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Christian College, The: A History of Protestant Higher Education in America (RenewedMinds) [Paperback]

By William C. Ringenberg (Author)
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Item description for Christian College, The: A History of Protestant Higher Education in America (RenewedMinds) by William C. Ringenberg...

An informative and comprehensive guide to the institutional history of Protestant liberal arts education in America. Arranged chronologically from the seventeenth century to the present day.

Publishers Description
When it first appeared in 1984 "The Christian College" was the first modern comprehensive history of Protestant higher education in America. Now this second edition updates the history, featuring a new chapter on the developments of the past two decades, a major introduction by Mark Noll, a new preface and epilogue, and a series of instructive appendixes.

Community Description
A comprehensive history of the Christian college in America

Table Of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Introduction: The Christian Colleges and American Intellectual Traditions
Mark A. Noll
The Colonial Period
The Pervading Christian Purpose of Colonial Education
Instructors and the Instruction
Students and Student Life
The Old-Time College
The Expansion of Christian Higher Education
The Continuing Mission
A College Education
The Extracurriculum
The State University as a Protestant College
New Colleges and New Programs
Higher Education for Blacks
Colleges for Women
Colleges Founded by the Newly Rich and the New Immigrants
The New Curriculum and Its Effects
Athletics and Fraternities
The Movement toward Secularization
Sources of Secularization
Marks of Secularization
The Process of Secularization: The Universities
The Process of Secularization: The Church Colleges
Varieties of Protestant Higher Education by 1980
The Response to Secularization
The YMCA and Other Student Christian Organizations
The Bible College Movement
Fundamentalism and Higher Education
The Reconstruction of Christian Higher Education after 1945
The Emerging Line-up of the Continuing Christian College
The Emerging Identity of the Continuing Christian College
In Partnership with the Government
On to the Twenty-first Century
The Recovery Continues
New Constituencies and Extended Borders
Enlarging the Faith and Learning Dialogue
The Mainline Reassesses
The External Governors

Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F
Appendix G
Appendix H
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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   316
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2006
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0801031451  
ISBN13  9780801031458  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 27, 2016 02:46.
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More About William C. Ringenberg

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William C. Ringenberg is Professor of History emeritus at Taylor University, USA. He is also a past president of the Conference on Faith and History, and an associate research fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture. His major work is The Christian College: A History of Protestant Higher Education in America.

William C. Ringenberg was born in 1939.

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1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > College & University > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > Education Theory > History
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5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Protestant
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Education > General
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Education

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Reviews - What do customers think about Christian College, The: A History of Protestant Higher Education in America (RenewedMinds)?

Peer Review for The Christian College  May 16, 2010
Ringenberger, W. C. (2006). The Christian College: A history of Protestant higher education in America (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic.

