The Idea of a University

A Post-Bible College Perspective


  • Gordon T Smith Ambrose University and Seminary Author



Bible College movement, Christian discipleship, arts and sciences, cultivation of a Christian mind, mental health challenges, instrumentalist view of higher education


What are the implications for a liberal arts university that is heir to the Bible college movement of Western Canada. What is the rationale for the transition and the unique challenges in this transition for schools that choose to shift from Bible college to liberal arts university? The essay concludes that while this is the right move and that as such it makes sense, the challenges are yet very real and that the response is one that requires attention to some critical questions that are, perhaps, unique to schools that have made that transition. 

Author Biography

  • Gordon T Smith, Ambrose University and Seminary

    Gordon T. Smith is the president of Ambrose University and Seminary in Calgary, AB, where he also serves as professor of systematic and spiritual theology. He has a number of publications, including the more recent Welcome Holy Spirit: A Theological and Experiential Introduction [IVPress 2021].


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Fincher, Cameron, 1993. “The idea of the university in the 21st century: An American perspective.” British Journal of Educational Studies, 41(1): 26–45.

Hassel David J. 1983. City of Wisdom: A Christian Vision of the American University. Chicago, IL: Loyola University Press.

McKinney, Larry J. 1997. Equipping for Service: A Historical Account of the Bible College Movement in North America. Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges.

Newman, John Henry. 1852. The Idea of a University.

Noll, Mark A. 1994. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.

Pelican. Jaraslov. 1992. The Idea of the University: A Reexamination. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Preston, John. 2017. Competence Based Education and Training and the End of Human Learning: The Existential Threat to Competency. London: Palgrave.

Sarma, Sanjay and Luke Yoquinto. “The Toyota Corolla theory of college. The Atlantic, June 2023.



How to Cite

Smith, G. T. (2023). The Idea of a University: A Post-Bible College Perspective. Religious Studies and Theology, 81–90.