Book Review: Welcome to College

By Luke Nix.

Introduction

With today’s culture ever-increasingly becoming hostile to the Christian worldview, it is vitally important that we prepare our children for the challenges they will encounter to what they believe. Jonathan Morrow wrote a book several years ago that focuses specifically on a Christian’s journey through college. He recently updated this volume with the latest popular challenges that a Christ-follower will likely encounter on campus. “Welcome to College: A Christ-Follower’s Guide for the Journey” is 350 pages in length, but those are divided into 43 short chapters that are easily read in very short sessions. Because of the number of chapters and their short length, this review will not follow the usual chapter-by-chapter summary format of my other reviews (I don’t want to give away the whole book). Rather I will focus on several of the key points made throughout the book that I found particularly important, then I will conclude with my thoughts of the book (you will¬†not¬†want to skip them).
Welcome to College

Book Introduction

Morrow begins by congratulating the student on their tackling of a whole new world. He encourages them to enthusiastically dive into their studies and use the most of their time to learn and build relationships. He cautions though that it is important to realize that ideas and worldviews, particularly the Christian worldview, will be challenged and even opposed, so it is important to know what they believe and why they believe it.

From there Morrow spends the next ten chapters discussing the fact that everyone has a worldview, the importance of following evidence where it leads regarding the truth of a worldview, what faith truly is, how we can know things to be true and the distinction between knowing your faith to be true and showing it to be true. In discussing these, he sets up the student to critically evaluate claims made, evidence provided, and address basic challenges to one’s even making a claim to know anything.

Intellectual Challenges in College

Intellectual challenges to the Christian worldview abound in college. Everyone from the professors to the students will present their own reasons for rejecting Christianity. These reasons range from the amount of evil in the world to the supposed scientific inaccuracies in the Bible, to the idea that Jesus was either a copy-cat myth or that there are so many versions of Jesus/Christianity that it is impossible to know which one is true. The historicity of the Resurrection and the reliability of the Gospels will be constantly under attack. Morrow takes each of these issues and presents the cherry-picked facts that seem to ground these objections. He dives into the philosophical foundations of science and the facts of history surrounding the historical Jesus (his life, death, and Resurrection). Along with the highly selected evidence, he also presents the rest of the evidence that, not only explains those few facts that seem to justify skepticism but the rest of the evidence that demonstrates that the skeptical conclusions are not only ultimately unfounded but actually provide powerful support for the truth of Christian claims.

Doubt in College

Doubt is a powerful tool against the Christian entering college. Whether that doubt is intellectual or emotional, from professors or friends, it can wreak havoc on a student’s faith. However, doubt is not incompatible with the Christian life. The idea that Christians are not allowed to doubt is a myth perpetuated by a secular culture in an effort to finally sever the Christian from his beliefs. Morrow explains this important truth: it is okay for the Christian to doubt; doubt often leads to further investigation into the evidence, and further investigation into the evidence will demonstrate a more solid ground for our Christian beliefs. While investigation takes place, the doubt will also cause the student to need to rely personally on God more through prayer and a humble and thankful attitude. These are necessary to connect the head to the heart when doubt is present in college.

Practical and Cultural Challenges in College

About halfway through the book, Morrow shifts from more intellectual challenges to practical challenges. He offers advice covering everything from the overwhelming school work requirements to budgeting issues to dating. He explains how a Christian’s worldview can inform how to deal with these challenges in a successful way. For many Christian students just entering college, they in for many shocks. I’ve covered only a few of the intellectual and practical ones that he addresses, but he also takes a considerable amount of the book to discuss cultural differences and the unique challenges and pressures that will be encountered. Once again, Morrow uses the Christian worldview to help inform the student on how to respond to the pressures of the newly discovered independence from mom and dad. Cultural views of sex (including gender and same-sex relationships), alcohol consumption, the value of human beings, and the purpose of individuals legislating morality, abortion, and technology use and addiction are discussed. Morrow explains not only how the Christian worldview informs these decisions but how the student can articulate his or her decisions and defend them in the most respectful and graceful ways. Throughout this part of the book (and the previous part), Morrow constantly reminds the student that they are called by God for a purpose, and they need to focus on and make their decisions based upon that purpose.

