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Principled Ideas from the Centennial Institute Volume 5, Number 3 • March 2013

Publisher, William L. Armstrong Editor, John Andrews


By Jeff Myers
We have a generation of young adults in America today who have more wealth, more privilege, more freedom, more technology, more access to education than any generation that has ever lived in the history of the world. Yet we have allowed our culture to lull them to sleep, a sleep that could be fatal to this country and to them. It is time to wake them up.

That’s where our organization comes in. Summit Ministries was founded by Dr. David Noebel in 1962. He was struck by a passage in I Chronicles 12:32 which tells how the little tribe of Issachar was able to take on a position of leadership in King David’s administration simply because they were men who understood the times and knew what Israel ought to do. At Summit Ministries we are asking: How can you and I raise a generation of young adults today who understand the times and know what America ought to do? How do we go about preparing students for culture-shaping leadership?

The rising generation is already asking the big life questions. What does it mean to exist? Where did we come from? Who are we anyway? What does it mean to be human? What is the Our national epidemic of aimlessness has good life? What happens when I die? And seeped into the church in a startling way. ‘My religion? None,’ perhaps the most intense, ultimate question Seventy percent of 23-30 year olds drop how do say 33% of students. of all,questionswe know that our answers to out of church. Only about 35% of those these are actually true? dropouts later return and attend church regularly. Ideas Flow in Patterns Among Christian and non-Christian young people alike, aimlessness results in a lack of purpose. A Stanford University study found that only one in five young people ages 12-22 say that they actually have a sense of purpose in life, that they know where they’re going and why. A study at Dartmouth found that one out of four young adults in America is at risk of not achieving productive adulthood. That’s 25%, and let me put that disconnection in context. Law enforcement officers say that if just one percent of the people in the community decide to not obey the laws, you’ll have chaos. How the Tribe of Issachar Did It Now imagine a culture in which parenting has fallen apart, the education system has fallen apart, students don’t know their grandparents, they don’t feel connected to the community or to one another or to their neighbors or to any sense of history. What happens when the disconnection moves beyond one percent and approaches 25%? Instability, to say the least. And the church’s influence in this continues to decline. A recent study by Pew Research showed that when my middleaged generation is asked to state a religious preference between Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist or none, 10% of my peers choose “none.” But among today’s college-student generation, 33% choose “none.” Fewer and fewer young adults are seeing the church as a place to find answers for the problems that are evident to us all. We don’t need to show them how to ask. We just need to help them discern that there are actual answers. To begin helping them develop a philosophy a life, we introduce the idea of worldview. Dr. Noebel defines a worldview as an overarching approach to understanding God, the world, and man’s relationship to God and the world. There’s no way to not have a worldview. Everybody, when they wake up in the morning, is bringing to bear, in their everyday actions and choices, a way of understanding the world. But do they have a basis for it? That’s harder to say, because like an iceberg, most of a worldview is below the surface. And with so many ideas at play in the world, how would we ever diagnose or diagram all of them? But it’s possible once we recognize this simple concept: ideas flow in patterns. We then don’t need to understand each of the billions of ideas in, say, the six million books in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. If we can discern the patterns flowing among
Jeff Myers (Ph.D., Communications, University of Denver) is president of Summit Ministries in Colorado and distinguished service professor at Bryan College in Tennessee. Among his numerous books are The Handoff and Secrets of the World-Changers. This is from a lecture he gave at Colorado Christian University on Nov. 2, 2012. Centennial Institute sponsors research, events, and publications to enhance public understanding of the most important issues facing our state and nation. By proclaiming Truth, we aim to foster faith, family, and freedom, teach citizenship, and renew the spirit of 1776.

respond intelligently, and then help them build up their overall strength of mind so they aren’t overtaken. Bad ideas are hard to kill, but you can develop an immunity to them. Does this work? At Summit Ministries we’ve found it does. When you help students understand a biblical worldview and then help them figure out how to respond intelligently to opposing worldviews, they start to really grasp what Christianity is all about and make it their own. Before and After
John Witherspoon 1723-1794

Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945

a few key ideas, we can have a fairly accurate view of the whole. That’s the Summit Ministries approach. It is presented in David Noebel’s book, Understanding the Times, which has become one of the most widely distributed textbooks of any kind, ever. The book explains how ideas flow in patterns, and it shows that some of these patterns of ideas are actually evangelistic. Innoculation Beats Indoctrination Biblical Christianity obviously evangelizes for itself. But so do the worldviews of Secular Humanism, Marxism, and Islam. By understanding that there are certain worldviews that organize ideas and evangelize people based on those ideas, we can begin to make sense of the world around us. So how do we help students understand these competing worldviews and, more than that, get a handle on their own worldview, and then defend it? The way to do it is not to indoctrinate them, to have them memorize a chart and say, “This is the Christian worldview. No questions, okay? This is it, and you don’t Secular have any say.” Not at all. The goal is to help them develop a robust mental model so that, when they encounter ideas, they know how to sort the good from the bad and respond with understanding. Students need that capability because ideas are like viruses. Bad ideas spread in the way that viruses spread. Good ideas can spread too but more often than not, it’s the bad ideas that seem to spread fastest.

