What’s Going On At “Christian” Colleges? – With Len Munsil: Are there any colleges still teaching a Biblical worldview and leadership? Is it possible to attend a Christian college without losing your faith, as 50% of attendees have been doing? Tune in to learn more about a University worth attending: one combining excellence in truth, spirit, and academics.
Air Date: 2/3/2020
Guest: Len Munsil
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith and the Culture
Rick: My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s constitution coach. I’m here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton is a national speaker and pastor and the president of WallBuilders and all three of us are just thrilled that you’re here with us on WallBuilders Live because it tells us you’re interested in knowing what to do in the culture, in our society, in this nation, how to use the freedoms that we’ve been given to do our part, fulfill our responsibilities that come with our rights. Everybody loves to talk about their rights under the constitution. But what about the responsibilities? And if you’re listening today, we know that you want to be a part of the solution. You want to fulfill those responsibilities. And so our goal is to equip and inspire, to entertain, yes, to have a fun program. That’s entertaining with lots of great information, but also to equip and inspire you.
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David and Tim, a little later in the program, we’re going to have Len Munsil with us from Arizona Christian University. And some people out there may be wondering, “Hey, why are you having a president of a university on? You guys are always talking about how bad campuses are these days at a indoctrinating from the left.” The worldview is terrible. And what we’re seeing on campuses across the country, which is why we’re zeroing in on this subject.
David: Yeah, we’re zeroing in on it because in so many examples today, we have stats, for example, that approximately 50% of Christian kids who go to Christian colleges renounce their faith while they are in Christian college. You’re going, “Oh my gosh, what are you teaching at a Christian college that causes kids to walk away from the Christian faith?” So, and by the way, it’s much higher as secular campuses as somewhere in the 80, 81, 88% range numbers we’ve seen. So even at Christian campuses, it’s not very good, what’s being taught there, one of the Christian campuses in Indiana, we had an article where they allow housing at the dormitory on 15 gender selections. And you’re not allowed to choose male or female as your campus house and you have to choose one or the other 15 genders other than male and female. You all are like, “This is a Christian campus?”
Excellence in Christian Academics
I mean, it is crazy stuff that goes on. And one of the things I learned from a professor back in the days when I was at a Christian college, he said, “You know, there’s a bad understanding of Christianity and academics and really excellence. He said, if you look at David, when David was chosen to play for King Saul, the Bible says that an evil spirit troubled Saul, and he would go onto this depression and this outrage and these explosions of anger. And they brought David in because it seemed to calm that spirit down in him.” He said that they looked across Israel to find someone and they chose David and said they chose David because he was more skilled than all the other musicians and the spirit of the Lord is upon him. So being a God guy didn’t mean that you’re less professional, less skill, less competent. And so he pointed out, that’s what every Christian should strive for is excellence in whatever you do, whatever your profession is, you should be the best, absolute best, the best mathematician, the best musician, the best athlete, the best whatever, you should be the best. You shouldn’t be mediocre, but you should be full of the spirit of the Lord.
And there are very few Christian colleges today that bring that combination of excellence together. Excellence in spirit and excellence in academics. And that’s why out of the hundreds, over a thousand colleges across the nation today, there’s only three or four or five that we even recommend you even think about putting your kids in because they have become so bad in one of those two areas.
Which Christian Colleges Are Worth the Money?
Rick: And people would be surprised at some of the ones they would think we would recommend. We don’t recommend. And we might’ve even recommended on a long time ago, but they’ve changed like you’re talking about. So it is very few places. So parents need to be smart and do their homework. Sorry David, Go ahead bro.
David: But it is. It’s very few places and that’s why on this program, well, Rick, you said, why are we having the university president on? Well, this happens to be one of that handful of universities we would highly recommend. What they’re able to do with academic excellence and what they’re able to do with not only preserving your biblical worldview, but even strengthening your biblical worldview at college, which is, man, that’s almost impossible today to go to a Christian college and come out with a stronger biblical worldview than what you went with, you usually lose it. That’s why this program is significant today in Arizona Christian University. The president is Len Munsil. I’ve known Len for a number of years and what they have done at that college is absolutely phenomenal and they’re now nationally ranked by secular ratings on how good their academics and excellence are, but what they’re doing on the spiritual level is really unprecedented as well.