Reviewer’s Thoughts

This book is one resource that I wish I had before I began my journey. Because of circumstances that were happening in my life during my transition from high-school (homeschool) to college, I was already in an intellectual and emotional crisis of faith. While I had been informed of some of the challenges that college would present, I was not given as much instruction or preparation to deal with them as I wished that I had. This book is one of my most highly recommended books for those who look forward to attending college.¬†Parents, take note:¬†Because of the fact that it covers intellectual, emotional, practical, spiritual, and cultural challenges students will face in college, “Welcome To College: A Christ-Follower’s Guide for the Journey” is one of the¬†most important books that your college-bound teen can read. The way that Morrow laid out the book, with its bite-sized yet in-depth chapters and the “Big Ideas” sections at the end of each chapter, he makes it extremely easy for teens to comprehend the content and for parents to engage the material and help train their children for the challenges that lie ahead. College is a whole new world for our kids, and we need to train them and prepare them with the resources that God has given us; if you have made it this far through this review, it is safe to consider that Morrow’s book is now one of the resources God has provided you. Take this opportunity, pray for guidance, and equip your child for the journey that God is preparing to take them on.


Notes

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22 replies
  1. jcb says:

    More people today challenge the Christian worldview (T)
    Challenging a worldview is hostile (F)
    People should be prepared to defend rationally what they believe (T)
    At college, teachers often challenge bad/false ideas their students hold (T)
    It is important to ‚Äúfollow evidence where it leads‚ÄĚ (T)
    ‚ÄúFaith‚ÄĚ is truly one thing (F)
    There are things we know but can’t show easily (T)
    There are things we believe and have faith in that are false (T)
    Students should critically evaluate claims, and follow the evidence (T)
    If one does this, Christianity will be shown to be true (F)
    ‚ÄúIntellectual challenges to the Christian worldview abound in college.‚ÄĚ (T)
    Evil proves that a perfect being probably doesn’t exist (T)
    The Resurrection was and is improbable: it probably didn’t happen (T)
    If Jesus was resurrected, it wouldn’t make it probable that a perfect being existed (T)
    Skeptical conclusions actually prove God (F)
    Doubt can ruin faith (T). That’s usually a bad thing (F).
    Secular culture regularly says that Christians are not allowed to doubt (F)
    Doubt is great: it often leads to further investigation (T)
    ‚Äúfurther investigation into the evidence will demonstrate a more solid ground for‚ĶChristian beliefs.‚ÄĚ (F)
    Since the evidence often fails to support God, many students turn to faith (T).
    This is a good thing (F)
    Students are ‚Äúcalled by God for a purpose‚ÄĚ (F)
    If a student is unable to defend his beliefs, it might be because his beliefs are false (T)
    Theistic students regularly consider this possibility (F)

    Please share if you know any specifics of the book that disprove any of my assertions above. I welcome polite feedback.

    Reply
    • INFINITE LOGOS says:

      If one does this, Christianity will be shown to be true (F) – { TRUE }
      Evil proves that a perfect being probably doesn’t exist (T) Р{ FALSE }
      The Resurrection was and is improbable: {TRUE } it probably didn’t happen (T) Р{ FALSE }
      If Jesus was resurrected, it wouldn’t make it probable that a perfect being existed (T) Р{ FALSE }
      ‚Äúfurther investigation into the evidence will demonstrate a more solid ground for‚ĶChristian beliefs.‚ÄĚ (F) – { TRUE }
      Since the evidence often fails to support God, – {FALSE}
      Students are ‚Äúcalled by God for a purpose‚ÄĚ (F) – { TRUE } Everyone is called for a purpose.
      If a student is unable to defend his beliefs, it might be because his beliefs are false (T) – { INCOHERENT }

      Reply
      • jcb says:

        Thanks IL for the reply. Yours is one of the few that actually engages with the ideas.
        “If a student is unable to defend his beliefs, it might be because his beliefs are false”. You say this is incoherent. But clearly some people have beliefs, and some people are unable to defend them, and some people’s beliefs are false, and some people are unable to defend them because they are false.

