On Wednesday, September 19, faculty, staff, and students gathered for the first of Regent University’s Fortieth Anniversary Chapel Series.
During the series marking Regent’s 40thyear, speakers will address a critical question: What comprises the soul of the Christian university, and what is necessary to strengthen, restore, or maintain it?
“We must vigilantly and diligently guard its heart and soul, and protect it and preserve it by God’s grace,” said Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño.
School of Divinity Dean Dr. Corné Bekker expounded upon this concept in his sermon “The Summit of Wisdom: Guarding and Strengthening the Soul of the University.”
“We live in a highly fragmented world,” said Bekker. “The question that we need to ask today is, how do we restore wisdom, the pursuit of God’s wisdom, at the heart of the university?”
He pointed to Proverbs 1:1-7, a passage in which King Solomon not only compels readers to seek out wisdom, but also maintains that they can only do so if they fear the Lord.
“The fear of God is not a gift. … It doesn’t come naturally to us,” said Bekker. “The fear of the Lord is taught.”
One of a university’s core purposes is to teach the fear of God. Students who learn to fear God subsequently not only learn what true goodness looks like, but learn to “do good.”
“How do we maintain the soul of the Christian University? We start off by acknowledging who He [God] is and fearing Him,” Bekker said. “And as we fear him, we will reach a pinnacle of knowledge and wisdom.”
Ultimately, the purpose of a university, and the believers who attend it, is to “see God’s goodness manifested in the earth.”
“Let us always be sure that universities are not just places where we speak and think and not do,” Bekker said. “That our research and lives are not separated; that we are not fragmented people.”
The15thcentury reformer, Martin Luther, expressed concern that universities would become “great, gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth.”
“How often do people come to a university and are corrupted when they come out?” asked Bekker. “The university is not the place to experiment, but to grow in holiness.”