Thoughts on colleges? Athanasius College?

(Tom Kidd) #1

My wife and I are in the midst of helping our 2nd of 6 children to choose a college. Our first child, a son, is at Cedarville which is just 35 minutes away from our home. This has allowed him (lives on campus) to stay involved with the family and our church plant - and for that we are thankful. He selected Cedarville over Hillsdale, Grove City, and Patrick Henry largely due to proximity and not due to its Baptist distinctives (we’re actually Presby).

My daughter is looking at all the above colleges as well as New St. Andrews and New College Franklin (micro-college started by George Grant in Franklin, TN). While I would love for my daughter to be part of a vibrant Reformed Christian community like that of NSA, we really aren’t looking forward to her being on the other side of the continental divide.

I would love to hear thoughts from the community regarding college options and would especially like to hear whether a renewal of the vision of Athanasius College is on the horizon? The distance from Cincy to Bloomington is quite more pleasant to contemplate than Cincy to northern Idaho. Since I will be sending children off to college every two years for the next decade, I’m hoping that new, better, and closer options materialize.

(Jeremy Vander Galien) #2

Our eldest is 13 of 6 children. So, in another 5 years or so I’ll be sending 6 off to college every two years for about 12 years. Greatly interested in this topic…that, and I get asked not too infrequently about recommendations for sending kids off to college. Looking forward to hearing from you all!

(Stephen Baker ) #3

Hello, Tom. I would love to see Athanasius College rebooted, but I don’t think it will happen any time soon. The key would be to have a man who can take the vision and run with it. I was handling both Athanasius and Clearnote Pastors College, and that was too much for me to do well. We would also need a growing pool of students from outside our own community. I think that is beginning to happen, as your comment indicates. Pray with me that God would put the pieces together.

(Heather Ummel) #4

I would be very very interested in hearing your thoughts on Cedarville. That’s one our oldest, who is a junior right now, is considering. But, after being in a small Christian high school, he said he doesn’t want to be in a college where people are required to be Christians and have reason to be hypocritical and pretend. I would be hesitant about New College Franklin, simply because, having lived in Nashville for 10 years and having family and friends still there and going back frequently, The Nashville Presbytery of the PCA is a mess.

(Eric Wilson) #5

I also am curious about Cedarville – it’s a popular choice where I live, but I don’t know much at all about it.

(Tom Kidd) #6

@ummelheather This is the exact reason I am very hesitant to push New College Franklin. I really like Greg Wilbur and have visited NCF multiple times, but I do not sense that he is able or willing to stand against the liberalizing trends of the Nashville Presbytery. Some of the instructors also are connected to churches that aren’t among the good guys of the Nashville Presbytery. If George Grant were still there, I likely would feel different. Additionally, my impression is that NCF is not an environment that would disciple men well, perhaps women, but not men.

(Tom Kidd) #7

As to Cedarville, I’m not sure I would have been drawn to it if it were not local. It has changed a lot over the last 30 years, from being largely a college for GARB fundamentalists (KJV-only, strict dress code, etc.) to an evangelical college on the right side of the spectrum.

After being on a quick slide toward trying to be a Wheaton-lite, circa 2010, the board of Cedarville replaced Bill Brown as President with Thomas White. Thomas White seems to have corrected the quick slide and I’ve generally been impressed with him. Cedarville continues to maintain a YEC position which means that they will never be taken seriously by the evangelical academic elites which I view as a positive.

Generally, the faculty (especially Bible faculty) are Baptists (Bible faculty largely trained at either SBTS or SWBTS (White’s former institution)). The student body is largely non-confessional, but seemingly serious about their faith. Cedarville is actually pretty large, now exceeding 4,000 students. (The Honors program is taught by a Reformed man who is a local elder whom I respect. The program is a way for more serious students to meet others with similar interests.) Also, I appreciate that they have Engineering, Pharmacy, and Nursing programs. The Engineering program especially brings in a some young men, which balance out the “Worship” majors who are on campus.

All in all, so far I have been satisfied with Cedarville. I will be keeping a close watch as the connection between Cedarville and Mohler (really all of SBTS), Dever, et al is growing stronger. I’m not convinced that SBTS is a lost cause, but I know some others are. We shall see.

(Heather Ummel) #8

Very helpful, thank you. Maybe when we do a visit, we could meet your son, or have my son stay with him if it’s an overnight?