        “Students are “called by God for a purpose”. This is false: there is (virtually) no evidence that God exists and that any particular student has been called by/contacted by God and been given/told to do any particular task/purpose. If you know of such evidence, please offer it.

        “The evidence often fails to support God”. True. I talk to lots of people, and they give horrible evidence, like “I believe God exists”, or “I have faith that God exists”. Neither of these things prove that God exists.

        “Further investigation into the evidence will demonstrate (the truth of Christianity”. That seems false to me. I’ve done a lot of investigating. However, if your investigations have found evidence of this, please provide it.

        “If Jesus was resurrected, it wouldn’t make it probable that a perfect being existed.” True. If Jesus jumped to the moon, it would prove he was a pretty good jumper. It wouldn’t prove that he could beat me at chess, knew what I was thinking, could create 20 universes with a blink of an eye, etc.

        “The Resurrection was and is improbable”. True. It is unlikely that anyone can jump to the moon in 5 seconds. If 100 people said someone did that 2000 years ago, they are probably mistaken. The same goes for the resurrection.

        “Evil proves that a perfect being probably doesn’t exist”. Still true. If there were a perfect being, we would be right to expect that being from stopping 6 million Jews from dying in the Holocaust. That no one stopped the Holocaust is evidence that there probably isn’t a perfect being.

        “If one uses critical thinking, Christianity/”god exists” will be shown to be true”. Still false. But if you think you have the evidence to prove it, please offer it.

        Reply
        • INFINITE LOGOS says:

          We will begin with:
          .
          ” ‚ÄúIf a student is unable to defend his beliefs, it might be because his beliefs are false‚ÄĚ. You say this is incoherent. But clearly some people have beliefs, and some people are unable to defend them, and some people‚Äôs beliefs are false, and some people are unable to defend them because they are false.”
          .
          .
          This is INCOHERENT because you are making the assumption that they can NOT defend their beliefs because they are false. However, their beliefs may be true but they are just NOT able to defend them. Remember when you could be burned at the stake for saying that the world was spherical and NOT flat ? Yeah, me neither. So is the world spherical or flat ?
          .
          .
          Something that is TRUE is TRUE whether it can be defended or not by an individual.

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            I didn’t make the assumption that “they can NOT defend their beliefs because they are false”. I said, “If a student is unable to defend his beliefs, it might be because his beliefs are false”. Obviously, for some students, that’s the case. Some people are unable to defend their beliefs, and sometimes that’s because their beliefs are false.

            Even if I did make the assumption you say, it wouldn’t make my statement incoherent. At best, it would make it false. The important issue here seems to be though: can belief in god be shown to be probable based on the evidence? If you think you can do that, please do. In my experience, people are unable to do that.

            Yes, religious beliefs may be true, even when some people are not able to defend them. Again, what I said in the quote above was, “If a student is unable to defend his beliefs, it might be because his beliefs are false.” That’s still true. If you missed it, notice what work the word “might” is doing here.

            Whatever is true, is true. But that doesn’t help demonstrate anything of importance here, it seems.

            It seems that you ignored the part (as is often the case) where evidence for God is requested. God might still exist, but the lack of evidence (and the problem of evil) suggests not.

        • Mark Heavlin says:

          As to evidence the following questions to begin with:
          .
          Is The First Law of Thermodynamics true or false ?
          .
          Is The Second Law of Thermodynamics true or false ?
          .

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            It seems both of those laws are true: they generally describe reality accurately.
            Neither of those truths prove God (as you have defined it previously).

  2. BEH says:

    JCB – I always get a kick out of these outlines you provide.

