Perceptions of the Role of the Bible Class in Four Christian Liberal Arts Colleges - Considered in the Context of Conflicting Rationales
Problem: The four Seventh-day Adventist senior colleges in Inter-America aim at training Christian professionals who will serve the church either directly on its payroll or indirectly as devoted Christian professional laymen. The colleges are doubly challenged to maintain academic excellence while providing spiritual nourishment and commitment. The Bible class is central to this approach to education. Adventist leaders and educators, however, have not given serious study to the questions arising from this practice. No guidelines exist for determining an adequate amount of Bible classes. Each institution sets its own requirements which results in great disparity among them in this regard. No study has inquired whether these courses are appreciated or if they fulfill the spiritual and academic rationales which justify their inclusion in the curriculum in the first place.
Method: This dissertation, since it is philosophical in nature, used the documentary research method. It sought to elaborate, through contemporary literature, a rationale for justifying the presence of Bible classes in College according to Adventist educational tradition and for judging the results of the survey made. Two questionnaires were developed: one for non-theology or non-religion seniors and another for educators. The analyses of opinions were presented using simple arithmetical calculations.
Results: Most college seniors regarded Bible courses as a blessing. Those studying at institutions requiring a greater number of Bible credits did not express less appreciation for their classes. In fact, they seemed more appreciative. Students showed a stronger positive opinion than teachers about Bible classes. Most educators felt they were integrating their subjects with the Christian faith and most students agreed. Students and educators felt strongly that the professional qualifications of Bible teachers needed improvement.
Conclusions: Adventist college educators in Inter-America seem to be committed creationist-supernaturalist-Christians who integrate their subjects with the tenets of their faith. Students seem appreciative of whatever Bible classes they are required to take providing those classes are practical, provide spiritual nourishment, have substance, and are taught attractively and effectively by good Christian models.
Full text available online through ProQuest Digital Dissertations. Completed through Andrews University.
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