Rick: Len Munsil, president of Arizona Christian University is going to be with us soon when we return. Stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Moment From American History
David: This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Around 1790 the infamous Thomas Paine wrote his age of reason, attacking religion and Christianity. Interestingly, one of the strongest defenders against Paine’s attack was Benjamin Franklin. In fact, he stiffly rebuked Paine and told him, “He that spits in the wind spits in his own face. Do you imagine any good would be done by this attack against religion? Think how greater portion of mankind consist of youth who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue. I would advise you not to attempt on training of the tiger, but to burn this piece before the scene by any other person. If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?” Benjamin Franklin believed that the practice of was one of the greatest assets of American society.
For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 18008 rebuild.
Welcome Len Munsil
Rick: Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. Our guest today is Len Munsil. He’s president of Arizona Christian University and also did incredible work with the family policy council out there in Arizona and a lot of other great things as well. Len, thanks for coming on, man.
Len: Well thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.
Rick: Hey there. You know, we lambast you know, colleges across the country on our program all the time and the leftist propaganda and everything and we don’t often enough highlight those few good universities out there that are still doing fantastic work and you guys are one of them, Arizona Christian University. So David said, man, let’s get Len on and talk about the right way to do this and the good work they’re doing at Arizona. So, that’s why you’re here, man.
Len: Well, I appreciate that. And you know, that’s one of the things that I think that you talk about frequently that not enough Christians do talk about. And that is that, we have to understand that for the last century to half century, the secular leftist has essentially weaponized higher education in America against the things of God and against our country and our founding principles. And so, you know, we can either just complain about it or we can actually, you know, build in support institutions that are doing the opposite of that. And that’s what we’re about at Arizona Christian University.
Rick: Tell us what, I mean, I know you can’t do this 10 minutes, it is dumb asking an impossible question, but I mean, tell us how you approach it different than what most universities are and why parents that are listening right now need to consider Arizona Christian?
Commitment to Biblical Truth From a Conservative Theological Perspective
Len: Well, I appreciate that, but it starts kind of with the history of the school, it’s a 60 year old institution that was founded as a conservative Baptist institution, but the really strong commitment to biblical truth from a conservative theological perspective. So you start with that. But now I’ve been in the picture teaching there as an adjunct even while I was building center for Arizona policy, the family policy council for Arizona. And I put it this way, I mean, you know, I was on the platform committee of the Republican convention with David Barton and Tony Perkins and other people and so the way I would position it for folks who understand is, you know, if somebody like me who is a lifelong conservative, pro-life, pro-family, economic freedom, conservative activist is in charge of an accredited higher education institution, you know, what would you want it to do?
And that’s essentially what we’re doing is we have an institution that is pursuing a biblical perspective on every issue and that promotes that and that basically affirms the things that those of us that homeschooled and that raised our children in the church. The things that we’ve instilled into them, you know, all of their life up until the point of college. We continue to affirm those truths and support them in a really critical time of, you know, 18 to 23 years old of facing a lot of these questions outside the orbit of your family for the first time. That’s the way we approach it.
These Are Critical Years
Rick: You hit such an important point right there. And that is that these are critical years and where they’re really figuring out what do they really believe? Not just what a mom and dad believe or what do I believe in and how do I act on that? And so what you guys are doing that’s different I think that the approach that gets taken way too often, even at “Christian universities” is you’re not separating those two things. You’re actually keeping them connected. What do we believe? What does the Bible say about these things and why do we believe this? And then how does that affect the way we live?