    “Faith” is truly one thing (F).
    This statement doesn’t make sense to me. It is clear from the context and perspective of the author, that when he says “what faith truly is”, he means Biblical faith. That is indeed a specific (i.e. singular) thing. I agree that colloquially the word ‘faith’ is used to convey many different aspects of belief, but that is not the perspective from which this author is speaking.

    “If one does this (critically evaluate claims, and follow the evidence ), Christianity will be shown to be true (F)”
    I would agree with your evaluation of this statement, as it is simplistically stated. I think you and I both understand, with just a dab of critical evaluation of the author’s perspective and the context of the article, that he does not mean that anyone who takes the time to examine the evidence will automatically accept the claims of the Bible. You and I both know there is ample evidence to support the claims of Bible. Many people, however, (and I assume you are one of these individuals) are not convinced by the evidence, and therefore reject the claims of the Bible. I’m also open to the suggestion that the author should be more careful in how he states his assertions/opinions so that the readers don’t have to work so hard (not that it’s really all that hard) to understand what he is trying to convey.

    Doubt can ruin faith (T). That’s usually a bad thing (F).
    I assume that you have examined the evidence for the claims of the Bible and have found them wanting. Therefore, you reject those claims, and believe that there is no God, or that Christianity is false. You cannot know that your beliefs to be true, as you do not have access to all the data. Thus, you trust that your evaluation and subsequent beliefs are true and act as though they are. That is ‘faith’, as conveyed in the Bible. So if your faith in the assertions that there is no God waivers, you believe that would be a good thing? Really?

    Just a few thoughts regarding some of your assertions.

    Reply
    • jcb says:

      BEH,
      You never replied to my reply to your post from the other thread. Any comments there? Did anything I said register with you?
      As to this one:
      1. “faith” is a word. As such it can mean lots of different things, and does mean different things to different. Yes, the author of the article can have his/her own meaning of “faith”, but it is inaccurate (or perhaps meaningless) to say “that’s what ‘Faith’ truly means. That was my only point there. Nothing about this affects the rest of the article, as far as I can see.
      As to my style: it summarizes the article. It points out my views. It allows another to say, Please explain (as you did) point 3. I disagree. So of course I could say more, and am happy to do so once someone asks me to do so about a particular point of controversy.
      There is lots of evidence given for some of the claim of the Bible, but it is sizable false to say “there is ample evidence to support the claims of the Bible.” If you mean, “there is ample evidence to support the claim 100 or more people lived in this particular region 2000 years ago”, that’s true. If you mean, “there is ample evidence to show that Jesus probably resurrected as if bodily cremated”, that’s false.
      Yes, I have examined a lot of religious arguments, and found (many of) them to be wanting.
      No one has access to all the data. It is false to conclude from that that “you cannot know that your beliefs are true”. Perhaps you meant, “you cannot be absolutely sure your beliefs are true”. That’s accurate, but doesn’t change that various beliefs, such as that X probably didn’t resurrect, are probably true, as far as we know.
      My beliefs are my current evaluation. I post on sites such as these in case anyone has new information (or a correction of my current information) to help me reach the most reasonable belief.
      You say “faith” for you is acting on your beliefs”. Yes, we all act on our beliefs. But this conversation, for me, is about whether certain beliefs are probable. And acting on one’s beliefs doesn’t add much to making them probable (in terms of being probably true).
      Yes, if I acquire new evidence that has me doubt my belief that there is no god, that’s a good thing. One shouldn’t be committed to a belief just because. One should be committed to a belief if the evidence supports it. If someone has evidence that causes my original belief to be put in doubt, that’s good (assuming one cares about the truth).
      I’m still awaiting feedback from my previous reply from the other article. And I look forward to your polite feedback, including any mistakes in reasoning I have made (that are significant), and any evidence you have to show that theism is true/God exists, etc.

      Reply
  3. Susan Tan says:

    The reason why the world is so hostile to Christians is that it is detecting a doctrinal mixed message that they don’t like and both Christians and their adversaries are at fault for not double checking the scriptures and history thoroughly enough.

