Christian Liberal Arts Approach
The emphasis on the centrality of the Bible in our program should not be misconstrued to mean that the program of study is only for those preparing for missions or pastoral work. Chambers College is designed for dedicated Christians who want to make an impact for the kingdom of God in all professions. The liberal arts approach of training a person for a successful life has a rich heritage associated with the Reformers and Puritans. As Leland Ryken records in his book The Puritans as They Really Were:
The Puritan emphasis on the Christian element in education will surprise no one. That emphasis, however, is only half of the picture. The other half is not nearly so well known. While the aim of Puritan education was religious, its content was the liberal arts. Puritan colleges were established primarily to provide an educated clergy, but this did not mean they were seminaries or Bible colleges. They were Christian liberal arts colleges.
This concern for a broad education in all subjects was influenced by the Continental Reformers, especially Luther and Calvin.
….For the Reformers and their heirs, the Puritans, no education was complete if it included only religious knowledge. Samuel Rutherford said, for example, “It is false that Scripture only, as contradistinguished from the law of nature, can direct us to Heaven: for both concurreth in a special manner, nor is the one exclusive of the other.”
The notable academic institutions in England and early America began as Christian liberal arts colleges. Liberal arts training does not dilute emphasis on the Bible. Instead, it brings all disciplines under the umbrella and scrutiny of God’s Word.
In America, President Chauncy of Harvard said that “as far as it concerns a minister to preach all profitable and Scripture truths, the knowledge of arts and sciences is useful and expedient to him to hold them forth to his hearers.” The founders of Yale College in 1701 also saw the importance of a Christian liberal arts approach. Yale was founded by ten Congregational ministers. The General Court, which passed the act authorizing the new college, declared it to be an institution where:
Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences who through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church and Civil State.
The requirements of the students at Yale included:
All Scholars shall live religious, godly, and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, the fountain of light and truth; and constantly attend upon all the duties of religion, both in public and secret.
…Every student shall consider the main end of his study to wit to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a Godly, sober life.
The “prestigious” academic institutions of earlier days have suffered from spiritual entropy and no longer retain a Biblical emphasis. It is time to raise up new colleges that are again founded on Biblical presuppositions. That is what Chambers College is about. Our Christian liberal arts approach establishes the basic Biblical foundations of every major discipline in an effort to ground each student on what God has to say about all the areas in which he or she will be navigating during life. It is our desire that all students will go through the arduous process of bringing human intellect, will, and emotions into conformity with the Holy Spirit and utilize all God-given resources to advance God’s purposes, no matter what vocation they pursue.