Patrick Henry College – Filling the Spiritual and Academic Void in the Nation

I’m writing to you about the exceptional 16, 17, and18-year-old students across America. You probably know a few. Maybe they are your own children, or maybe it will be them in a few (very short) years. Maybe you’re thinking about your grandchildren or the neighbor’s teenager who helps with your yard. There are a lot of them. They are precious gifts from God, and they are the future of America.

What I love about these young adults is that they haven’t been passive or disengaged from their own development. They’ve sweated, stressed, and stretched their way to excellence – and it hasn’t been easy. Nothing worth achieving is! They gave up time with their friends and made wise, difficult choices when others called them on easier roads. These exceptional students feel a distinct leading in their life to do something that honors their family, their country, and most of all, our God. He has called them, and that calling requires serious prayer and serious deliberation.

Now they’ve come to a defining moment. Where will they go to college? That’s a huge decision and not one to be taken lightly. As the parent, grandparent, teacher, pastor, or mentor who poured countless hours into their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual formation, this is a defining moment for you as well.

I recognize the difficulty of the college decision when I look at the current landscape of higher education. Once a shining example of American exceptionalism, our colleges and universities have now become hotbeds of intolerance for people of faith, filled with “safe spaces”, promiscuity, and, to top it off, a subpar education. That doesn’t make for an exciting or optimistic choice. In fact, it is an unacceptable status quo.

The exceptional, high-performing Christian student deserves better. So do you, and so does our country. Why must our best and brightest, along with those who pay the bills, make the awful choice between an institution that offers an elite education with a path to success and an institution that honors the Word of God?

That choice is a recipe for disaster, not only for our country but also for the Kingdom. How many young saints have we lost to this formula, and how far has our country drifted from its outstanding? Too many and too far.

At right is an illustration that has helped me visualize the current landscape in higher education.

Originally, higher education in the United States occupied the top right of the graph – especially our most prestigious universities. These institutions strove for the best in academic rigor while maintaining a steadfast commitment to the Word of God.

However, as you and I know all too well, these places drifted leftward over time – abandoning the idea that knowledge and wisdom come from God. They have tried to maintain their level of academic rigor, but even that has declined. Much of their continued success comes from reputation, deeply entrenched networks, and the fact that they keep getting the students with the highest intellectual horsepower – students who should be going to God-honoring institutions.

The schools that have drifted to the left are resolute to remain there – indoctrinating future cultural influencers with a left-leaning, highly-secularized worldview that is increasingly hostile to people of faith and the principles of the American founding.

Throughout the years, Christian institutions of higher education have been established to fill the void. Unfortunately, most of these places (where God’s Word is still being honored) lack the academic excellence and rigor necessary to compete with the elite institutions in the upper left. I thank God these Christian colleges exist, but they just haven’t filled the void in the upper right. Our political and cultural institutions continue to be populated by the product of the upper left – to our country’s detriment.

That is why Mike Farris and a group of faithful Christian Patriots (even some of you reading this letter) established Patrick Henry College in the year 2000. Patrick Henry College (PHC) was founded to fill the spiritual and academic void created by the leftward secular shift of our nation’s elite institutions.

Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education. We lift high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment, therefore preserving for posterity the ideas behind the “noble experiment in ordered liberty” that is the foundation of America.

In other words, for Christ, and for Liberty. This is why we exist, and this is what we’re here to do.

The exceptional Christian students out there no longer need to make the choice between an elite education with access to career success and a place that honors the Word of God. That place exists, and it exists with no government funding, no long-term debt, and a stunning, 17-year track record of success.

But it doesn’t exist without you. You provide the funding and the scholarships that make this choice possible. Your support is the fuel that God uses for the Patrick Henry College engine that is producing cultural and political leaders like no other Christian institution. What can another Christian college say they’ve helped produce three Supreme Court clerks in the last two years and three current press secretaries in the House, the Senate, and the executive branch? None can. This isn’t about bragging. It is simply putting forward evidence that Patrick Henry College is fulfilling its mandate to fill the vacated space in the upper right of the chart above. This excellence can only be achieved when academic rigor is supported by the Word of God. And through God’s grace and your provision, there is no limit to what can be achieved for His glory.

The status quo is unacceptable. Our nation needs leaders prepared with excellence, humility, and grace.


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