“The fear of man is a snare,” but “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who practice it.” (Proverbs 29:25; Psalm 111:10)
At Patrick Henry College we believe in fearless learning, because we start with Jesus Christ, the one in whom “all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17) We recognize that the mind and the spirit are allies, that the pursuit of truth and the love of God reinforce each other, and that human knowledge can form a harmonious whole when it is anchored in the Bible.
The faculty at Patrick Henry College equip students to know the world clearly, and to see it, as much as possible, the way God sees it—which is the way it really is. In the face of today’s “postmodern” relativism, they insist on accountability to facts, defending reason because of faith. They are not afraid of facts, because ultimately the facts are always on God’s side. The fear of the Lord excludes the fear of true knowledge.
That’s why Patrick Henry is a classical Christian liberal arts college. What this means is that every student gets a foundation in rigorous classical learning, reads the great texts, and grapples with the full range of ideas, both good and bad, that have dominated our civilization. We give students skills that enable them to “test all things” and “hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) This process culminates in specialized majors and in apprenticeship opportunities where they apply their skills and begin to explore a calling in a workplace setting.
I joined Patrick Henry College because I saw the evidence of its classical educational model embodied in its students and graduates. Because of their classical education, Patrick Henry students are intellectually adventuresome. They are articulate, challenging, and oriented toward high achievement. Thus far they remind me of students whom I knew when I was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and when I was at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study. But they differ in one critical respect: unlike typical Ivy Leaguers, PHC students seek to love God with their whole hearts, and, at their best, they are not striving toward personal success and recognition but toward the fulfillment of God’s calling in their lives—whatever that turns out to be. I love our students because they are yielding their many strengths to the Master’s service.
The Lord is able to deploy such people for maximum impact in the culture around us. In fact, this is already happening, and I predict that Patrick Henry College graduates will be making a remarkable difference for the Kingdom of Christ in our world in the decades ahead. More importantly, they will be readying themselves and their families for eternity. Psalm 111:10, highlighted above, speaks of the “good understanding” that is achieved by those who practice “the fear of the Lord.” But it concludes on an even more important note: “His praise endures forever.”
Please join me in fostering the praise of the Lord here at Patrick Henry College!
Graham Walker, Ph.D.