Len: Right. And so we bring a biblical worldview into every area. But let me tell you specifically what we’re doing at Arizona Christian that’s different. Number one, like only about a third, unfortunately, of Christian colleges, our mission is to educate Christians. So it’s not just our faculty and staff that professed faith in Christ. It’s every student has to be a believer in Christ. And so it’s a Christian community, not because we’re trying to hide from the world, which of course in this day and age with social media and digital, you know, engagement with the world constantly bombarding us with these other messages. You can’t hide anywhere. But what we’re trying to do is create a community of believers where iron sharpens iron. And we’re not just the faculty and the staff and the athletic coaches and the chaplain, not just the adults are encouraging young men and women in their faith, but the students are encouraging each other in their faith in this critical moment.
A Covenantal Christian Institution
So number one, we’re a covenantal Christian institution. Number two, we have a set of core commitments that would line up with WallBuilders or with a family research council or focus on a family or any organization. So we say they are these core commitments that are not political principles. They’re biblical principles. And it includes things like compassion for the poor. And it includes being devoted to prayer and evangelism. But it also includes a commitment to the sanctity of life, to marriages between a man and a woman, to limited government, economic freedom, understanding God’s purposes for limited government.
I mean, these are all biblical principles that too often, you know, even in the Christian community are taught from an unbiblical perspective. And so we have these set of core conservative commitments that every faculty member and that every staff member is in alignment with.
Rick: Yeah. And I would argue, not just too often, most often are taught the other way, which is what makes you very unique.
Len: I don’t disagree with you. So we come from a conservative biblical perspective. It’s a community of Christians and then the last piece is that we specifically have set up our degree programs to launch Christians as we call them to say basically you’ve got one shot in this life and you want to prepare yourself to go into a position of influence in our culture. So our vision is to transform culture with truth and we specifically have degree programs lined up for every one of the seven mountains of influence in our culture.
Preparing Young Adults to Influence the Seven Mountains
To my knowledge, we’re the only Christian university in the country that specifically is preparing young men and women for each of those mountains, whether it’s the church mountain as a pastor or worship leader, whether it’s the business world, whether it’s government, whether it’s education, whether it’s the media, arts and entertainment, or education. We are sending, those are our degree programs. They’re aligned up with the areas of influence in our culture. And we specifically are working to prepare young men and women to be salt and light in a culture that is just quickly losing its way.
Rick: That is so powerful and because you know, typically in the “Christian world” we think if you’re a good Christian, you only go into a couple of those mountains, you know, you are a pastor or you go into, you know, ministry around the world or whatever it is. And it sounds like your message is so clear to the students that, you know, whatever the passion is God’s put in your heart, that desire He’s put in your heart, that is a mission field. And we’re going to train you for all of them.
Len: That is absolutely our perspective. And we tell them that and from the time they arrive on our campus that God created you for a purpose. And if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you’re in full time ministry no matter what your vocation is. And He may have called you into the government arena or He may have called you into, you know, we have the smallest college in the country and the most conservative Christian college in the country to have a student in the first year class at Harvard law school this year.
A New Vision for the University
You know, you mentioned we rank US best college. We ask our students to pursue excellence and to go into each of these arenas. We have kids now in medical school. We have men and women starting, you know, pro-life nonprofit organizations.
So we’re seeing students coming out now with this new vision for the university over the last decade and beginning to make a difference. One more thing I want to mention in that is that all of our students, no matter what their major, they receive 18 hours in biblical studies. So even if they’re a business major or they’re premed, they’re going to have a minor in biblical studies and they’re going to, we’re going to enhance their biblical worldview. We’re so confident in that and we’re so committed to making sure that we’re doing that, but in the last year, Dr. George Berna has joined our faculty and is actually conducting research on our students to determine the worldview they have when they come in and the worldview when they leave. Because as you know, even Christian kids today are not likely to have a biblical worldview often when they start off in college because the pull and the push in the messaging of the culture is so powerful in its anti-biblical approach.
So we know that all of our students, even though they’re followers of Christ, aren’t going to necessarily have a biblical worldview when they arrive at this school. But we’re going to be measuring the growth of their biblical worldview over the course of their time at Arizona Christian University.
