VANCOUVER – At the monthly meeting Vancouver Chinese Evangelical Ministerial Fellowship, the president of the only evangelical Christian University in Canada shared the plan to establish an extension campus in Richmond, which will offer curriculums relevant to the need of the community, and their need to raise 10 million dollars for this project.
On the morning of June 9th, Dr. Jonathan Raymond, president of Trinity Western University, explained the historical context in which TWU was founded and gave the University’s aspiration in not only producing in students competence and character, but also a sense of calling and passion for Kingdom demands, at the Enoch Youth Outreach Centre.
In his introduction of the rise and fall of Christian Universities in North America, the president revealed that universities such as Harvard, Princeton, McGill, and Winnipeg all became secularized because they did not keep their point of compass on Jesus Christ. When Harvard University first began as a Bible School, it used the motto Veritas: Christo et Ecclesiae, which spoke of Truth for Christ and Church, but about a century later, the motto is merely Veritas, Tuth.
Raymond linked this downfall of Christian universities founded by the churches with the Jeremiah 13:11, where the nation of Israel disobeyed and turned away from the Lord.
Currently, there are a total of 26 remaining institutions in Christian higher education, all of which are very small and struggling. The worst case scenario is that of Francis Savior, a Catholic institution, which presently does not allow students to talk about Jesus on campus.
Just when the higher education in Canada was becoming more secularized and the influence of Christian universities were declining rapidly, the Trinity Western Junior College was founded with the purpose of “embracing the truth of Christ and church in a country that is predominately humanistic secular worldview, raising up Christians, faculties, board members, and moving Christian families to sent their children to a university context in which there is true freedom,” said the president. “If you are taking a philosophy course at University of British Columbia, it is very difficult to take on a Christian stance”, especially when “there is a growing hostility towards Christians.”
Raymond commented that the TWU offers higher education of higher education.
“While secular universities are marvelous is many ways, all are the same in only developing their student’s competence; however, in a Christian evangelical university, we want to develop people of high competence amplified by characters resembling those of Jesus Christ.”
He further explained that higher education is a transformation, rather than just simply taking a class with just a passing grade.
“The calling of the University is to develop generations after generations of young people who will be leaders and godly people in the market places of life, with professions such as physicians, scientists, engineers, pastors, businessmen, and the like,” he explained.
About 400 Chinese students are studying at TWU, many of whom do not yet know Jesus Christ, noted Raymond. The vast majority are from mainland China, while the others are from Southeast Asian countries.
"When these students come for ESL program and continue to work on a degree, they will remain at TWU for five years. In this course of time, many of them will have come to faith in Jesus Christ."
A Chinese minister asked in what ways are TWU doing to raise the characters of the students. Raymond replied that TWU is the only university in Canada that has received a rating of A+ in its quality of education, according to The Globe and Mail. He explained that it is because the faculties are highly engaged in relational teaching, where they would share their own journeys of faith in Christ with the students. Therefore, there is an intentional effort to build into every course the issue of Christian ethics and values.
Raymond further stated that TWU has around 2,000 students attending the chapel services weekly; students are exposed to hands-on services at extracurricular activities by helping at Union Gospel Mission and Salvation Army in downtown Vancouver. Others work in Christian hospitals, or go abroad to Thailand to participate in Microeconomic Developments.
In his experience as a student studying theology, Rev. Wayne Lo, secretary of VCEMF, brought up the question of why is it that most Christian professors ignore the subject of social concern and treat it an unrelated to Christian life.
Drawing reference from the book, “Our Guilty Silence”, written by U.K. based theologian John Stott in 1963, Raymond said that the church has been leaning in one direction or the other, while what is most needed is a balance. Some denominations only proclaim the gospel, but do almost nothing for their neighbors. On the contrary, some denominations are very concerned about social justices or their neighbors, but never mention Jesus. According to John Stott, we need a balance of both in giving a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus and the embracing and loving of people who are sometimes unlovable by meeting their needs, not just their physical or social needs, but their needs to be in the love of Jesus Christ.
Lastly, Raymond reiterated the universities’ challenges in “preparing godly students who can make an impact in market places of life and leadership in churches to help bring balance of proclamation and identification, proclaiming the gospel message and identifying with the need of the suffering world”, all in the name of Jesus Christ.
“Whether they are teachers, plumbers, or of any professions, they have a commitment to God’s agenda and God’s plan,” he said.
In 1962, Trinity Western Junior College was founded with only 17 students. After 46 years, Trinity Western University has a total of 4,000 students, with 1,000 graduates and 3,000 undergraduates. The school has 40 undergraduate programs and 18 graduate programs. Their campuses are located in Langley, Washington State, and Ottawa. In the coming years, TWU is planning to open a campus in downtown Richmond. The faculties of TWU represent a total of 43 denominations, while every one of them are committed evangelical Christians, who are committed to Jesus Christ. To find out more information about TWU, please visit their website at www.twu.ca