In a study of more than 1,500 young people, we asked students who considered themselves strong Christians, “Do you feel confident in defending your faith?” Only 3% said yes. But when we asked the Summit Ministries graduates, over 90% said yes. But what if that was just because good families sent us good kids? Naturally we’d have good graduates. So we began to ask the before-and-after: “Before you came to Summit, after you came to Summit, how were you different?” What we found was exciting. Students told us there were significant increases in at least ten areas: • their level of Christian commitment, • their feeling of closeness to God, • their devotional life, • their prayer life, • their sharing of their faith, • their understanding of a Christian worldview, • their ability to understand other worldviews, • their ability to explain their beliefs, • their ability to defend their faith under challenge, and • their general preparation for higher education. So these Summit Ministries graduates had experienced massive change. Then we asked if they were acting out their faith, and the results again were highly significant.

humanism also evangelizes.

“I’m acting it out in my political convictions, my conversations, my finances, my entertainment choices, my vocation, my life purpose, my friendships, my family relationships,” they told us. We’ve had about 30,000 young people come through this program at our home in Manitou Springs. Several hundred thousand more have gone through programs that we’ve provided in their churches or schools.

This was picked up by William McGuire at Yale University in the 1960s. McGuire developed what he called inoculation theory: give people a little bit of the bad idea, help them

CENTENNIAL REVIEW is published monthly by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University. The authors’ views are not necessarily those of CCU. Designer, Danielle Hull. Illustrator, Benjamin Hummel. Subscriptions free upon request. Write to: Centennial Institute, 8787 W. Alameda Ave., Lakewood, CO 80226. Call 800.44.FAITH. Or visit us online at www.CentennialCCU.org. Please join the Centennial Institute today. As a Centennial donor, you can help us restore America’s moral core and prepare tomorrow’s leaders. Your gift is tax-deductible. Please use the envelope provided. Thank you for your support. - John Andrews, Director
Scan this code with your smartphone to read this and previous issues online. Centennial Review, March 2013 ▪ 2

To Train Culture-shaping Leaders Students come to the Summit Ministries 12-day program between the ages of 16-21. Many Christian schools and churches use this as part of their leader development strategy for students after their junior year of high school. Not everybody in the youth group, but a few who they think could be influential as seniors in influencing the younger people. Parents’ greatest interest is sending students to us right before they go off to the university. They’ve seen the sobering statistics, such as the research of Gary Railsback who found that 30-50% of the young people in non-Christian colleges who checked, “Yes, I am a born-again Christian” when they came in as freshmen, checked, “No, I am not” when they graduated four years later. What if, instead of sending that young freshman off to the university unprepared to encounter all of these bewildering ideas—where he or she might start to fall apart in his Christian conviction—what if the student had first received the worldview training that equips him or her to grow stronger, not weaker, during those college years? That’s the promise, and that’s what Summit Ministries has been accomplishing for over 50 years now.

Voi ces of CCU SHARPENING THE FOCUS by Chris Leland
In chapter 8 of Mark’s gospel, Jesus heals a blind man twice. The first time, the man sees, but everything appears fuzzy. The second time, he sees everything clearly. That experience of “second sight,” when worldviews come into sharp focus for a student, is an important goal for us at Colorado Christian University. We admire the remarkable work of organizations like Summit Ministries and leaders like Jeff Myers. Academically here, through the first- or second-year course on Worldviews and the third- or fourth-year course on Great Issues of the 21st Century, we not only teach our students about worldviews, but also help them develop and apply their own uniquely Christian worldview. CCU students are encouraged to use their faith as a window into the world. We study who God is, how He acts, what His world looks like in its ideal form, and how He wants us to correct the lies of the culture. Students engage “spent ideas” of the culture, critically analyze their own faith in a safe environment, and learn to think for themselves. The entire learning community at CCU weaves the implications of our Christian worldview into the very fabric of our institution. When graduation day comes for a young man or woman (and for many who are not so young), we are confident they are ready to enter the fray and stand for His Truth in the world. Additionally, since last fall, CCU has been collaborating with Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint ministry to host a Centurions course for mid-career worldview learners from across the state. The first cohort finishes soon, and another will begin this summer. To apply, visit Breakpoint.org, click on the Centurions tab and then the Colorado page. With our traditional students, our adult students, and these new partnerships like Centurions, CCU is proud to be on the front lines of equipping citizens to engage their communities and country with their passion for Truth. ■
Chris Leland (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) joined the CCU faculty in 2011 as professor of communication and director of debate. He previously taught at Huntington College and Wichita State University, consulted for political campaigns, and Centennial was a vice president of Focus on the Family. Institute
Colorado Christian University

Nerve centers radiate influence.