There is Hope!
Rick: So powerful man. This interview today really I think gives our listeners hope that there is education taking place at this level that still has that biblical foundation, that is focused on sending out those students into every area of the culture. We desperately need a more like you and we need more students going to Arizona Christian University to get this kind of foundation. So this is a great time to be thinking about it. You know, early in the year planning for, especially those college freshmen for next year, arizonachristian.edu is the place to learn more. Right?
Len: That’s absolutely correct. And you know, we’re growing rapidly and I believe a lot of small colleges are not growing. And we’re growing, we just had a miracle happen where we actually traded our little outdated tiny campus in Phoenix for a 60 acre campus. And we’ve made the trade with Arizona State University, the largest public university in the country. An absolute miracle of God. And so we have this large new campus, our enrollment spike to 20% year over year. And so a lot of great things are happening at ACU. So it’s an exciting time to be there, but you know, I’ve learned that academia takes a long time to build reputations. And so we’ve done a lot of things pretty rapidly, and we’re not on the radar screen as much as we are going to be in the next few years. And so it’s a great opportunity for people to consider coming to the beautiful climate of the Phoenix area in Arizona. Huge metropolitan area. It’s a great time to be a college student in Arizona between, you know, September and May, with the weather.
In Phoenix, Arizona
Rick: Go for the summer.
Len: I’m sitting here and I’m looking out the window and it’s about 70 degrees and it’s another glorious day in the Phoenix area.
Rick: You strategically skipped over that 110 degree in July and August part, which is why you…
Len: That’s why I mentioned that, because they are home with their families then. 36 States in 24 foreign countries. And if I was in a cold weather climate, I’d be thinking about going to a conservative Christian university in Arizona. And that’s what I see ACU is.
Rick: Hey Len, I didn’t know about the campus move. So this is, are you still in the Glendale area right outside of Phoenix?
Len: We’re on the border of Phoenix in Glendale, which of course is where the, you know, the Super bowls and national championship games are happening in the sports arena. But, yeah, so we just moved to Glendale. It’s a historic World War II airfield where 16,000 pilots were trained to go off and fight Hitler in the Nazi. And so we have really tied into that. We’ve got an original historic tower building is our student union with a coffee shop and hangout area.
Rick: How cool.
Len: It is phenomenal. So we’re so excited that we made the move in the summer of 2019. We moved our entire campus from a 20 acre campus to a 68 acre campus. And, you know, we’re building things. It’s an exciting time to be a part of what God is doing. But I’ll tell you, it’s discouraging to look at what’s happening in the culture, but I believe there’s an awakening coming. I believe that God in his mercy is going to bring awakening to our country.
Arizona Christian University
It’s going to happen, not in my generation. It’s going to happen with young people. And so at ACU we’re trying to create by bringing solid Christian kids together, we’re trying to be a place where just a firestorm of awakening can begin as student encourage each other in their faith.
Rick: Amen. I couldn’t agree with you more. That is that remnant that God’s raising up. It’s why people maybe look at guys like you and me, weird when we’re so optimistic about the next generation because they only hear the bad stuff. But we get to see that happening in these young people and man, it just ignites a fire.
Len: We see transformation every day. Editors on a Christian University students that thought they had a solid foundation and phase and then they come to ACU and they just catch fire. And so we see and more than anything, get a sense of what God created them to do. And then they get encouraged and they get mentored by just a world-class faculty and get called to pursue excellence, that you know, God doesn’t want us to be mediocre. And so the message at ACU is no matter what your background is, you have an opportunity to be a difference maker for the kingdom of God. And that’s the kind of student we’re looking for.
Rick: Amen. Good stuff. Arizonachristian.edu is the website folks. Go there and find out more. And Len, bless you brother. We’d love to have you back. I know you can cover a ton of different topics in policy issues and other things too and so we’d love to love to do that again, but God bless you, keep up the great work. Hopefully we’ll get some students headed your way fall.
