Stephen Lutz, the author of King of the Campus, writes about Abraham Kuyper, a pastor, theologian, media mogul, university founder and educator, and politician—who became the prime minister of the Netherlands. Kuyper’s contribution examines a Christian worldview, as it relates to spheres: the church, family, economy, school, and the state and how we approach everyday life. Lutz narrows his focus on five spheres of kingdom work on campus:
- church/Christian fellowship
- party scene
According to Lutz, these spheres are pillars of what holds the university up, and cover the primary functional spheres that we live in when we hit the campus. This way of thinking is incredibly helpful when it comes to our everyday living–and-breathing, eating-and-drinking lives (on–campus). To see everything as belonging to King Jesus, through these spheres, keeps us from shrinking him down. . . . keeps us from putting God in a box and having a compartmentalized faith, and this worldview gives us worth and dignity and purpose to all our work. Everything we do matters. We worship God through all of it. Earlier in his book, Lutz speaks to the issues of legalism and license and how they work together from opposite ends to keep us from joy, freedom, and purpose. Legalism is “about getting to God by being good. It is about external conformity, not inward change, changing behavior without changing the heart. It is truth without grace.” License is about freedom. “It misunderstands grace as meaning that we can do whatever we want to do. It hates religion, but it is religiously devoted to self, pleasure, and personal autonomy.” Certainly, as college students go off to college, they get mixed messages. One, “college is a time for fun, freedom, and experimentation—a time to throw off constraints like stuffy religion.” Two, “the message from Christians is a series of don’ts. So, the options are to dive headlong into campus culture at the expense of faithfulness, or to do what Christians tell you are obedient but boring.”
I recommend we cultivate a Kingdom of God-centric perspective. “It is the growing presence of God’s goodness and rule in our world, through Jesus Christ. . . . It is discovering our identity and calling in Christ, and becoming who God has designed us to be.”
The kingdom of God reframes how we see college and gives us a Christian perspective. God did not send you to school primarily to get an education, to make new friends, to get a job upon graduation, or simply to pass the time until you figure out what you want to do with your life. God sent you to your campus so that you could join him in the work he’s already doing there. He sent you there so you could be an agent of his kingdom, an agency he has uniquely gifted and shaped you to have.
A Redeemed View of Five Spheres:
|Church||Church is exclusive||Church is optional||Church is an essential but not the exclusive place of God’s working|
|Relationships||People-judger: doesn’t need or care for others||People-pleaser: needs and cares too much||Love, serve, honor, and befriend people as created in the image of God|
|Academics||Overachiever: worships work and achievement||Slacker: worships fun; thinks work is a bad word||Work is a way to worship God; work hard, but not excessively|
|Leadership||Leadership means total control, the firmer the better||Leadership . . . Who needs it?||Serve, love, and influence with humility and courage|
|Party Scene||Fun is inherently evil; hide from it||“Ideahilism”; fun means go crazy, life is short||True fun and pleasure are a gift from God that gives life and doesn’t exploit|
Chart from King of the Campus, Stephen Lutz, page100.