Dear Dr. Bohlin,
I read your article on line at Leadership U. and would respect your opinion on a matter of concern to me. I am especially impressed that you managed to keep the faith while studying genetics and molecular biology.
My son will be starting college next year. He is homeschooling, but I guess he does well academically because he got 1600 (perfect score) on his SAT. He wants to go to California Institute of Technology and study physics eventually, but wants to first go to a Christian College of good reputation for one or two years to meet other Christian young people and to become really well grounded in the faith before going to Cal Tech. (I personally hope for him to meet a godly, Christian girl for a wife.)
Hopefully, it would be a college committed to an orthodox, fundamental, conservative Christian doctrine, and have at least more than, say, 1000 students.
What are the best Christian colleges, in terms of the quality of the students and the quality of the teaching?
Can you make any suggestions, any recommendations of Christian colleges?
Your request is a reasonable one and I commend you for seeking advice. I would also suggest you ask others who have sent their kids to Christian colleges for their opinion. Our older son attends John Brown University, a Christian college of about 1,100 students in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. It is a sound Christian university dedicated to teaching a Christian worldview. Their engineering department is top-notch (our son is in digital media), I understand, and very rigorous. I would presume their physics department is up to those standards. I also recommend Taylor University in Indiana, Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California and to a lesser extent, Wheaton College in Illinois. Any of these colleges would offer significant scholarship money for your son. But you already seem a bit leery and that is good. A college is only as good as its faculty and they are never universally excellent either in scholarship and teaching or in their adherence to a thoroughly Christian worldview. For instance, a number of the biology faculty at these institutions are theistic evolutionists and would not be receptive to many of my articles. However, I know some of the biology faculty at Westmont and they are not theistic evolutionists. I know of only one at Wheaton for sure. A student must be equipped to know what they believe and why even in a Christian university.
Clearly your son has been given a gift with his intelligence and I respect his desire for Cal Tech. We need more Christian young people with the talent and dedication to pursue the best education they can get to qualify them to impact the academic community for Christ. There is a strong growing movement away from a strict materialism, particularly in astronomy and physics. The intricate workings of God’s universe are more and more being seen as something that is beyond being explained by chance. So much so that being a Christian in these fields is not as difficult as biology and geology.
I would strongly recommend your son attend our weeklong Mind Games Conference outside of Little Rock, Arkansas this summer regardless of where he goes. This conference is billed as our national conference and repeatedly draws national merit scholars and valedictorians from local and distant Christian and public schools. He will be among peers. There are also several college students who attend who can help with advising from their own experiences. Our web site can give you some details for this conference (probe.org/student-mind-games). Also look at my article on Campus Christianity to get an idea of my practical advice for students (it is usually the final session of a conference for students).
Concerning a wife, a good Christian wife can also be found among Christians from a secular university who understand the challenge to their faith at these institutions. This can be a very maturing experience. Our younger son is at the University of North Texas and growing in his faith in a much more vital way than our son at John Brown. Each student is different, and their needs are different. If our sons were to switch colleges they would both be profoundly unhappy. By the way, I met my wife at the University of Illinois in Campus Crusade for Christ. 🙂
I hope you find this helpful.