Len: I hope so and thank you for the great work of WallBuilders, we’re grateful. We appreciate teaming up with you.
Rick: Stay with us folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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Rick: We’re back on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us and thanks to Len Munsil, president of Arizona Christian University for joining us today. And we’ll have links, this is up today on our radio program site at wallbuilderslive.com so that you can learn more about ACU, David. Tim, great to know the depth that’s being taught there.
Biblical Worldview Training
And this is a guy that has been in the political realm as well, so he knows how important it is to raise up leaders to go into that or into that arena, that mountain, if you will. But he’s saying, man, they’re students, they’re specifically biblically training them to go into every single area of the culture.
David: Well, that’s part of why he’s significant because running the center for Arizona policy, one of the faith based policy councils. I mean, he’s been advocating for the right policy positions all along. And so now he’s head of a university. This is not an ivory tower kind of a guy in that sense where that he doesn’t know what’s going on in the real world. He knows what’s going on. But when you start taking George Barna and making George Barna a professor and where he test you, when you go in and when you come out to make sure you haven’t lost biblical worldview. I mean that in itself is a super significant thing and the fact that they’re not specialized in one area, but saying, Hey, whatever, the seven mountains or whatever God has made you, whichever mountain he’s made you to put on, we want to make you better and puts you in that mountain as the most effective person you can be. What a remarkably refreshing worldview?
Tim: And it does make sense why this would be a growing campus, although to be able to swap campuses with Arizona state, that’s a pretty unique thing. There’s not a lot of Christian colleges that are upgrading their campus by swapping with a state university, but the reason you would think this is growing is because they’re offering something that resonates with students when they come, they go there, right?
Looking for Purpose
How many students, they go to college and they’re looking for purpose and they don’t know what to do with their life and right, not even just Christian kids because all of us were made to be used by God to do something significant. Whether you recognize God or not, no, you still have been created with purpose. And so often kids go to college looking for purpose and they’re struggling to figure out what am I going to do to go to a place where says, look, let me just help break this down, right? There’s these basic seven mountains and God’s going to have gifted you in certain areas. And so there’s these different directions you can go and the underlying theme, everybody gets 18 hours of Bible. So you’re going to have everybody finishes with a minor in biblical studies. There are so many things that are encouraging about this.
And Rick, I got admit, I was tempted when he said, and, right, it’s like 73 degrees right now. It’s beautiful. You know, when it gets a hundred, you just go home. I thought, you know, that’s a pretty appealing thought at that level. But yeah, as you mentioned, certainly encouraging that that in the midst of a culture where we often see Christianity compromising it and kind of placating to where culture is going, that now you have a Christian university that is standing up for biblical worldview and training the next generation. This is really encouraging.
What’s Going On At “Christian” Colleges? – With Len Munsil
Rick: It’s very encouraging, and folks at home, I hope you’ve been encouraged by today’s program as well. There are more programs available right now @ wallbuilderslive.com you can click on the archive section area and if you’re a podcast listener, download those podcasts throughout the week. We have great interviews like the one today with President Munsil from Arizona Christian University as well as with those from senators and congressmen and attorneys that are arguing before the Supreme Court and individuals just like yourself that are making a difference in their communities that are some of our constitution coaches out there that host classes, biblical citizenship classes in their churches and use the materials that WallBuilders makes available for all kinds of educational opportunities.
So all kinds of ways that you can be a part of the solution. As I mentioned at the beginning of the program, one of the easiest ways and most important is through dollars. Yes, finances, lives, fortune, sacred honor. Sound familiar? Right there in the declaration of independence. Fortune was a big of it, yes. So we’ve got to invest our dollars in freedom and one of the best places you can do that is right here at WallBuilders. WallBuilderslive.com click on the contribute button. A lot of our folks across the nation give 5 or 15 or 25 bucks a month. Whatever you can do, we greatly appreciate that support. It helps us to expand, reach more people across the nation and therefore be a part of the solution in saving our constitutional Republic for future generations.
God bless you. Hope you enjoyed listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.