Posted by: Brian Musser | March 6, 2013

Pax Academia

I had a thought Monday as I was driving home.  This is not a simple simile but one that I think accurately communicates the place of academic institutions in our global culture.

As the Roman Empire was to the Early Church so are the present day Academic Institutions to the Current Church.

Allow me a few moments to unpack that.

  • Rome created the roads the church used to share the Gospel.
  • Rome dispersed the language (although it was Greek) that the New Testament was written in.
  • Rome created the laws and social contexts that the church had to understand.
  • Roman citizenship created travel privileges, protection and connections for some of the early missionaries.
  • Rome brought ethical dilemmas.  Can a Christian offer incense to Caesar?  Can a  Christian serve in the imperial army?  Should a Christian seek or avoid criminal punishment for disobeying religiously intolerant Roman laws?

I see Academic Institutions as being as ubiquitous within our current global culture as Rome was in the Early Church culture.

  • The Academy engineers the roads, bridges, trains, plains and information superhighways that we travel on daily.
  • The Academy has dispersed Western style education, learning and teaching methods throughout the globe so that Doctors and Business and Biologists are literally on the same text book page in Philly as they are in Bangalore as the are in Sao Paolo.
  • The Academy has trained the law writers and culture creators of most nations.  Politicians learn how to politic in the university.  Teachers learn how to teach in the university.  Marketers learn how to sell in the university.
  • An Academic credential will open doors worldwide that no other ID could.  A PhD can earn respect throughout the world.
  • The Academy brings unique challenges especially as it has spent the last last 400 years replacing the church as the driver of culture in the Christian West.

The question for this and future generations of Christianity is:

Can we leverage the unique conditions the Academy has created in our world in a similar way that they Early church leveraged the Roman Empire to bring great benefit to the glory of God?

For those of you in Campus Ministry, be encouraged.  If the Gospel is the lever that moves the world into a right relationship with God, then you are working at a part of the greatest potential fulcrum the world has ever known.

For those of you in Christian Ministry outside of Campus Ministry, sincerely and honestly evaluate how your ministry and the people you minister to have been influenced by the Academy and how your ministry can influence the academy.

And for all those in the Kingdom of God pray that His Kingdom comes and His will is done in the Academy as it is in Heaven.

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