    It says in many places in the Bible that God will save all men.

    But that is not what the majority of Christianity teaches today.

    If you want to know why Christians are wrong on a literal eternal torment then read works by John Wesley Hanson or Stephen E. Jones or the merciful truth.com site.

    I am sick and tired of people substituting Molech’s nature for God’s all knowing benevolent nature just because they are doing what they were erroneously taught and not checking the scriptures for themselves.

    Stop cherry picking the scriptures to support a threatening doctrine that contradicts God’s true nature.

    God bless everyone reading. Seriously eternal torment is a doctrine of condemnation and that is not good news. But the true gospel is the doctrine of reconciliation. There is no condemnation in that.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “The reason why the world is so hostile to Christians is that it is detecting a doctrinal mixed message that they don‚Äôt like and both Christians and their adversaries are at fault for not double checking the scriptures and history thoroughly enough.”
      .
      The reason that the world is so hostile to Christianity is because this world is ruled by Lucifer ( Satan ). And he is in direct opposition to GOD. Ever wonder why ONLY Christianity is attacked instead of all religions ?
      .
      .
      .
      “Seriously eternal torment is a doctrine of condemnation and that is not good news. ”
      .
      .
      Then explain the following to me please ?
      .

      Revelation 20: 10-15
      .
      10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        “Ever wonder why ONLY Christianity is attacked instead of all religions ?”
        Mark, a few days you literally compared Islam to satanism. Your only consistency here is your inconsistency.

        Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            What, more risible than your victimhood claim that Christianity is the only religion that gets attacked, when Jews have been targeted for many hundreds of years, with the blood libel, pogroms, ghettoes and literal mass extermination? Not to mention that multiple Muslim countries face a travel ban? Feel free to say any of the latter is justified, it doesn’t stop your claim being quite absurd, especially when you have frequently attacked (and lied about) Muslim beliefs on this very board. You’ve got chutzpah, to use a Jewish expression.

  4. Susan says:

    See Colossians 2-14-15 and Ephesians 1. Jesus is the King now.

    Google and read Aion-Aionios by John Wesley Hanson for the true etymology of certain key words.

    From 1 Timothy, chapter 2
    Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

    God is the parent. If He is a responsible parent and He is would he allow people to make a bad permanent decision for all eternity?

    How are people’s will in control if they are blind, sinful, prone to self deception and have to receive the gift of faith?

    This is why an elaborate construction of the verses together is necessary to get a clearer doctrinal picture.

    There are so many verses in the Bible that say all will be saved that that is very noteworthy.

    But there are two resurrections and the Bible says each will be saved in his own order.

    Some claim eternal punishment is a false doctrine based on a false Latinized perspective. God’s perspective is Hebrew but early on in Christianity the Church involved itself in politics and the Roman Empire’s punitive way of ruling it’a earthly empire got transferred into the Church via certain key theologians.

    The false doctrine has persisted in part because the Church locked everything up in Latin and claimed the Vulgate to be the only inspired translation until certain reformers like Wycliffe and Tyndale had the Bible translated into the vernacular.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      The Colossians passage is talking to / about believers.
      .
      1 Timothy 2:3-4 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. King James Version
      .
      1 Timothy 2:3-4 This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Berean Study Bible
      .
      1 Timothy 2:3-4 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. New International Version
      .
      .
      The meaning of the word “will” in the first passage is the critical part. The second and third passage use the words “desires” and “wants’ instead of will.
      .
      .
      And sorry you are going to have to explain why GOD would find it necessary to 1 – Send his Son to die a horrible death if all are going to be saved anyway and 2 – why GOD would NOT honor the free will of an individual to reject him ?

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        I don’t think I have to explain anything. I think the answers are in the text and the etymology of key words and history and based on the nature of God.

        Why would a loving and forgiving God tell you to love your enemies without doing it Himself?

        John Wesley Hanson made an observation called The Silence of God. He noted that God is silent about eternal torment back in Genesis though Christ’s victory over the serpent is prophesied there.

