At John Brown University, no denomination is given the final say on an institution-wide level. While professors must sign a basically Evangelical statement of faith when they are hired, there are no religious requirements made of students for them to attend the school.
We at the Threefold Advocate appreciate that the University does not try to have an answer on every point of Christian doctrine and practice. We believe the best way for students to take ownership of their faith is to wrestle with the challenges of deciding their own point of view.
This process is facilitated when professors are encouraged to talk to their students about a variety of perspectives rather than trying to maintain a single denominational stance.
Thanks to the University’s policy, students have a great opportunity. We encourage all members of the campus community to participate in the dialogue which can result from the inter-denominational environment at the University.
Listen to those who you may not agree with. Be willing to talk about issues that may not be comfortable for you to be flexible on. Try to hold those non-central issues of your Christianity with an open hand. You never know what you might learn.
The fact is that no one can claim to know all of the “right” answers about Christianity. Christians need one another as a reminder that there are others who love Jesus, but who do things differently. We can grow from one another, if we are willing to do so.
The leaders of the University see the value in that recognition. It is part of the reason they make the decisions they do and intentionally create an environment where conversations can flourish between a variety of perspectives.
One of the mantras of the University is encouraging the “integration of faith and learning.” Providing an open forum for debate is part of that mission. It is easier for students to learn more about their own point of view when they can compare and contrast it with those around them.
The inter-denominational nature of the school also enables student and faculty to flourish. It provides members of the community with an opportunity to reflect on their connection with the greater whole of Christianity and the complete tapestry of our faith. And that is a blessing.