October 1, 2007
Classical Christian College Education(s)
Two classical Christian colleges are at philosophical odds.
New Saint Andrews College, the original classical Christian college in Moscow, Idaho, has been forgotten within the media hype surrounding Patrick Henry College - a more recently established classical Christian college in Virginia.
It seems that the two colleges are at odds. Patrick Henry College might be on a "mission to save America," to quote the title of Hanna Rosin's new book profiling the school, but according to a quote in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine from Doug Wilson - NSA's founder - New Saint Andrews is "trying to save civilization."
According the writer of the New York Times Magazine story, Molly Worthen - who is writing a book about evangelical intellectual life - NSA is outspoken about differentiating itself from their classical higher-ed counterpart:
When you ask teachers and students what sort of school New St. Andrews is, they often cite one school they are not: Patrick Henry College, the evangelical college in Purcellville, Va., with a reputation for training home-schooled Christian students to wrest the reins of power from "secular humanists" in Washington. "We believe in a much longer view," says Joshua Appel, a professor at New St. Andrews.
[NSA's] curriculum is a "reformation in higher education," says Roy Atwood, the college president. "The last thing we wanted to be was a Liberty University or a Patrick Henry. We are not interested in political takeover." Patrick Henry - which requires classical core classes and offers a major in classical liberal arts as well as more political fields - hemorrhaged faculty and students a year ago as a debate over academic freedom and the role of the liberal arts in Christian education divided the campus. "I wonder if the N.S.A. people are right," says G. T. Smith, a philosophy professor who left Patrick Henry after the turmoil.
Is this rivalry just another example of what should be like-minded partnering but instead is a divisive "We are right. You are wrong." mentality?