Reflections on Name Change

The News Magazine of HCU

We Are One

When the Christian church was scarcely twenty years old the apostle Paul asserted something in one of his letters that very few people in his time would have agreed with. In Galatians 3:28 Paul declared: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Greeks and Romans would have found such an assertion utterly laughable. Most Jewish leaders and teachers would have found it appalling and just plain false. After all, according to this thinking, God made a covenant with Israel—not with Gentiles! Before his conversion Paul—at one time a Pharisee and a strict interpreter of the law of Moses wouldn’t have agreed with any of it either.

So where did Paul get these radical ideas? He got them from the risen Jesus whom he met on the road to Damascus, an encounter that changed his life and changed his thinking. He went from a man who believed that Jews were superior to Gentiles, that slaves were inferior to free people, and that women were less important than men. Jesus prayed that his disciples be “one,” that is, unified (John 17:11, 22). Paul embraced this truth, declaring that in Jesus the Messiah, we “are all one.”

This is why it is so important for Houston Baptist University to become known as Houston Christian University, for in Christ, there is neither Baptist nor Presbyterian, neither Methodist nor Pentecostal, neither—I think you get the point. Houston Christian University is open to all students who meet proper academic standards. All students are welcome. Denominational distinctions have their place, to be sure, but a Christian university is not a church. Houston Christian University is a community of learning, where everything is taught from a Christian perspective, where students—whatever religious convictions they may have—are welcome to become part of this community and to learn and grow within it. I have been part of this community of learning and discipleship for seven years and I have found it stimulating and refreshing. And one of the reasons for this is because faculty, staff, and students come from many denominations—not just Baptist. Our hope is that in changing the University’s name more students will want to become part of this exciting community.

Dr. Craig A. Evans, John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins

A Legacy of Faith

As a recent past Chair of the Board of Trustees, it has been an honor to serve for the past nine years. I have seen God’s hand on this University and the leadership of Dr. Robert Sloan. With the recent name change, you can be assured that the Mission Statement, Scripture, Christian Worldview and the Ten Core Convictions are still in place for Houston Christian University. The name change is all that will be taking place and is more definitive of what is happening today in Christian higher education. We want to reach a broader base of future students who want to be educated at a university that upholds their core beliefs and principles. Parents can be assured that their children will be warmly welcomed, given good direction in the field they choose and will have excellent instructors. We are prepared to continue to be a light in the city of Houston, the state of Texas and the great United States of America. May revival start at HCU.

In His name,

Judy C. Graham

A Solid Foundation

Globalization is real. What used to take a day, now takes an hour, what used to take hours, is now realized in nanoseconds. Houston Baptist University was founded in a time of the onset of air-conditioned shopping malls, the early stages of America’s civil rights movement, and before man had placed his foot on the lunar surface. Yet, the same founding principle remains steadfast today, the University’s foundational pursuit of academia in a Christian environment.

The occasion of a name change, transcending from Houston Baptist University to Houston Christian University, though monumental in some respect, is simply a testament to the seventh pillar of the University’s governing Ten Pillars, which states: “Bring Athens and Jerusalem Together”. That is, recognize the collective environment we all operate in. But remain committed to a principled approach to education, learning from each other, and working together in community, in the nation, suspended in a universe, occupying the small speck of land we call “Earth”.

As we march into new calendar years and decades, pursuing the constant journey into the future, we realize the shrinking nature of our life existence. As humans, as society, as a social experiment, we increasingly encounter each other due to globalization, are therefore more dependent on each other, and more aware of our diversity in cultures and understandings.

The one constant remains, Christ Jesus. And it is through that prism, that I, as an alum, though years removed from day-to-day campus existence, remain convinced that we can rely on the old adage “The more things change, the more they will remain the same” at my alma mater. This name change represents a proud and historic milepost in the history of the original Houston Baptist University. But a milepost nevertheless, to be traveled through and beyond as more minds are educated, more lives are influenced, and more standard-bearers in all fields of study are sent out.

Apostle Paul’s writing to the Galatian church was to address differences, detailing how the collective is always better than the individual. Houston Christian University is and will continue to be a proud and great experiment for delivering first-rate academia in an ever-expanding environment, built on the foundational belief in Christ.

Roy D. Jones ‘83, HCU Alumnus