The Bible requires Christian leaders to not be bellicose (1 Tim. 3:3). And at the same time we are called to put on the full armor of God, and to contend with principalities and powers (Eph. 6:11-12). What gives?
"Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliverl thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands" (1 Sam. 17:45-47).
Modern scholarship has shown that David had the dickens of a time getting this little speech past the boys in marketing. And then the legal department weighed in as well, and before all was said and done, there was quite a set to in the boardroom of the Davidic Global Outreach Ministries. But in the end, the (sometimes controversial but) always charismatic leader insisted, and then went out and killed the giant. That caused some other problems with the donor base too, but that's another story.
Some of you have seen the "Yo, secularism" ad that NSA recently ran. I am pleased to note that the ad did what an ad really ought to do -- which is get people's attention and make them think about it. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks about these things carefully, and so we have the opportunity for some follow up. Here it is, straight from King Lune of Archenland, the man who gave the final okay on that ad.
"'Shame, Corin,' said the King. 'Never taunt a man save when he is stronger than you: then, as you please'"
One of the perennial fears that faithful supporters of Christian ministries have is that once established (or nearly established), the pressure for respectability immediately descends. That is a fact of life, and nothing whatever can be done about it -- except to resist that inevitable pressure when it comes, resisting it the right way. Going back to our original question, this is why every true eductional reform will need to be led by certain kinds of men -- the kind of men who hate petulant quarrels, and who love an honest fight.
I have often told the story of one of the reasons why I got involved in the start up of New St. Andrews College. It was because of the anemic ads from Christian colleges. When our oldest daughter Bekah got to the age that we were thinking about college, we started getting all kinds of mailers from all kinds of Christian colleges. I concluded that the purpose of Christian higher ed had devolved to the point where the central purpose was to allow the kids to make lifelong friends, eat pizza, and ride horses.
Look. Every college in the nation has photogenic females. That is not a philosophy of education. And if that is what you are about, you might as well go to Behemoth State U where the photogenic females would let you do something about it. But the course of study ought to be the liberal arts, not the libidinous arts.
New St. Andrews is a college full of real promise, and is worthy of your support. If you are one of those donor types, and you come to read this post, and your pen has been quivering with indecision above that checkbook, I would not only urge you to write out that check of yours, but also to add a zero to the end of it.
But if you ever see this college going the way of all flesh (and you would probably see it in the ads first), then I would urge you to turn off the support, giving that spigot a quick and decisive twist to the right. Don't send your kids and don't send your money. There are numerous ministries out there which live in two different places -- one place where the compromising action is, and another stalwart place where the autopilot donors think they are.
NSA does not occupy a mysterious place where these pressures have somehow gone away. The point is to resist the pressures, not to pretend that they could never happen "here." One of NSA's mottos is "for the faithful, wars will never cease." In this world, the only way to get the conflict to go away is by surrendering. That is an option, but of course not a faithful one.