Campus Renewal states that 70% of Christian freshman leave the faith in their first year of college. However, if a student unites with a church or a Christian student ministry, he is much more likely to keep his Christian faith.
I can attest to this finding from my own experience. I felt a little lost when I went off to college until I found a local church, which had a college ministry for students. The fellowship and teaching there provided me the support I needed to face a hostile environment on campus.
Even with that support, it wasn’t always easy being a Christian on a secular college campus. I remember being in a class on Intellectual History of 19th Century Europe–one day we were discussing Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species. I answered a question during our discussion in such a way that I made it clear that I believed in the Biblical account of Creation. I can remember laughter and snickering from the other students in the class.
I also wrote a biweekly opinion column for the student newspaper. One day the paper featured two opinion columns on the subject of gay marriage. I wrote the column against gay marriage and another columnist wrote the column for gay marriage. I received quite a bit of hate e-mails and letters to the editor from people who were upset with me for defending the Biblical position on marriage.
In a political science class, I was politely rebuked by the teacher with a lecture in red ink on my essay paper, again for a stance I took on the gay marriage debate.
Unfortunately, things are much worse today on college campuses for Christians, especially conservative ones. I was criticized and made fun of for my views, but I was allowed to express them. Students today are silenced and shut down if they do not tow the line on issues like homosexuality, climate change, transgenderism, or social justice.
In recent years at my alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, freshman have been required to take a mandatory freshman diversity course, full of left-wing propaganda. There are new departments, which were not there when I attended, designed to promote the LGBT agenda. New pronouns for transgender people have been invented that I didn’t even know existed when I was in college. Socialism is also on the rise among young people. I can’t imagine the vitriol a Trump supporter, or any conservative for that matter, would have to endure on campus these days.
I’m grateful that I was in college before things became too crazy–back when universities still valued the First Amendment. There was still the possibility of fruitful debate and discussion between opposing sides. Mutual respect was not an entirely forgotten concept.
If you or someone you know will be a college student soon, I would recommend five things to help you through this exciting but potentially difficult journey. 1) Find a local church where you can find support. 2) Join a biblical, Christian student ministry on campus, if available. 3) Read your Bible daily. 4) Know what you believe and why you believe it. 5) Pray. This is perhaps the most important one. You need the Lord’s strength to face the opposition you may encounter. Pray for boldness, wisdom, and protection.
Ephesians 6 talks about the spiritual battle that we are in as Christians. The college campus is one of the most intense battlefields in America today. You will need to put on the full armor of God daily. May God bless and protect you.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Ephesians 6:10-12 KJV