The subtitle of Already Compromised reads, “Christian colleges took a test on the state of their faith and the final exam is in.” As a graduate of a Christian college I can’t say the results of the study were surprising or eye-opening in the least. In fact, it was exactly what I have said for years (for the record, I graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic College in 1999 (now Palm Beach Atlantic University)).
The thesis of the book is found very early in the first chapter: “The compromise that we’re seeing in Christian colleges always centers on this: what we believe about the inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of Scripture. This is the issue. The authority of Scripture is a central point of faith. If you don’t get the first two chapters of the sacred text right, you cannot get the rest right either.” The authors follow up this observation with a stern warning to parents just a few pages later, “Please understand this: if you send your students to a Christian college or institution, three out of four times they will stand in front of teachers who have a degraded view and interpretation of Scripture.”
I guess too many Christians have their heads in buried in the sand on this issue, but the fact that these authors were surprised by the issue to me is shocking. I attended Christian school from Pre-K all the way through my undergraduate degree, and one thing I learned is that just because someone teaches at a Christian school doesn’t mean they believe what Scripture says (just like attending church and Sunday school doesn’t mean someone’s a Christian). I encountered professors in my undergraduate degree who had a very strong Christian faith, and then I encountered others with whom I debated (argued) vigorously because their view of Scripture and Jesus was just flat-out wrong. But I never once fooled myself into thinking that every teacher at my institution was a believer.
After dissecting the results of their study the authors set forth some suggestions for parents and students in how to prepare for life at a Christian school that may not be fully Christian. I thought they were great suggestions and I found their questions to ask a great place to start, but, again, isn’t this what good parents already do? I know my father visited every college I was applying to and met with professors and administrators while I was meeting with people , making sure that the decision I made was one he could support (one of my professors always joked that my dad was the first parent to ever “interview” him before sending his child there!) I know my parents are great parents and I’m very blessed to have them, but I also have other friends whose parents were (and are) just as involved in their lives, preparing them for the world. The fact the authors have to make the suggestions they do is more a sad state on parenting in the church than it is the state of the colleges themselves. Shoot, even if not for the noble purpose of watching out for their kids, why wouldn’t parents take significant time investigating and studying where they are going to spend more money than just about any place else – maybe even their home?!
If you have children getting ready for college this book may be worth your time to read, otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it. The study results confirm what we already know about the state of higher education: that it is generally liberal and that just by slapping the word “Christian” on something one doesn’t ensure it aligns with true Christianity (or the parent’s beliefs, for that matter).
Overall, I’ll give it 1.5/5 stars – the only reason it’s not lower is I try to reserve my lowest ratings for those books that are just down right theologically false. For the record, I did receive a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest (though not necessarily favorable) review.