Parents' Most Popular Search on Cedarville's Website
October 18, 2012
Last year we conducted a study related to parents' use of the Cedarville University website. We made an interesting -- and candidly, unexpected -- finding. Parents were more likely to search terms related to the University's doctrinal commitments and focus on spiritual growth than any other topics. The following article, submitted by Dr. Tom Mach, highlights the importance of Cedarville's doctrinal statement and how it informs our approach to Christ-centered higher education.
Cedarville University has a fairly lengthy doctrinal statement compared to most Christ-centered colleges and universities. It is the product of our Baptist heritage as well as the ongoing efforts by the Board of Trustees to define our institution in the face of regular challenges from both within and without evangelicalism.
Administration and faculty must affirm that they agree with the doctrinal statement each year. This process helps to assure that, while the institution is progressive in its pursuit of quality programs and cutting edge instruction, it is purposeful about keeping its theological commitments. These efforts are designed to maintain our reliance on the authority of God’s Word in all of the University’s endeavors.
One must understand Cedarville’s doctrinal statement to realize just how unique the institution is. For example, Cedarville is one of very few Christ-centered universities that holds to a literal six-day creation where man was the immediate and special creation of God, not the product of an evolutionary process. Subsequent to creation, man fell from his original relationship with God when he chose to sin. These positions have obvious ramifications for the foundational worldview assumptions present in science classrooms across campus.
Less obvious, however, is the impact on virtually every other type of class on campus. A couple of examples will demonstrate. In the nineteenth century, sociologists turned to pragmatism to respond to naturalistic determinism (man is the product of chance processes outside his control). That pragmatism expressed itself, particularly in America, as self-determination. Cedarville’s Sociology program can parallel this development with the people building the tower at Babel, those who embraced this pragmatism were continuing mankind’s pursuit of independence from the authority of God. In the field of Political Science, as another example, Cedarville students are taught a biblical understanding of the nature of man which demonstrates just how limited institutional and systemic reform are in improving society. True change cannot be produced through government action alone. This recognition does not abrogate our responsibility to be involved in the political process. It just reminds us where our final hope lies.
These are just a couple of examples of the impact of the doctrinal statement in the classrooms of Cedarville University. Of even greater importance, however, is what the doctrinal statement represents about Cedarville as a university. The statement is an attempt to develop and maintain a proper position with regard to the authority of Scripture as God’s inspired Word.
The history of higher education in America is a story of Christ-centered colleges and universities that over time abandoned their biblical moorings and, as a result, lost their distinctiveness. Cedarville’s doctrinal statement defines our distinctiveness fairly precisely, based on our understanding of Scripture, to provide a missional document that we can always look to for clarity and to help maintain that distinctiveness.
“….But if salt loses its flavor, how can its flavor be restored.” (Luke 14:34 NET Bible)
Dr. Thomas Mach ’88 is a professor of history and chairs the history and government department. He received his doctorate in United States History from the University of Akron. Email Dr. Mach.
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