Arkansas (formerly at Mingo Valley Christian), listening to the professor of 250 students in just one classroom proclaim there is no deity. Sadly, we see college professors gaming on our children. Meanwhile, we smile at our kids’ Instagram photos from sport rallies to fraternity parties, ignoring the statistics and warnings. Or, maybe, we’re just in the dark and need someone to open our eyes.
Dr. Piper started his interview with two simple questions for every parent:
“WHAT are they teaching your kids?”
“WHY in the world are you not concerned?”
Honestly my mind was shaken in minutes talking with Dr. Piper. I felt like the Supers (superheroes with powers) in Incredibles 2, when someone rips the hypnotic mask placed on their eyes. OUCH.
Dr. Piper had quickly volunteered to be interviewed. I sought some perspective from colleges and universities. I wanted to understand from their vantage point what exactly was going on out there. I knew how bad it was—or so I thought. Then, Dr. Piper started to speak. Our discussion made me uncomfortable—wishing it weren’t true. It was so powerful, I scrapped it for March. We changed the focus of the magazine for April to center around his warning. It was too critical to the future of Christianity to be a secondary story, too dangerous for our children graduating in just a few months to be pushed beyond a cover story. Dr. Piper needed the platform to rip off as many masks of deception possible from parents’ eyes.
Walking onto the campus of a university, students expect to receive an education to change the trajectory of their lives. According to Dr. Piper, that’s exactly what’s being offered—a purposeful, powerful effort to steer Christians students off course from their faith in Christ.
With Dr. Piper’s reference to the statistic, think quickly of how that might look:
21 of every 30 children in your youth groups—lost.
7 of every 10 children of parents in your Sunday School —derailed.
Play it out however makes the point in your heart–wide is the path that leads to destruction and narrow is the road towards a life with God. Dr. Piper said, “More professors than you can imagine (even at purportedly “Christian” colleges) find it sporting to destroy your child’s faith. They take pride in tearing down a biblical worldview and replacing it with ideas that are in direct opposition to orthodox Christianity. Everything you have taught your son and daughter will be challenged and maligned before they even get unpacked in their dorm room or attend their first class.” If that is going on, and so many stories like that of Carson Lowe reflect it is happening today—then why are we just sitting back and waving goodbye as they drive off merrily toward such statistically verifiable destruction?
They Don’t Learn Everything in Kindergarten–Indoctrination
I asked Dr. Piper, “What are your thoughts on a Christian education vs. a regular secular university?” He answered, “Every parent should be asking is this – Why spend 18 years training up your child in the way he should go, only to then to send him off to a university, where the goal is to tear his mind, heart, and soul out?” Dr. Piper continued, “Parents do it every day. Homeschool parents do it every day. Some seem to think ‘Oh. my son and my daughter will stand up to the religious persecution, the mockery, and the marginalization. My child will be fine.’ I see this misguided confidence all the time, only to have that parent approach me later and admit it was the worst decision they ever made, because they have lost their child.”
“When I went to college, I may have benefited from the cultural assumption that Christians, while perhaps a bit boring, were “good moral people.” We were thought of more positively. Most of our professors knew we wouldn’t lie and wouldn’t steal and wouldn’t try to hit on their wives or any of that type of thing so we were shown favor. These days are long gone. Christians are no longer treated that way.” he said. He went on, “We are now thought of as adversaries. They call us closed minded. They have decided we are judgmental. We have no right to live our lives by our religious code. We are truly the last minority group that is fair game for prejudice and persecution. So why in the world would any responsible parent want this for their 18-year old child? Since we know 70% of our kids will walk away from their faith before their junior year of college, why would you think your son or daughter is outside of that equation?”
I sat there listening with my mind becoming a bit overwhelmed. It’s not like I haven’t been watching the news. There is absolutely persecution to say, “I don’t have a right to decide what is right or wrong—God decided that for me and gave me a nice little book called the Bible as a reference.” I feel the change in the air about which Dr. Piper talked. Honestly, when you think about it, don’t you? Saying “I am a Christian” now assumes “I’m a judgmental person, blinded by religious bias.” It’s not my imagination. I’ve read it on social media. I’ve heard it first-hand.
Dr. Piper is right. He sees it even more clearly than we do. Students like Carson tell us stories about it. So why do we just go on about our gullibly, sending our children off to the slaughter without much more thought than cheering with scholarships or pledging and football bragging rights? Do we even want to wake up? It sure is fun to head to the Saturday game wearing the team colors after all. However, universities today are NOT the universities of old. And, maybe more importantly, according to Dr. Piper, the Christian universities are not all not necessarily a safer place to go either.
Dr. Piper warned, “Don’t be fooled. Christian colleges might not be better than any state university. You can’t just assume their marketing and nice four color brochures means they are actually faithful to the Christian beliefs and values upon which they were founded. Many Christian colleges are missing the mark. Some are, to state it bluntly, simply dishonest. Remember this simply axiom,
Wolves in sheep’s clothing are dangerous. But, wolves in shepherd’s clothing are downright deadly.”
