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How did Harvard get so far from historic Christianity?

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Harvard is our first university, founded in 1636. There is no dispute that it was founded by very Godly Christians, and for the purpose of training Christian ministers. For example, Rev. Thomas Shepard (along with Rev. John Harvard) was an important founder. He was expelled from his pulpit in England in 1630, and joined the a puritans who came to New England. He wrote treatises which included " The Sincere Convert," and "The sound Believer." He preached that true conversion requires a total change of heart, mind, and affections. He preached from the parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins (Matthew 25.2), reasoning that we should expect " a number of hypocrites mingling themselves with the purest of churches." According to him, the foolish virgins represented those who were satisfied with the temporary " blaze of outward profession (the lamp taken with them), but not the inward Holy Spirit ( the oil)." For many years Harvard stayed true to the Christian faith, but by the mid 1700's it veered towards Unitarianism, the view that God is one yet Jesus Christ is not important. Or as the humorist Garrison Keelor puts it, the Unitarians do not worship " what's his name."

What happened to Harvard has been repeated in many universities and churches. Why? It is because the ruling group ( trustees, elders, deacons...) began to admit members on the basis of their wealth, personality, or other traits we admire. There may be nothing wrong with other characteristics, but do they honor Jesus Christ? Our leaders choose presidents, faculty, or pastors. Once they are committed to a non Christian world view, it is extremely rare to return to Godliness. In the natural as well as in the spiritual world, it is easier to have a baby than to raise the dead. So Princeton and Yale were started in part to offset the tragic slide of Harvard away from Christianity. But as new universities and church begin, they also become apostate unless they continue to choose supernaturally converted leaders who lead holy lives.

Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne noted that what a congregation needs most in a pastor is holiness. I agree. Otherwise skills will be used to advance the kingdom of darkness. 1 Timothy 5.22 teaches us not to ordain or to lay hands on anyone quickly. In other words, before we choose any leaders please pray much, consider how they treat their family and neighbors, and find out what their fellow workers think. They know if they have integrity or not. I have known very Godly church leaders, and also those who show their fangs when not one else is around. Do not be like the congregation that elected a mass murderer over them. He was caught only after he used the church computer to taunt police. While that is an extreme example, it is common for churches (and more so for universities) to hire wolves in sheep's clothing. May God help us instead to hire those who act justly, love mercy , and who walk humbly with the risen Jesus Christ. And may we also do that ourselves!

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