by Sharyn Kopf—Cedarville, Ohio
February 26, 2009
Article first appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of Torch, published by Cedarville University
"Cedarville is equipping student's to enage the culture."
Just listen to Cedarville University President Bill Brown for any length of time, and chances are you will hear him use those words in some form or another.
Very few phrases so clearly express Dr. Brown’s passion, and Cedarville’s required Bible minor stands as evidence of that passion.
“It’s not merely a collection of Bible classes,” said Brown, “but a prescribed course of study that gives students the skills to exegete the Word of God and the world of God.”
Dr. Scott Dixon, director of the Bible minor and associate professor of Bible, agrees, emphasizing the steps the school has taken to re-vision the minor so that students can address cultural challenges.
“We do not take that responsibility lightly,” he said, “as we seek to produce biblically informed graduates able to face a world in desperate need of God’s truth and wisdom.”
The minor consists of six required courses totaling 16 credit hours.
Every few years, the Bible department faculty revise and update the curriculum,making it as current and relevant as possible. Most importantly, they focus on developing in students the skill of thinking theologically.
“Truth is the foundation,” said Dr. Chris Miller, senior professor of Bible. “The skill to apply it to life is the superstructure.”
That foundation supports the mission of the Bible minor, which is to equip students with biblical knowledge, a theological framework, and the skills for a lifetime of continuing study; to encourage them to embrace a process of spiritual formation characterized by intentional growth within the context of a Christian community; and to equip them to engage the world in a culturally sensitive, Christ-like manner.
Dr. Tom Hutchison, interim dean of the School of Biblical and Theological Studies, explained that the courses are designed with
students in mind — sequenced and integrated to produce five critical outcomes:
• to study the Scriptures on their own and in community with other believers
• to think theologically
• to grow spiritually
• to engage the culture as Jesus would
• to think critically
“Our true mission is to prepare students for life in the real world,” said Dixon. “Our challenge in the classroom is not to get them ready for the next test, but rather to teach and train them to think and act Christianly in whatever context God places them.”
As Cedarville makes the most of its opportunity to impact lives for Christ, its graduates are heading out into the world with just that mindset.
For instance, Aimee Auclair ’06 is currently in California pursuing an acting career and faces a secular worldview on a daily basis.
“When I moved to Hollywood, I was immediately bombarded with the thinking that all roads lead to heaven (‘if there even is one’) and that the point is to just put ‘good karma’ into the world so that good will come back to you,” she said. “I was also told never to judge someone else’s thoughts about God because their views are very personal and ‘there is no right answer anyway.’ At that point, I
was so thankful that the Bible minor at Cedarville helped to solidify my faith.”
For Cody Fisher ’06, the training he received has been invaluable to the ministry he helped establish in Iraq. “One of the biggest impacts Cedarville had was providing countless ways for me to be involved in showing the love of Jesus to the rest of the world,” said Fisher.
“They equipped me with a mind that’s constantly seeking innovative ways to reach the culture surrounding me.”
“The Bible minor is unique, intense, and proactive,” Brown concluded, “and it is a highlight of the Cedarville student’s education and life.”