Our View: Is there really too much ‘Bible’ in the core?
When it comes to Bible cores, we have it easy.
It appears the Bible, Religion and Ministry Division has snuck another religion course into to Cornerstone general education core.
While most Cornerstone students are already feeling the grueling weight of a liberal arts education, the BRM division heads have bumped up the number of religion core classes from three to four, adding REL 103 Biblical Hermeneutics to the lineup. Now, there are at least twice as many REL classes (12 credits total) in the core than any other subject (with the exception of science classes).
So come on, BRM Division! Give us a break! Can’t you see we’re already working too much for a subject most of us aren’t majoring in?
But are we really working “too much”? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Cedarville University requires six Bible classes (16 credits) in its core. Taylor University requires six classes (18 credits) of spiritual foundation core classes. Just down the Beltline at Kuyper College, all students are required to major in Bible and theology in order to graduate. Cornerstone doesn’t even have a 400-level Bible core class!
Compared to other private Christian schools, we seem to have it pretty easy.
And it’s not just other schools. According to Andy Smith, associate professor of Bible and former BRM Division chair, Cornerstone once had six religion classes in the core, requiring that every student received a Bible minor.
Smith also said they had good reason for adding another religion course – the original course didn’t provide enough information on Biblical hermeneutics and worldview.
“This current core represents a better representation of Biblical material,” he said.
For others, the amount of classes isn’t the problem – the amount of work is also too heavy.
“I think that there is way, way too much homework associated with Bible classes when they aren’t someone’s major,” sophomore Biology major Ryan Webb said. “I think they should be more lenient or understanding about those who are not majoring in Bible.”
And he has a point – 10-page exegetical papers and historical context presentations aren’t exactly the type of projects you would expect for a 100-level class.
However, Smith said heavy workloads are part of being in college and students should expect to work hard.
“Simply put, students at CU need to realize that they are here to complete a solid education, and that includes the appropriate amount of academic rigor in courses they take – including the BRM Division core courses,” he said.
Cornerstone students also need to remember they chose to come to a Christian university, and that means there is going to be some Bible-related requirements. But religion core classes aren’t just requirements for Christian universities –they’re essential.
Just look at Cornerstone’s mission statement: “To empower men and women to excel as influencers in our world for Christ by offering a student-focused learning community where Jesus Christ is central.” How can a university make a statement like that if they fail to give them a Biblical education?
“When we speak of things like ‘worldview’ and ‘integration of life, learning and faith,’ it is absolutely imperative that students have a solid, working knowledge of God’s revelation in Scripture, and how properly to interpret Scripture,” Smith said.
We need to keep in mind that religion classes are more than just classes – in them, we are learning about God through His special revelation in His Word. We should embrace our religion courses, not dread them. And we need to apply what we learn in them to our lives, so that we might one day become “influencers in our world for Christ.”