Northwestern College in Orange City is on the list of “The 15 Best Colleges for Studying the Bible,” according to The BestSchools.org website. School spokesman, Duane Beeson, says they are pleased to be on the list that includes schools such as Liberty University and Oral Roberts.
“It’s always good to have other people say good things about you,” Beeson says. “Obviously the fact that they would say that we are one of the best places to study the bible resonates with us, because that’s been part of our mission ever since we were established in 1882. We were established as a Christian school, we wanted to train people originally to be pastors and teachers and later the mission expanded to train people to go in all areas.”
The western Iowa college is the only one in Iowa on the list. Beeson says the wider philosophy of religion at the school sets them apart from some of the others on the list which require a major in bible along with whatever else you study.
“We have eight credit hours that are focused on biblical and theological studies, but otherwise a big part of that is that in every classroom and indeed throughout our campus we ask our professors to integrate the Christian faith. So if you are in a psychology class, sociology class, chemistry, whatever, we are going to talk about Christian perspectives and what does the bible say about this particular subject,” according to Beeson.
He says you would see the same thing with the athletics on campus as coaches will talk about what it means to glorify God with your talent. Beeson says the overall philosophy doesn’t limit you to becoming a minister to use what you’ve learned at the school.
“One of the interesting things about the reformed theological perspective — one of the things that they really emphasize — is that God calls people in all areas,” Beeson explains. “You can be involved in ministry whether you are in business, or whether you are a teacher in the classroom, or you are involved in public relations or whatever.”
Recent studies have shown fewer people say they have a connection to organized religion, but he says the 12-hundred students at Northwestern choose it for that very connection. “It is really interesting that as you look at some of these studies you see there is less connection to the church for one thing, and less biblical knowledge. So, I think to a certain extent, we definitely do have a distinctive niche,” Beeson says.
While there is more of a focus on religion, Beeson says they’re just like other colleges when it comes to academics. “We’re not a Sunday School, we’re not a Christian camp, but in addition to being committed to providing good academics — and we’ve been recognized by a number of organizations for that — we also want to be deeply committed to integrating the faith,” Beeson says.
“And so you would definitely experience that in all aspects whether you were walking across campus, talking with students in a dorm, attending a class or whatever.” Beeson says Northwestern is one of only two colleges in the state that are part of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities.
The other is Dordt College in Sioux Center.