I didn’t realize George Grant was gone from Nashville. Where is he now? My impression of Greg Wilbur is that he’s a smells and bells kind of guy, i.e. pretty sacramentalist. You think he’s good?

One thing about the Nashville Presbytery that I’m not sure is always clear to outsiders is how inbred it is. Or maybe that’s not really the right comparison. But every single church I think is really a split off of one of the other churches. And then they have this cute way of calling each other sister and daughter churches and acting like it wasn’t a split. Usually the only way you’ll know is to have actually been through it. Within weeks it’s usually being spun in such a way you wouldn’t believe yourself what actually happened if you hadn’t watched it. We’ve watched and heard about it over and over again.

(Tom Kidd) #9

George Grant is still in Franklin at Parish, but he no longer is associated with New College Franklin, which he founded. As to Greg Wilbur, I like him personally, but he is not the type of person that will lead the charge on any significant issue of controversy. (I think he writes good modern hymnody as well.)

As to visiting, I am sure my son would enjoy hosting your son when he visits Cedarville. I can give you info on local churches as well, if you’re interested. (I tried to convince @jtbayly or someone else from Clearnote to plant a church there, but I think they’re a little busy. :wink:)

(Archie) #10

Yeah. @jtbayly is my wife’s brother. We are aware of this busyness. :slight_smile:

Thanks for your help!

(Tim Bayly) #11

In colonial NE, they called it “swarming.” Nice metaphor I thought.

(Heather Ummel) #12

Oh that IS a perfect metaphor!

(Paul Ojanen) #13

I have two regrets from my college days:

Grandparents (or someone else)
I wish I visited my grandparents more often during breaks. My parents didn’t need to see me every break. I really miss my grandparents now. I do visit my last one more often these days, but I had much more time back then. And their hearing was so much better :slight_smile:

My summers at home were rarely edifying. Just like your college selection, this is another opportunity to prefer church community over job training and marriage prospects over career preparation. This site would be a great place to post for internships, or contact individuals directly. Plenty of manual labor needed in Bloomington. IT skills needed everywhere. Every church has fast food nearby, and probably nannying opportunities. I’ve been impressed by the breadth of church representation on this site so soon. I suspect there are many possible places to send your teenage and adult children for real life experiences more edifying than another summer camp. I came from a good but small home and a good but small church. College needn’t have been my only stretch outside the comfort zone.

(Tim Bayly) #14


WHAT did you say, Sonnie? Speak up!

(Daniel Meyer) #15

I was very encouraged recently to hear of White’s purge of the philosophy department a few years back and of his decision to drop the philosophy major from Cedarville’s offerings rather than have unfaithful men teaching the courses. And the willingness to be despised as a YEC institution? Better and better. BUT I don’t like that they had Sam Allberry as visiting professor last school year and had him speak in chapel. What is that about??

(Valerie) #16

Something else to consider…where is your daughter most likely to meet with young men who would make good husbands? The reverse is true for sons, but I think (more like intuit…not sure I could argue the position) moreso for daughters.

(Tom Kidd) #17

Yes, the issue with Allberry is a significant issue. He is no longer on staff at Cedarville, but not sure what the reason is. The curious thing is if I am not mistaken, Allberry is Anglican, and Cedarville requires all professors to be Baptistic. An equally large concern is that Cedarville is becoming increasingly linked to Mohler and SBTS with several Bible profs being Southern grads. So in many ways, the future of Cedarville likely is linked with the future of Southern. Having said that, I do like Dr. White and am hopeful that he does desire to maintain fidelity to Christ even at further loss of reputation. We shall see.

(Tom Kidd) #18

This is indeed a concern, and as you said, a larger concern for our daughter than it was/is for her older brother. It is also one reason that we have considered (though with great hesitation) sending her out to NSA even though you can’t get to Moscow from here.

(Valerie) #19

That is indeed the biggest drawback to Moscow – you can’t get here from anywhere, and vice versa! :laughing:

(Tom Kidd) #20

Speaking of Sam Allberry, he spoke at chapel today. Here’s the link.

I haven’t listened to it, but my son described it as follows when I asked him if it glorified celibacy: “Well, it was nuanced. But basically he outlined a progression from universal marriage in the OT to singleness becoming advantageous for serving the kingdom to universal singleness in the resurrection.”