Reviewed by Gary C. Shaw, M.S.Ed., Old Dominion University

The introduction by Mark A. Noll to The Christian College: A history of Protestant Higher Education in America (Ringenberger, 2006) stands well as a pamphlet in its own right. In sketching the developments of the distinctly Protestant sector of American higher education, Noll brings to light intellectual traditions and the required changes that were made to them over time from Puritan beginnings to modern day. Mutation, modifications, and adaptation were all tactics used to navigate secular forces in bringing the Christian college over the span of time to fruition as we see it today; carefully balanced between free academic inquiry and committed theological loyalty.
In discussing the colonial period, the Christian college as demarcated from any other type of higher education institution, be it pubic, private, secular; or diverse in any way, by sex or race, did not exist. Thus Protestant Christianity dominated education in America during this period, and as such may be fairly and equitably described in several other historical works. Two of which give more detail of this era are A History of American Higher Education (Thelin, 2004), and The History of Higher Education (Goodchild & Wechsler, Eds., 1997). This goes as well for the following chapter covering the old-school philosophy of education prior to the Civil War.
Specific points of interest concerning the colonial period include the pervading purposes of education, entailing the narrow focus on the Classics and their use in ministerial preparation; sectarian differences and the influences of such major events as the First Great Awakening; the vision and mission of various college presidents and religious leaders; and a view into the daily life of the institutions, student life, and the curriculum.
Chapter 2, entitled The Old-Time College, begins with the expansive growth of Christian higher education emphasizing that the supposed Christian base was indeed lacking and thus the expansion was a result of the Second Great Awakening coupled with westward migration. Christian leaders were able to hold on to the reigns of college education even with the advent of state sponsored institutions and the fact that professing Christians were in the waning minority. There was also a waning desire for most to maintain the old order of pursuing the ministry. The social structure of the Christian college however did provide for student-sponsored activities that wrestled with issues of morality through their organizing of religious societies. Another key component of the student social structure was the literary societies which proved most helpful before the days of big-time athletics.
Moving beyond the Civil war brought new colleges and new programs described in Chapter 3. Here we enter an era where Blacks and women begin to make strides in gaining access to higher education. Notably because of the Civil War tumultuous changes were taking place in society who was discovering a basis for equality among races and gender. Immigration provided a catalyst for this paradigm shift. Institutions and the founders of new ones were beginning to take a more ecumenical view that soon developed into a movement towards secularization. Of coarse there were traditionalists who strived to maintain the status quo and resist these changes, and in some cases there were false-starts and setbacks, such as the relatively brief tolerance for integration before re-segregating under Jim Crow.
It is interesting to note that the true "College" as the term applies today was still a very advanced institution at time and many of those that were formed or continued to exist, especially in the West, had fuzzy boundaries with the lower levels of education. At the time Blacks and women were emerging in education, they were still primarily relegated to fulfilling the role models of the day, namely teaching, pasturing, and missionary work; but rapidly became less homogeneously identified.
Parallel with the history of the late nineteenth century captains of industry, were their contributions to education through foundation philanthropy, but mainly for the more secularizing schools. The widening of the division between the smaller Protestant Christian institutions and those of the mainstream became more visible. The author writes about the post-Civil War era in more generic terms and does not emphasize the Christian Colleges per se over the entire spectrum of education in general. This may be because of the lack of clarity between the emerging divisions. He does however hone in on two salient points.
A simple explanation is given for the development of curriculum. Harvard, a trend setter, embarked upon an elective system which later proved "courses of study severely lacking in unity and design" (p. 103), as students apparently chose their courses willy nilly. The design that saved the liberal arts education followed a pattern of general education requirements followed (usually) by the core discipline, i.e. "major". Another major change was the transfer of extracurricular activities from literary societies to athletics and fraternities of which the author goes into with great detail. Baseball, Football, and later Basketball became mainstays of college life as well one driving force behind higher education finance.
The movement toward secularization and the response to it are taken up in Chapters 4 and 5. For those who had or have hope in carrying on the original mandates of our earlier institutions rooted in Christianity will find this middle part of the book disheartening. It is less a part of Christian colleges than loosing them. It may be a result of following the money, as the best-endowed colleges have tended to move away from the Christian worldview. Perhaps the greater underlying reasons lie in advancement and discoveries, particularly in the natural and physical sciences. A key dividing line for many is Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, especially among those on the defensive. The author also mentions the secularizing trend so include relativism brought back from doctoral scholars studying in Germany. Described in detail, the process was slow and by degrees. Following the marks that identify it, generally a pruning of the direct religious elements, the process of secularization is described for various selected institutions among the universities and then the Christian colleges from Gospel, to social gospel, to neither. Particular dates and catalog entries are cited as anticlimactic milestones, such the reduction or volition of chapel services and biblical curricula. Finally there only remains the maintaining of the vestiges of religion, especially in view of supporting constituencies. In some cases the apostasy is consummated by the dropping of these vestiges altogether. The residue of Protestant higher education by 1980 is presented as hold-outs, but with potential for growth and resurgence, the number of which are 550 and averaging about 1,300 students. There is some further discussion on their variety.