Dr. Piper emphasized, “Any school can put together a slick marketing campaign that claims they are Christian and Christ-centered but do they truly practice what they preach? Do they hold tenaciously to the inerrancy of the Word? Do they believe and teach objectively of truth? If you do not see clear evidence that all of their faculty, every single one of them, teach and live out a conservative and orthodox Biblical worldview, that’s a red flag. Many “Christian” colleges actually take more pride in challenging and deconstructing a biblical worldview rather than teaching their students why they should believe it and how to defend it. Parents have to do their homework.”
Dr. Piper advises,
“Never send your son or daughter to any college or university until you pull the President aside and ask him two basic questions: What’s your view of scripture? And, what’s your view on truth? If he or she doesn’t say scripture is the inerrant word of God—run. If he or she doesn’t answer clearly, concisely, and boldly that Truth is a revelation of God, run even faster.
If there is any hint that they have imbibed the Kool Aid that truth is not an objective reality but rather a mere product of cultural dialogue, this is a giant red flag. It’s just not a good place to go.”
One thing Dr. Piper tells parents and students is this, “When you go to college you don’t major in opinions. I don’t grant degrees in opinions. That would be absurd. That would be an insult to you. You go to college to learn something. The point is to graduate knowing at a least a little more about what is right and true than you did when you started. Opinions always lead to brokenness and slavery. Pol Pot, Mao, and Mussolini all had opinions and it didn’t end well. But Jesus said, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Never send your son or daughter to a university that doesn’t understand this.” Dr. Piper continued, “There is freedom in truth but opinions always lead to bondage. Almost every college I know of celebrates feelings rather than facts and politically correct opinions rather than God’s clear and unalienable truths and the end result is ideological fascism rather than academic freedom.”
Dr. Piper has had many experiences with the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). This Council includes about 120 national evangelical Christian schools. Dr. Piper stated “The council is a broad umbrella representing Baptists, Wesleyans, non-denominational schools and so forth. Within that multidenominational venue, we have discussions over differences like baptism, speaking in tongues and other such matters as you would expect.” Dr. Piper went on, “Back when same-sex marriage passed as a recognized legal status, two of our universities, Goshen and Eastern Mennonite, announced they would immediately begin to hire ‘married” homosexual staff. As the result, the President of CCCU sent out a note to all member presidents saying that we needed to come together for a time of dialogue to determine how the council would move forward on this new matter.” Dr. Piper said he was a bit frustrated at the mere thought of having such a discussion. He said to the CCCU president, “Where in the scriptures are we ever told to have a conversation about sin? The Bible tells us that we are supposed to confess it, not sit around and talk about it.” He went further to confront the leadership of the Council: “You seem to be intentionally conflating a disagreement over methods of baptism with a volitional act of sodomy. How can you even suggest that these two things are on the same moral plane?”
Dr. Piper said “Today’s universities, have embraced agendas that are explicitly condemned in Scripture and are clearly contrary to common sense, empirical science and natural law. Christian and secular schools alike support sexual fluidity, transgender accommodations, and all things LGBTQ. There are ‘Sex weeks’ on campuses from coast to coast. Schools invite in porn stars as guest speakers. Traditional morality is ridiculed as little more than the unfortunate product of bigoted white privilege.” He added, “You would also be hard pressed to find a university that doesn’t support socialism vs. capitalism.” Dr. Piper says, “We should be teaching the next generation the virtues of American Exceptionalism* rather than tearing it down. Our culture is something to be proud of rather than something to apologize for.”
*(Wikipedia defines American Exceptionalism as “an ideology holding the United States as unique among nations in positive or negative connotations, with respect to its ideas of democracy and personal freedom.”)
Dr. Piper referenced a quote from Gilbert Keith Chesterton, an English writer, poet, and philosopher to name a few of his known skills,
“When you break the big laws, you do not get liberty…you get the small laws.”
(July 29, 1905).
Dr. Piper shared, “We have come to the point where we refuse to teach the big laws of God; ten simple and clear laws (and frankly Jesus narrowed it down to two!). We disparage those laws. We mock those laws. We malign those laws and what do we get? Thousands upon thousands of little laws from D.C. and elsewhere rushing in to fill the vacuum. This is not intellectual liberty. It’s ideological fascism. Instead of liberty, you see more and more conformity and more and more control. If you refuse to parrot the party line and or to repeat what is popular and in vogue they will crush you.”
Dr. Piper continued, “There’s a reason our culture is in a mess. Fifty percent of the country believes in socialism. We’ve lost the definition of marriage. We don’t understand the male and female physiology in our high schools and our universities. We are seeing the negative consequences bear themselves out in the nightly news. The sex-weeks on college campuses that I mention above have pornographers, adult film stars, sex therapists, booths with sex paraphernalia, lectures complete with X rated movies. This is not just in the Ivy league. It is right here in Oklahoma too.” He went on, “When you teach 18-year old men that this is the way they should think and these are the values they should embrace what do you expect? Why are we surprised to see the Matt Lauers and the Harvey Weinsteins of the world making headlines? You are going to get lechers when you teach lechery. We have taught them to behave this way. It’s really no surprise.”
