June 7, 2015

The Closure of Clearwater Christian College: From the Heart of a Shepherd

On Friday, June 5 the Clearwater Christian College (CCC) board of directors announced, that after nearly 50 years of ministry, the college would close.1  This is yet another once thriving fundamentalist, separatist school, closing its doors.

Hillsdale Baptist Church
Pastor Travis Smith, pastor of Hillsdale Baptist Church (Tampa, FL), has written his own perspective on the closing of Clearwater.  Dr. Smith wrote,

“From the front pew” it has been my sorrow to observe CCC’s decline over the past 13 years.  From a college with a strong following of biblical fundamental pastors and churches, CCC appeared to have lost her way.  Many reasons will be given for the doors of CCC closing.  Some will cite economics, a dwindling number of conservative churches, low student enrollment and competition from other colleges.  Although all of the above no doubt contribute to the demise of CCC; I suggest from my vantage point that the leadership of the college over the past 10 years steered the college away from its founder’s purpose, philosophy and vision.
For Pastor Smith's complete article please see, From the Front Pew: This Pastor’s Perspective on the Closure of Clearwater Christian College at his From the Heart of a Shepherd blog.

CCC joins Pillsbury, Tennessee Temple, Calvary (Lansdale) and Northland in closure.  There will be more because in most of these closings we have seen that a school's administration cannot depart from its founding purpose, philosophy and vision, which alienates the core constituency, and expect to survive. 

Yours faithfully,


LM

Footnotes:
1) Message from the Board of Directors 

Related Reading:
Also by Pastor Smith, Catering to Carnality: The Spiritual Decline of Christian Schools, Colleges & Universities
“Catering to carnality” has become the policy of many Christian administrators and institutions who are minimizing spiritual principles and Bible convictions, while serving the whims of youth who lack core convictions, godly wisdom, insight, and spiritual discernment.
NIU Closes: The Continuation of the Pattern of Demise

What Does NIU, Pillsbury, Tennessee Temple Have in Common?

Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale): They Are Accountable for Failure and Won't Own Up to It.

4 comments:

  1. Sadly, another failed attempt of a once fine, Fundamentalist institution of higher education to change and accommodate evangelical proclivities. Not sad that they failed in their attempt, sad in that they tried to change in the first place. When any Fundamentalist institution seeks to establish and cater to the evangelical community but remain "Fundamental" in name, it is only a matter of time before the secret is out and if they are unwilling to return to their Fundamentalist roots, that their Fundamentalist constituents leave them high and dry. CCC has been off my list of acceptable colleges for our young people for years. The pool of sound colleges/universities continues to shrink like the Dead Sea.

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    1. Well said Brian. There is an established track record of thewe doomed from the start experiments. The only reason some of these now failed ministries did not close sooner was because of attempts to mask what they were morphing into. There will be more of this, and still the evangelical wanna-be crowd will blame shift the closures on anything other than the fact of betraying a school's founding principles and constituency killed that ministry.

      Thinking a college can survive shifting away from a fundamentalist, biblical separatism to the non-separstist, cultural relativism and compromising doctrine of the so-called "conservative" evangelicalism is tantamount to believing America, as a constitutional republic, can survive as such if we allow it to become like a European Socialist state that some are trying to remake America into.

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  2. "The pool of sound colleges/universities continues to shrink like the Dead Sea."
    Do any remain?
    Seems like the pattern in Lou's documentation of Northland is at one stage or another everywhere I see in the most well known of colleges, so I am curious.

    Sometimes I think I'd rather my children not get mixed up in a pseudo-conservative or pseudo-Christian college (secularized Christian education) and become a product of THAT lukewarm philosophy rather than going to a local secular college where the defining terms and choices and responsibilities are clearer and more effective. It's a sad thing to realize and see the glory days pass. Don't we remember voices of yesteryear saying "we'd rather shut the doors of this institution than forsake our founding principles". What happened? Fear of enrollment? Just saying what was convenient for the moment? Really changing on what they think the Bible teaches (if so then why wear the mask, why not share and teach us, and have hope for unity that way)? As goes America, so goes colleges...and churches, and individuals...or did it start with individuals first.

    "The only reason some of these now failed ministries did not close sooner was because of attempts to mask what they were morphing into."
    Agreed, and because it has been hard to separate our affections or loyalties in order to see these masks soon enough and pull them off in warning or confrontation.

    I'm not sure how these colleges think they can survive on another level, too: they are morphing into a market place that is hard to compete in. They have to sell their new brand to a new crowd all the while not rebranding too quickly to lose their base before they can afford to. It is a tightrope. And this new crowd already has so many colleges to choose from, so it's a hard sell. I think their one hope is if they can morph slow enough then more fundamental churches/individuals that comprise their core constituencies will shift and morph fast enough to still support the school in it's changes.

    "There will be more because in most of these closings we have seen that a school's administration cannot depart from its founding purpose, philosophy and vision..."
    Love that. Sometimes the phrase "sold their birthright for a mess of pottage" comes to mind in all of this.



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