Here we are at the start of another fall semester in our elementary schools, high schools, and universities. And this year, at John Brown University (JBU), with a record number of first-year students, all attending one of the many Gateway Seminars (a two-day-a-week seminar designed to prepare new students for learning at a Christian university). I teach two of these seminars and look forward to them each year. Why? Because I am honored to be an important part in getting first-year students started in the right direction on their four-year journeys of learning, self-discovery, spiritual growth, and becoming contemporary Christian adults.
I assure my Gateway class that the purpose of Gateway is to learn to be a sincere Christian learner. I’m not sure they all really appreciate what this means.
Students at JBU have the privilege of attending a respected and high-ranking center of academic excellence and spiritual exploration. Their parents and God provide them with a four-year opportunity to escape the pressures and pitfalls of modern life and spend four years thinking, learning, growing, and preparing for all that life has to offer and the dangers associated with being an adult in life. fallen world I tell my students to appreciate this opportunity and take advantage of it to grow mentally and spiritually.
Even at a Christian university, students will learn new things and encounter innovative ideas that challenge their “internalized” beliefs ingrained from childhood. How students react to these challenges will, in part, play a major role in the kind of Christian adults they become. Students can ignore or reject the truths of God’s creation that science has discovered and refuse to incorporate them into a deeper and more evolved personal belief system and worldview, or they can thank God for revealing fundamental truths about how the universe works, its origins, and its origins. How we humans have evolved and changed over time.
I tell my students to embrace the scientific facts that have been revealed and to incorporate them into their own worldviews. We should be in awe of what science teaches about the universe and what this reveals about the great God we walk with and enjoy a relationship with. God is wonderful, wonderful, and beyond all comprehension, yet we walk with Him every day and God cares for each and every one of us—small specks in an ever-expanding, complex, and amazing world. Far from challenging our faith or being dangerous to our relationship with God, we take the revealed truth found in the Bible, the revealed truths we learn in chemistry, biology, astronomy, mathematics, literature, history, medicine, engineering, business, and art. philosophy, theology, law, politics, and the constitution, we are challenged to incorporate these revelations into our faith and grow in depth and breadth as Christians. We understand, through learning, how we can improve what is and bring the world closer to God’s will. As intelligent and educated Christians, we can be better image bearers. This is what it means to be a sincere Christian learner, taking your faith into class every day and feeling awed by the universe God created.
Being sincere Christian learners means enjoying the time allotted to us to learn, grow, and ascertain the “how” and “why” of creation. Whether you are in elementary school, high school, at Arkansas State University, or at one of the many secular universities in Arkansas, I challenge you to see education as a gift from God to us to further our journey of discovery. See learning as a form of worship and glorification of God. Classrooms, laboratories, and study groups are forms of worshiping the Architect of all that exists.
Treat the class as an opportunity to feel God’s presence in the process of learning, knowing, thinking, and growing. Knowledge is a gift from God, and it is a way in which he opens the window of reality and enters us, if only for a moment, to reveal to us the secrets of creation and the divine.
So walk the aisles and byways of your school or university with a sense of sanctity. Because what we do in class is sacred. Knowledge and thirst for learning are not dangerous, and they do not end in four years. No, God is never finished revealing to us the sacred and divine truths of the universe.
Come! Come join the sacred privilege of learning and embrace your walk with God. Communicate with God in class, in study, in reading, in writing, and let God work His miracle in you.
Professor Miguel Rivera has an Associate of Arts degree in History, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics and Religious Studies, and a Doctorate in Jurisprudence in Law and is an Assistant Professor at John Brown University in Siloam Springs. Professor Rivera teaches courses in US government, politics, business law, the constitution, and criminal justice. His e-mail is (email protected). The opinions expressed are those of the author.