By Daniel Wallace
“The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.”
Baylor’s mission statement sounds like one you would expect from a typical university, until you get to the last part. It’s the whole “Christian commitment” thing that sets Baylor’s mission apart from other institutions. Baylor was chartered in 1845 and founded upon by Christian principles and Baptist beliefs. Throughout the years, Baylor has become known as the private, Christian school. The keyword there is “Christian.” Is Baylor really a Christian school?
The short answer is no. However, the problem is not with Baylor. This university does a fine job in providing an environment that fosters spiritual maturity. From the chapel services to the spiritual life center to the genuine faculty who lead the students, Baylor has not failed in remaining true to its Christian roots. It’s the students that are the problem.
The problem is that although Baylor prides itself as a Baptist university, there is a good portion of students who have seemed to miss the point. These are the ones who call themselves “Christians.” The dictionary defines a Christian as one who “exhibits a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ.” Therefore, Christians are supposed to be followers of Jesus Christ.
We all know that absolutely everyone who goes to Baylor is a Christian, right? Baylor has thousands of students that are truly Christ-followers and are living out their lives in such a way that shows the love of God.
Unfortunately, Baylor also has thousands of students that call themselves Christians and then don’t live out the whole “Christ-follower” business. Then there are those that for whatever reason are just turned off to religion and spirituality.
The group I want to focus on is the one that call themselves Christians but don’t follow Jesus.
At the heart of Christianity is relationship. We were made for a relationship with Jesus Christ, and thus, to be a follower of him. I fear that Baylor has too many students who pride themselves on being “Christian” but lack the true relationship with Jesus Christ. I think this is the case because too often Christianity is associated with religion and not relationship.
I hate religion. I love Christianity. Religion provides a list of do’s and don’ts and is powerless and lifeless. Christianity provides a life-giving, free, powerful and uplifting relationship with a God who loved the world enough to send his only son to die for it. Religion says you have to work to earn salvation.
Christianity says your salvation is free through the power of the blood and grace extended to you on the cross through Jesus Christ. When the world ends, religion will die right along with it. But Christianity will never die, because it is based on an eternal relationship.
Here’s the point: Relationship is all about following Jesus. That’s what makes you a Christian. If you really follow Jesus, you are Christian. The truth is this campus is filled with those who claim to be Christians and do not attempt to follow Jesus through a relationship with him. Thus, Christianity often has negative connotations associated with it because of the hypocrisy involved.
My fear is Baylor has become too much of a religious university and not enough of a Christian one. This is dangerous and frightens me.
Please join me in prayer to see a move of God that transforms this campus from religion-filled to relationship-filled.
Daniel Wallace is a junior journalism major from Colorado Springs, Colo., and is a sports writer for the Lariat.