Why holistic education matters

Friday, December 14, 2012


In our latest regional accreditation report, we don’t hold anything back and we certainly don’t water things down. Instead, we clearly state:

“Corban is committed to creating a community that promotes worship, creative expression and activities that reflect God’s character. Development of all aspects of the created person is essential to enabling students to fully express themselves as people created in the image of God. A holistic approach encourages physical and emotional health as well as well-developed spiritual life and deep social relationships. Engagement and intentional strategies for collaborating with others are used to equip and enhance interpersonal and intrapersonal awareness.”

As you can ascertain from this statement, Corban University is an academic community that bases its existence on the concept of ministry through the application of the Great Commission. That commission, in Matthew 28: 19-20, says: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you … ” This means we want each of our graduates to be recognized by all as Corban men and women who have a heart and mind truly dedicated to the Lord.

Unfortunately, this is not the situation at many so-called Christian institutions. What’s more, this is not a new problem with such institutions. Martin Luther addressed this same problem centuries ago when he stated:

“I am afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of Hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt.”

On the surface, these words seem overly harsh, but Luther wanted us to realize we are in a fierce battle for the hearts and minds of our young people. The apostle Paul, in Ephesians 6:12, clearly states: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

At Corban, we prepare our students to think biblically about, and develop a holistic approach to, each issue of life. Toward that end, we encourage them to be actively involved in the Corban community and with others in order to develop their social skills and firm up their personal commitment to Jesus Christ. That is why it is so very important to have a community that shares a strong common bond in Jesus Christ, and it is why we require all of our students to be Christians.

We also provide opportunities for our students to be involved in the arts from a Christian perspective. We know that young people are greatly influenced by what they watch in movies and on television, what they hear in songs and on talk radio, what they see in print and experience online. Therefore, they need to understand how to incorporate what’s actually true and right into their belief system, and how to reject what’s false and wrong. Furthermore, it’s essential that they grow to a point in their spiritual life where they can bless others wherever they go.

We do not consider some areas of our students’ lives as secular and some as spiritual. We certainly do not want them to compartmentalize that way. Instead, we want them to consider everything in their lives as a spiritual and ultimately biblical issue. We want them to keep growing in the spirit of Proverbs 1:1-4, which says:

“The Proverbs of Solomon son of David, King of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young.”

We want our students, and our faculty, to internalize the Bible’s principles in their hearts so they’re prepared to face each issue in life from the point of view of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. That is why our mission, “To educate Christians who will make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ,” is central to the existence of Corban University. Every decision we make as an institution is centered on that all-important mission.

Dedicating Heart and Mind to God,

Reno Hoff, President

  • Corban President Reno Hoff talks education in the winter 2012 issue of CORBAN Magazine.

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