To sum up, what we’re doing at Summit Ministries, and what you’re doing at Colorado Christian University, is seeking to bring glory to God by training cultureshaping leaders for a time such as this. It’s always happened this way, through key institutions and nerve centers, seldom prominent or prestigious. Luther, Bonhoeffer, Schaeffer People think that Martin Luther, for example, had his impact because he wrote books and did theology. But if you study his life, you find that what Luther did was train young leaders at Wittenberg. They didn’t last long. They were likely to burn at the stake because of their beliefs. The average graduate of his little seminary program survived only 18 months. But they stood for Christ even at great personal risk and changed the world. Or take another example from Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who stood against the Nazis in the 1930s and ‘40s, ultimately being martyred for his Christian witness. During the war, Bonhoeffer trained young theologians to an underground seminary at Finkenwalde. They were able to hold fast even under the pressures of Adolf Hitler.
Francis Schaeffer 1912-1984

Centennial Review, March 2013 ▪ 3

Centennial Review
March 2013

Centennial Institute
Colorado Christian University 8787 W. Alameda Ave. Lakewood, CO 80226
Return Service Requested

What is Your Worldview and Why Does It Matter?
By Jeff Myers

Too many young people have no sense of purpose. But they all have a worldview, an unconscious guiding pattern of ideas. Intellectual nerve centers like Summit Ministries and Colorado Christian University can help students consciously choose their worldview. This equips them to become culture-changing leaders like those trained by John Witherspoon at America’s founding.

Then in the 1960s, when Time magazine declared that God is dead, a pastor named Francis Schaeffer started bringing young intellectuals to L’Abri in Switzerland. His gifting was to minister to the hearts of people who were broken because of the culture’s impact on them and to restore them. Many of Schaeffer’s students, people like Nancy Pearcey, went out to have significant influence.

Another 26 became state judges, 17 became members of their state constitutional conventions, 14 became delegates to the state conventions that ratified the U.S. Constitution, and 12 became members of the Continental Congress.

And it goes on. Eight of those Nassau Hall graduates became U.S. district judges, five became delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, three became U.S. Supreme My favorite example is what a pastor named Stay faithful. Court justices. Three became attorneys general, John Witherspoon was able to accomplish and two became foreign ministers. Aaron Burr 250 years ago at a place called Nassau Hall, became vice president of the United States, and Stay bold. the College of New Jersey, which became James Madison became president. Princeton University. It was this one man, more than any other Amazingly, this godly man never had more than 17 students individual, who became the spiritual and intellectual father to at a time during his whole career as an educator. Yet he was America’s founders. faithful in mentoring them. Witherspoon called his method Witherspoon’s Long Shadow As president of Nassau Hall for many years beginning in 1768, Witherspoon mentored some 478 young men. Here’s what happened to his graduates: One hundred and fourteen of them became ministers, 49 became U.S. congressmen, 28 became U.S. senators.
Centennial Institute Presents:

“true religion.” He said it consists of, first, teaching young people the truth, and second, walking with them life-on-life in a personal way so they can observe truth being lived out. Stay faithful. Stay bold. John Witherspoon changed the face of the world from a little tiny school in New Jersey. And, Godwilling, Colorado Christian University can do the same from the foot of the Rockies. ■

“Inside a TV Newsroom”
A noontime conversation with

Fourth Annual Rally on the Right

Centennial Institute Presents:

Kyle Clark

The 9News local anchor who grilled Obama on Benghazi




Scott Walker

Kellyanne Conway

Jonah Goldberg

Wednesday, March 20, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. CCU Dining Commons Annex 180 S. Garrison St., Lakewood CO 80226
Event is free, but reservations are required R.S.V.P. at CentennialCCU.org or 303.963.3424 This event is not a luncheon.
Centennial Review, March 2013 ▪ 4

Invited speakers include Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, Allen West, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal

July 26-28, 2013 • Hyatt Regency Denver
Book by March 31 for this year at last year’s prices. 2013 high school grads can apply to attend free. R.S.V.P. at WesternConservativeSummit.com or 800.937.8728

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