Dr. Piper reaffirmed to me, there is a war for the hearts and minds of our young people. They are the future. Satan knows it. He’s armed and ready to annihilate them at every chance he gets. He’s beating down the doors to the schools. He’s running rampant on the campuses. We either have to put on the armor of God or admit surrender, as this fight cannot be won with passivity. A fight like Dr. Piper references needs sound instruction for our children in God’s word, God’s laws. It needs someone willing to stand up, who knows the reasons they must stand. It needs disciples of Christ, armed and trained in the inerrant word of God. Make no mistake. It’s a war. Don’t worry though. If you aren’t seeing it, you are exactly where the enemy wants you on his way to many victories at the expense of your children and your grandchildren. Just sit there. He will make you nice and comfortable, as he gently turns up the heat to boil you in the proverbial pot.
A LITTLE ON OKWU
Interestingly, as an example of a University clinging to the principles of the Bible, Oklahoma Wesleyan University is not afraid to boldly be pro-life. OKWU even has a mobile ultrasound clinic, which saved the lives of over 200 children. They are simply unapologetic over their pro-life stance. We have seen another Christian university in Oklahoma shy away from such a stance because of federal funds, which cause them to remain silent in fear. It was of no surprise to me when I read OKWU’s value statement: “Unapologetic in our commitment to the truth of Christ and the truth of Scripture, OKWU models a way of thought, a way of life,
and a way of faith. This is a place of serious study, honest questions, and critical engagement, all in the context of a liberal arts community that honors the Primacy of Jesus Christ, the Priority of Scripture, the Pursuit of Truth, and the Practice of Wisdom.”
THIS IS NOT AN AD for OKWU. If you were educated about what might set them apart for Christ, as I was in writing the article—well, good. I’d love to highlight all universities with this kind of commitment to the Bible and these sorts of values. They certainly aren’t as easy to find as my heart would like them to be.
Education. Does Where it Comes from Matter?
“’The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next’” Dr. Piper quoted from Abraham Lincoln. He expounded, “Where do our children spend most of their time? It’s in school. Think of the average hours in school vs. with mom and dad vs. church. There’s no question. School wins. So why would we think, when that’s where they’re getting most of their information, that these ideas aren’t going to sink in? How can we think they aren’t going to be influential in how they live their lives?” Dr. Piper is again spot on. We have to be equally engaged in the elementary and secondary school years about what’s going in, because it WILL come out. That’s how it works.
Dr. Piper also talked of Richard Weaver, author of “Ideas have Consequences.” He shared, “Why is publication date (1948) of Weaver’s book important? It is because it was just a handful of years after the Nazis holocaust. Weaver was writing to the German people, his own people. He was saying that ideas have consequences. His point was very simple: ‘The terrible things we taught in our schools bore themselves out in the terrible actions of our culture.’ We would be wise to learn this lesson.” says Dr. Piper.
Truth is, Dr. Piper isn’t saying anything our pastors haven’t warned us about before. It sinks in on some level. However, as Christian parents in our current culture, if we want our children following Christ, then we have got to take off the masks and see reality. We must arm them with Truth (the Bible) and an ability to study it, understand it and apply it with precision. We must TEACH THEM how to guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We know we have always heard that. However, in the current climate we live in—Dr. Piper is saying we need to wake up and take heed. Don’t just read his words and this article and think, “Hmm…that’s scary,” and then wonder about what you should eat for dinner. That’s exactly the response the enemy in this war is expects to get. It’s at best lukewarm. Just put the magazine back for anyone else to take. With a broken heart, I sadly guarantee, if your child later becomes one of the 7/10, you’ll wish you could go back to this moment and choose better. #GoDoBe
Taking A Stand. #GoDoBe
Read about OKWU taking it to the mat by taking an important religious freedom case to court and fighting for rights being stripped away by new laws:
• “A federal district court issued an order Tuesday (5/16/18) that permanently prevents the federal government from enforcing the Obamacare abortion-pill mandate against four Christian universities in Oklahoma represented by Alliance Defending Freedom. The order also declares that the mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” Citation from https://www.okwu.edu/blog/2018/05/court-orders-end-abortion-pill-mandate/
• OKWU was the only university in the country to challenge the government’s imposition in the courts. “When Oklahoma Wesleyan sued the Department of Education in 2016, we alleged that the Obama DOE had unlawfully issued Title IX guidance in 2011 and had unilaterally imposed unfair and impermissible conditions on all colleges and universities,” said Dr. Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan. “The mandate violated the privacy rights of our female students, denied due process for all students, and undercut the role of local law enforcement to investigate and adjudicate sexual misconduct.” Their actions allowed the opportunity for all parties to comment on the proposed rules to result in a much fairer system for effectively addressing issues of campus sexual assault. https://www.okwu.edu/blog/2018/02/okwu-agrees-dismissal-federal-lawsuit-office-civil-rights/