Can Hope Endure?: A Historical Case Study in Christian Higher Education

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Jan 1, 2005 - 249 pages
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The spate of books written recently on Christian higher education highlights a common theme -- how numerous colleges founded by church bodies have gradually lost their religious moorings, often culminating in what historian George Marsden calls "established nonbelief." "Can Hope Endure?" examines the history of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, as it has struggled to find a faithful middle way between secularization and withdrawal from mainstream academic and American culture.

Authors James Kennedy and Caroline Simon track Hope College's responses to various social and intellectual challenges through careful analysis of school records, newspaper stories, extant histories, and interviews with faculty members and past presidents. Hope's history reveals that the school is exceptional, having followed the predictable trajectory, yet changing course in some ways. Given this unusual history, the story of why and how Hope College moved toward reestablishing the role of religion in its institutional life yields important lessons for other schools facing the same challenges.

Neither an attack on Hope College nor the kind of celebratory institutional history that so many schools have authorized, this book is instead a thoughtful, instructive study written by two professors who have witnessed firsthand many of Hope's struggles to retain its identity and purpose. The book's narrative is enriched by the "binocular vision" provided by a professional historian and a professional philosopher, and collaboration has afforded Kennedy and Simon the critical distance necessary to ask hard questions about Hope and, by extension, other institutions like it.

"Can Hope Endure?" will be of realinterest not only to readers associated with Hope College but also to those following or participating in the ongoing conversation about Christianity and higher education.

  

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Contents

Hope and Durability
1
Can Christian Colleges Long Endure?
3
Forces Testing Endurance
10
Tensile Strength or Shapelessness?
17
The Roots of Hope Colleges Middle Way Religious and Cultural Contours 18661945
27
Western Men Eastern Money
28
Local Morality and Churchly Vigilance
40
Dutch Pilgrims and American Citizens
54
A Lengthening Hyphen in ChurchRelated?
142
Hopes NeoMiddle Way 19721987
149
Excellence in the Context of Faith
150
Negotiating the Shape of the NeoMiddle Way
154
Education in the NeoMiddle Way
157
Religious Freedom for Whom?
161
Hopes Unsettled Religious Settlement
164
Testing Hopes Endurance 19871999
169

The Goal of the Middle Way Elevating Humanity through Educating Christians 18661945
67
A Staunch and Certain Christianity
68
Public Schools and Christian Colleges
70
Early Curriculum and Faculty
75
Our Bible and Science Departments Do Not Quarrel
80
Manly Men and Women of Granite
83
Messengers of Hope and the Elevation of Humanity
87
A Tradition of SelfSacrifice and Service
93
Continuity and Change within Hopes Middle Way 19251963
97
Evangelistic to Evangelical 19251945
98
Controversy and Control 19451953
104
Sacrificing the Spirit to Survival? 19531963
113
The Babe and the Bathwater
121
Crisis for Hopes Middle Way 19631972
127
Piety versus Competence
129
Search Confrontation and Liberating Minds
135
Enacting a Socially Relevant Christianity
139
A City on a Hill
171
The Hiring Policy
174
Local Morality Revised in a New Key
180
The Gathering Storm
187
A FullScale Tempest
196
Anchored or Adrift in the Middle Way?
202
Calling Creativity and the Future of Christian Higher Education
207
Calling and Creativity
209
The Challenges of Genuine Ecumenicity
212
All Excellent Things Are Difficult
217
Identity Faithfulness and Enduring Hope
221
Chronology of Hope College Presidents
231
Biographical Notes on Selected Figures in Hope Colleges History
232
Selected Bibliography
241
Index of Topics
243
Index of Names
246
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Caroline J. Simon is professor of philosophy at Hope College.

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