(Pleasant Hill, IA) Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spoke at Berean Assembly of God‘s Wednesday evening service last night. During the course of the evening Jindal shared his testimony and was asked more worldview questions than political questions. (This contributor arrived late due to a church commitment.) One of the last questions he was asked by one of the church members who works with college students, “what advice would you give, as somebody who works in a very public place, to the long run of living a life that honors God in a very hostile work environment?”
Jindal took the opportunity to discuss faith and the coming generations:
Let’s just take college campuses for example. It doesn’t matter which college you are talking about as a group they are much more liberal, much more secular. You can see it in the faculty, you can see it in the administration, you can see it in the policies.
I’ll say a couple of things. One, you remember in scripture we are taught that we are to be hot and cold, not lukewarm. I went up to a college in the Northeast, and at one time it was officially a Christian school, but it had long since changed its ways. So they still had an official chapel service on campus as a remnant of its history, and very few students went there. There were off-campus church services that were packed. I want you to think about that. College kids were getting up early in the morning to go drive to church instead of just walking across the green for church service.
So this was confusing to folks on campus so they asked me – they knew I was in InterVarsity and Campus Crusade – “what’s happening?” So I actually went to listen to one of the (campus) church services. It was so watered down. I remember thinking the students, the young men and women who were going to get up early and go to church they are looking to go to church where people tell them “do whatever you want, there’s no right or wrong. Just feel good.”
They do that every day. They want to go to a church where they are hearing truth and the Gospel and are being challenged. Ironically the churches that weren’t trying to change the Gospel, weren’t watering down God’s word to be popular were filled with students.
So one, even if it seems counterintuitive I think in a world that is becoming more secular, more challenging, people are desperate for truth. I think God has created us with a God-shaped void in our lives and then we try to fill it with a lot of stuff. People try to fill it with alcohol, drugs and money and all kinds of stuff, and the only thing that really fills it is God.
I think working with college students is a great blessing because college students in many ways are searching. I mean you think about it so many important decisions are made in those years.
I have young kids, and I was talking to Dad and I said when you think about it the decisions they make right now they have consequences. He said, “the next decade is the toughest decade.” I said, “what are you talking about?”
“You just think about your little girl when she gets older she is going to start making decisions about what she is going to do for a career. She is going to start making decisions on who she is going to marry, where she is going to live. Those are the big decisions.”
…I think with college students it is a wonderful opportunity, they are open, they are searching. They are challenging, they are looking. It is a time when things are unsettled, they’re living away from home for the first time, they are making decisions. It is uncomfortable because a lot of them maybe don’t go to church anymore because Mom and Dad aren’t making them. It is also an opportunity for them to make their own commitment to God, and their own decisions for God.
I’ll tell you really quickly.. So my little boy… we have a rule that when kids come spend the night, especially Saturday night, they have to come to church with us or have to go home before church because our kids aren’t getting out of church. I won’t let them use that as an excuse.
So one day we are in the car and Shaan, our son who had heart issues and is now fine, he was in the back seat with his buddy, and he asked his friend, “hey can you come spend the night?” and he said, “sure.” He wanted to spend all day with us on Sunday so he said “you are going to have to go to church with us, is that ok?”
The other little boy got real quiet. Shaan was kind of confused and he goes “what religion are you?” The little boy said, “I don’t have a religion.”
He goes, “so where do you go to church?” The little boy said, “well we don’t go to church.”
I can see my little boy looking at me saying is that against the law, are you allowed… I didn’t think that was allowed… I said it’s not an option for you.
But I love my little boy, it was kind of like the Inquisition in my backseat. My little boy turns to the kid and says, “yeah, but you still believe in Jesus right?” And this poor little kid is squirming… he doesn’t know what to say.
There are a lot of kids who get to college who had gone to church every week because their parents made them, but who knows what relationship they’ve got, and this will be first time… Here is the wonderful opportunity, we can either despair or look at this as an opportunity. This generation we have today they may be the least exposed to the claims of the Gospel than any we have seen.
What do I mean by that? When I was growing up whether you were a believer or not.. most kids knew, knew the story of Jesus. You remember C.S. Lewis – Lord, liar or lunatic – that was his famous chapter he wrote at a time when you could assume people knew who Jesus claimed to be… what the Gospels said. I think a lot of people today don’t have any idea what is in the Bible.
I remember meeting a college student, a very nice woman, a very smart girl… One night, I can’t tell you how many times in college I was asked, you’re the first pro-life student I have ever met, it is a great opportunity to witness and share, so that same woman asked me that same kind of question. After I was done and about to leave she stopped me, and she said, “I have two more questions for you” and you could tell she was embarrassed to ask this. She was a graduate student, a brilliant woman, and had the best education her parents could buy they were a very wealthy family. She said, “what is the difference between the Old and the New Testament and who is Saint Paul, I keep hearing his name?”
I thought how in the world can you grow up in America and not know the basics of Western Civilization? Even if you are not a believer how do you not know, but I think now we are at this point where nobody can take away this incredible freedom that we have. We can give it away if we are not careful.
So we can just despair and think kids are no longer grounded to the Western classics or we can say you know what there is an opportunity because these claims, Jesus’ claims, are so radical. He is not a prophet, he is not a good man. Go back to what C.S. Lewis said, He is who He said He was or He is a liar or a lunatic, there really is no in between.
I know it is easy to say that, I know it will be challenging on days. The final thing I’d say, calling back on my own experience, another thing to think about when you are working with kids and students is to remember your job is to be planting seeds. You may not be there to reap, but years later you may get a letter, you may never hear from them again, you may get a letter who says “you know what, thank you for what you did because years later when something happened in my life I remember to turn back to God.”
I think college is an important time to be planting those seeds. Look, the other side is there, so we better be planting seeds.
Jindal will make a similar stop on Friday morning to speak at the Faith Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Ankeny, IA.