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Shaped by Community
We are not alone.
When the Prophet Samuel went to anoint the next king, he looked at David’s older brothers and their outward appearance. But God said He looks at the heart. And God shapes the human heart and our identity through his word and through relationships.
The university is shaping the identities of today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders in a very different way. We used to look outside ourselves to know ourselves and our place.
Carl Trueman puts it this way: “It is through communal activities that individuals find their true selves. The true self, traditionally, is something that is given and learned, not something that the individual creates for himself.”
But now, in many instances, the university teaches students to look inside without any solid reference point, not God, history, or science.
The truth is that we are shaped by what we learn in community. However, that community needs leaders, teachers, and parents who know how to bind and loose, to restrict and affirm, for the greater glory of God. The truth is that God wants everyone to know Him and to shine with his glory.
Sociologist, Philip Reiff, presented it this way: “A culture survives principally…by the power of its institutions to bind and loose men in the conduct of their affairs with reasons which sink so deep into the self that they become commonly and implicitly understood.”
What does it mean to “bind and loose”? It means to restrict and to promote, to caution and to affirm. When leaders hesitate for fear that they might offend someone or that they might promote a religious worldview when they express caution, they too often choose the cowardly way. Instead of caution, they affirm that anything and everything is permissible. The result? We have unleashed the giant, and he is teaching his lies to the nations.
Universities have become tools for the Adversary, distorting the truth and causing confusion about gender and justice. They teach students to reject God’s good gifts, even their bodies. They are failing to teach critical thinking and problem-solving. They create safe spaces and petting zoos instead of encouraging debate and civil discourse.