How can a college that once existed in Odessa, Missouri in 1909 have anything relevant to say in our supposedly “enlightened” age? Such was the question I asked myself after I recently found an old catalog from the former Western Bible and Literary College in Odessa, Missouri for the 1908-1909 school year. I was immediately taken with home much relevance the words contained within speaks to our own struggles against leftism, progressive / socialist education in both public schools and the universities – as well as the rise of secular humanism over that of foundational Christian Truths. The school of course no longer exists (much like some of Camden Point’s somewhat forgotten legacy of educational independence), but there’s still a lot that can be learned from those Christian intellectuals of 110+ years ago.
Some of the Faculty included R.N. Gardner, O.W. Gardner, James Boyd, Guy Renfro, Miss Ottis Reese, Miss Ora Jones, O.E. Tallman. Subjects included Bible, English, History, Math, Latin, Greek, English, Science, German, French, Music, Art and Elocution. (photo seen at left)
Why Established (pg 9)
“It is an old but true saying that the impressions of youth are the strongest. This is the formative period, and during it character asserts itself. It often takes years to change the opinions and habits formed at this time. For this reason young people should have Christian teachers, and their lives should be surrounded by Christian influences.
Private schools established for the purpose of making money fall short, and State schools are under the same condemnation. An individual teacher in a State school may be a Christian, but the State school as such, does not concern itself about the religious life of the pupils. It works only to cultivate the intellect. The faculty of a State school may be FREE THINKERS or AGNOSTICS, as some of them are. They train for earth only, while a school taught by Christians trains for both heaven and earth.
The underlying principle of the work of our school is that there are no reasons for the existence of the body and the intellect except as instruments of the soul. The system of education is fatally defective which lays stress upon the culture of the mind and body, but neglects the development of the soul. in choosing a school for their children Christian parents MUST ASK themselves the question, ‘What place in this school is given to the culture of the soul?'”
Morality and Religion Inseparable (pg 15)
“All history and the Bible declare there is but one basis of moral life. Faith in the God of the Bible, in Jesus as the Son of God born of the virgin Mary, and in the Bible as the inspired word of God, is the only basis of clean morals. Anything and everything that shakes, undermines, or in any other way renders ineffective, this well grounded faith is a menace to the morals of this country, an enemy to the purity and virtue of your child. There has never been a system of morals worth the name apart from this faith. Corruption, ruin, and wreck have always followed every other system but God’s. To the extent that this basis is forsaken, to that extent will the lust-satisfying life of old Greece and Rome be repeated.”
Semi-Infidel Institutions (pg 16)
“The tendency of modern educational ideas is alarming! The college man seems to grow less heroic, less honorable, more extravagant, demands more ease and luxury, and is too prone to be led about by ‘every wind of doctrine.’
Socialism and skepticism flourish in the shadow of many of our larger colleges and universities. Culture and piety are becoming extinct in too many of our state colleges, while pleasure seekers among our educated classes increase in an alarming ratio. It is said of some of our colleges, that any one can gain a hearing there but Jesus Christ!”