Non-Christian students thank a Christian school

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Many private Christian schools require that a student's parents are Christian, too. One of the advantages of such a school, usually not spoken explicitly, is that your child will be going to school with other children who are being shaped by the same values as yours.

But there are Christian schools which welcome non-Christians, and Michael Spencer is chaplain for one such boarding school, a school that requires Bible classes and chapel attendance and which is unapologetic about its Christian mission:

For the past 30+ years, our school has taken many internationals and children of internationals as students. A fair number of these have not been Christians. Some are from other religious traditions, like Islam, and some are from Atheistic cultures like China....

Several times in yesterday’s ceremony, essays by students were read and the student said…

1) I am not a Christian.

2) Thank you for all you’ve done for me while I have been here.

3) I now understand Christianity much better (or I now realize Jesus is very important.)...

God brings non-Christians to us because we are inexpensive and offer the language and science background international students want to get them into American universities. Our school does not have the “nice” things that more expensive schools have, but many of these internationals do not have American ideas of comfort and entitlement. They are open to our school, the hospitality and friendship of our staff and the generosity and compassion we share with them.

We do not mince words about the Gospel. At least I don’t. I point out the difference between Mohammed, Buddah and Jesus all the time. I preach Christ as the exclusive way to eternal life. I preach that hell exists and judgement without Christ is eternal condemnation. I engage atheism as an inadequate answer. I preach, teach and proclaim the Gospel with all my abilities....


When we do anything with our students, we tell them that we are doing it because of Jesus Christ. I regularly connect up what we do with what Christ has done for us.

And so, sitting there yesterday, I heard many student essays talk about finding Christ and about renewing commitments to Christ. But I also heard about coming here for one, two or more years and leaving without Christ.

And saying so. “I am not a Christian.” One of my best Bible students said it in her essay. “I am not a Christian.” But she thanked me and others for showing her Christ, and she said she is on the way.

Others said they were not Christians, but now they understood better what Christianity means. Some said they had learned that what they had been told about Christians in their culture was not true.

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3 Comments

Pamela said:

I came to Tulsa almost 30 years ago to attend ORU. The four years I was there we knew that a small percentage of students were not Christians. Oral prayed over those applicants and felt that the Lord wanted them at ORU. I knew a couple of them. However by the time they left ORU they were Christians.

They were not as aggressive in pointing out differences in 'religions' except maybe in Humanities class but the Christian faith was clearly stated and emulated in some way throughout the campus. Chapel attendance was mandatory. Church attendance was also. We had to prove we 'attended' by bringing some proof.

I like the idea of having non-Christians attend Christian schools when it is prayerfully considered. It is the one place where Christians will not have to fear of reprisals for sharing their faith. The non-Christians will have a great opportunity to observe how Christians live and deal with the pressures of life. Anyone that has attended college knows that it can be a very high pressured environment. The same can be said for most private/religious schools because of the cirriculum.

I really struggle with the idea of requiring parents to be Christians. I can understand the idea of wanting to have what is taught in the schools reinforced at home. However there are many children that are unfortunately not in homes where their parents are Christians. I feel like if the non-Christian parent thought enough of the school to want to send their child there they probably will not go berserk at what is being taught. They know their child is a Christian and that the school is a Christian school. It could be the hook to bring the parent to Christ.

Really interesting post.

lh said:

As a christian teacher struggling for answers re" non Chritian loved ones and non christian school students struggling in questions of faith and wise life choices I am thankful to read that other people have thought about this. What age school is this? What about elementary students or jr high kids who have non Christian kids at their school setting dramatic poor examples? What should be done?

The school is Oneida Baptist School in Kentucky, and it is a co-ed boarding school for children grades 6-12.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 6, 2007 7:57 AM.

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