        Why wasn’t Adam and Eve and their descendants warned about hell if God intended to send anyone there?

        Why didn’t Moses mention eternal torment?

        Really who has the control in the whole salvation process.

        Don’t argue it. Investigate it and see what you find.

        When you start examining things you find out strange things like the Catholic exorcism right gives way too much power to Satan.

        Catholicism chants prayers and circle a possessed person in bed for weeks like in the movie the Exorcist but a real disciple takes authority over a demon in Jesus’ name and casts him out with no fanfare. The devil is a liar and a disciple of Jesus doesn’t circle a liar listening to him spin lies and get into his own psychology for lengthy periods of time.

        So how does a believer have the authority to cast out a demon if Satan is still reigning. He isn’t. He is beaten. Satan is the strong man in scripture but Jesus is the stronger man also mentioned.

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          “When you start examining things you find out strange things like the Catholic exorcism right gives way too much power to Satan.”
          .
          Not sure how we jumped over to Catholic exorcism as it is not mentioned in The New Testament.
          .
          .
          As I have commented already on Colossians 2 and 1 Timothy 2 do you have any more that I can look at? You say there are a bunch of them and I would like to look at some more.

          Reply
          • Susan says:

            Start with Hanson’s essay on the mistranslation of the word aion.

            Seth Tipton has several essays over on mercifultruth.com.

            Eternal torment sounds like a carnally minded man’s way of behaviorally controlling others through fear.

            Some people are not going to react well to other people attempting to scare them into believing. So people delivering the Gospel should settle this question once and for all.

            Why are there 3 positions: annihilationism, eternal torment and universalism.

            Which is really the best understanding of the scriptures?

            Jones has works explaining the symbolic interpretation mistakes people make as well as etymological explanations on Gehenna, Sheol and Tartarus the 3 words that got morphed into the word ” hell “. He also wrote on the Church’s early history showing the internal conflicts that led to the church destroying the great universalist church scholar, Origen’s works.

            They have an evangelical universalist forum online where many more works are named exposing this doctrinal error.

            The associates for scriptural knowledge site has Dr Ernest L Martin’s essays explaining all will be saved expounding on the scriptures. He also has an essay on an almost lost doctrine The Doctrine of the Ages worth a reading.

            For Hanson’s cache of works just google his name on Wikipedia and scroll down to the online library of his works on this universal restoration topic.

            There is another good site, too but I can’t remember the name right now.

          • Susan says:

            I remember 2 more good sites. Look at the papers on becomingone.org and check out Tentmaker’s site. Look at Tentmaker’s tract
            “Does All in the Bible Mean All?”

        • Susan says:

          Google “God’s oath to all men” on God’s Kingdom Ministries.net. God gave an oath in Old Testament times to save everyone. A universal oath.

          Men are not able to keep their oaths but God is. He controls all circumstances doesn’t He?

          Try to stick to the people who back things they claim with scripture not their own rationalizations.

          Scripture comes from God’s revelations of His intent and purposes.

          Rationalizations come from men’s limited understanding.

          That is why we have to do a lot of checking of the scriptures. So we aren’t the casualties in our thought lives of other people’s errors and assumptions.

          If every Christian was right then why do we have different types of unified theology like Arminianism, Reformed, etc.

          Check things for yourself. We’re suppose to be meditating and researching the scriptures ourselves. Christians will judge angels some day. At least some Christians will. Christ said he wouldn’t know all claiming to be Christian because some didn’t act like Christians. Christ is the pre-eminent example of someone who loved his enemies. Christ loved Saul of Tarsus who was persecuting him didn’t he? And Saul did not change himself initially. God changed him.

          God is the Potter. We are the clay.

          I would rather not argue. Arguments just nitpick and deconstruct God’s perspective before people have fully digested it.

          That is one reason why studying the scriptures is superior to arguing it.

          You have to genuinely know a perspective/position before taking a stance don’t you?

          Reply

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