Editors’ note: The Pillars for Freedom are essential to our Christian university and its ability to continue our work in higher education. These freedoms were chosen with intentionality to align with OKWU’s mission. As we dive into these freedoms, we though it important to discuss that mission which is summed up in four different “Pillars”: The Primacy of Jesus Christ, The Priority of Scripture, the Pursuit of Truth, and the Practice of Wisdom.
In this two-part series, Provost Dr. Gentry Sutton explains the meaning and purpose of Oklahoma Wesleyan University’s affectionately-dubbed “Four P’s”. Read Part One
Let’s quickly examine the consequences of abandoning these two Christian fundamentals: (1) the deity of Christ and (2) the authority of the Bible.
If cultural architects can convince the majority of people that there is no divine Christ because things such as a virgin birth and a resurrection from the grave are scientifically impossible, and if cultural architects can convince the majority of people that science is all that matters, then a society can be “liberated” from the “unenlightened” notion that people are accountable to the Jesus Christ of the Bible.
And if people are not accountable to Jesus, then they don’t need to follow the instruction He provided via Scripture. Moreover, since the Bible hinges on scientifically “impossible” events, it should not be trusted. Consequently, the Bible as a text should have no “priority” in people’s lives.
And if the Bible should have no “priority” in people’s lives, then “Truth” as it has been understood for thousands of years—because it was found in Scripture—must no longer be truth. And if Scripture does not contain ultimate truth, then ultimate truth must either (1) come from somewhere else or (2) not exist at all.
And if ultimate truth comes from a source other than a sovereign deity, then humans decide what is true and what is not. Similarly, if ultimate truth does not even exist, then pursuing definitive, objective truth is folly.
And if ultimate truth is determined by humanity, then people’s actions will be guided by the ideological framework that humanity has decided is “right.” That is, people will practice wisdom according to their own man-made notion of truth. Or, if truth does not even exist and the pursuit of it is therefore folly, then wisdom has no anchor—so wisdom cannot be practiced in any significant way that does not offend the very meaning of the word wisdom.
So, how do anti-Christian cultural architects secularize a culture? They tell people that only unenlightened simpletons would believe in a story as ludicrous as the story of Jesus.
It really is all about Christ.
When the Christ pillar falls, the others fall like dominoes. Without the primacy of Christ, there is no priority of Scripture, for Christ is who gives Scripture its authority; without the priority of Scripture, there is no pursuit of Truth with a capital T; and without the pursuit of Truth, there is no practice of wisdom deriving from an accepted standard of Truth.
Couple these realities with the fact that the Church has done a pretty poor job of equipping its people to counter such attacks, and it is not difficult to understand the cultural mess we find ourselves in today.
Oklahoma Wesleyan University sees through the cultural confusion to the simple realities expressed above. Consequently, students at OKWU learn why and how it is perfectly reasonable to believe in the Christmas and Easter stories recorded in Scripture. In other words, they learn how to defend the primacy of Christ.
And they learn that if Christ is indeed supreme, then we should take special note of the instruction he has sent us. In other words, they learn about the priority of Scripture.
And they learn that if Scripture is a priority, then we should study it for guidance and answers. In other words, they learn about the pursuit of Truth.
And they learn that if definitive Truth about how we should live is indeed knowable, then we have an obligation to act according to Truth that is known. In other words, OKWU students learn about the practice of wisdom.
Through its commitment to its four pillars, Oklahoma Wesleyan University equips students to help bring order to a chaotic culture. The formula is beautifully simple and refreshingly bold. It cuts to the heart of our cultural chaos, and it is absolutely perfect for a time such as this.
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