Sideline to secularization is the response to it. One of the major of these are the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) and its counterpart, the YWCA for women, both of which were student-led on many campuses. These later led to, or rather, gave way to organizations of like-mindedness, namely InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ. These were successful because they fulfilled a need that was later provided by the university/college sponsored student services. Affectionately spoken of were also the addendum missionary arms of these organizations which surged immediately proceeding the WWII period. In the consideration of what was happening within the mainstream is now compared with the Bible college movement, where the "Third Great Awakening" of the latter part of the 19th century led sway to a "revivalism" - a result of a trend towards popular education. There were many others that latched on this idea such as A. B. Simpson, by some considered the father of the Christian Missionary Alliance. Much is discussed about Moody and the establishment of his institution, as he set the standard for some time for missionary efforts overseas, through "practical training", or what would now be considered "Christian service". One topic focused upon is the advent of the Bible College based upon the evolution of "Bible institutes", whereby in the developed college one may acquire a degree vice only a diploma. The response to secularization was met by such organizations as the Accreditation Association of Bible Colleges (AABC) who set standards for many of the Christian colleges.
The meaning of Fundamentalism and its return to the main sphere of education is introduced along with its positive and negative connotations. Particular denominations and institutions are given as examples to demonstrate the power of fundamentalism; or for many, "evangelical" as the term is euphemized. Networking organizations are identified to provide umbrella coverage for many otherwise vulnerable institutions vying for prominence among the non-sector institutions, public or otherwise less-than-orthodox. In this regard Bob Jones University (BJU) is made an example. Liberty University and the Moral Majority are also discussed, but here in terms of the dubious relationship of politics and religion.
Much is touted of the renaissance of Christian Higher Education (CHE) after 1945, but living memory probably has much to do with its popularity. The first preference is given the continuing Christian college, where the Southern Baptist and their ilk hold sway, as Pentecostals (Oral Roberts University being the prime example) arrived relatively late on the scene. This sector of higher education is covered mainly through discussion of their character traits and what they were able to recently accomplish, especially by applying the "faith and learning" principle to their entire curriculum. This "integration emphasis" seems now to be the philosophy of most Christian colleges to survival through the near future. Various social aspects of the Christian college system are brought forth to explain their success, including revivalism, decorum, interests of the faculty members, inter-institutional cooperation; and their coalition-building efforts and partnerships with government entities.
The final chapter of the 2nd edition addresses in addition to the periods up to 1984, recent events up to the near present (2006). Herein lays several references to be consulted concerning the possible future, and probable "recovery" of the Christian college system as it re-invents itself in the future. Unfortunately, this may mean a weakening or watering-down of solid aforementioned principles and endeavors to meet the demands of state and federal financial interventions. The Council or Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), an umbrella organization, is much consulted, as well as others, to frame the future mission and vision of this burgeoning sector of higher education. Especially emphasized is the development of broad-based programming and inter-collegiate cooperation.
In an era of consolidation among the institutions of higher education, there appears to be a lack of such among the Christian private colleges for obvious reasons. This, in an offhand way, presents them as being somewhat more "stable", though in reality they are still struggling for survival despite the recent trends that indicate that they are "resurging". The re-inventing of this sector begs the question of whether this is a result of a general broadening of the criteria that define Christian Colleges, or rather they have indeed established foci that identify them as viable independent institutions. "The shaping of American higher education" may be readily found in a volume entitled the same (Cohen & Kisker, 2010), specifically referencing their views on it's societal context, including such ideas as affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the like.


Cohen, & Kisker (2010). The shaping of American higher education. San Francisco, CA.: John Wiley & Sons.

Goodchild, L. F., Wechsler, H. S. (Eds.). (1989). The History of Higher Education (2nd ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Simon and Schuster.

Ringenberger, W. C. (2006). The Christian college: A history of Protestant higher education in America (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Academic.

Thelin, J. R. (2004). A history of American higher education. Baltimore, MD.: John Hopkins University Press.

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