CCU’s Closing: Choosing to Respond Wisely
CCU’s Closing: Choosing to Respond Wisely

By Michael C. Mack

Like many others, I was saddened to see the news on Monday about Cincinnati Christian University giving up its accreditation and closing its doors at the end of the semester. I’m a CCU alum (MA, 1993), met my wife, Heidi, there, developed many lifelong friendships with fellow students and professors at the school, and taught a couple classes as an adjunct there. I can show you the specific spots on campus where incredible memories were made.

On Monday evening, Heidi and I read the wide range of emotional reactions on social media. Many people are not only sad, but angry, too. I understand these emotional responses. Some of those responding may know much more about the situation than I, and I certainly understand the need to seek accountability. Over the past four months I’ve spoken to several CCU trustees, past professors and other staff, and graduates. I’ve tried to get some answers and piece together the reasons for CCU’s demise, partially to satisfy my own curiosity and also to be able to report what I’ve learned through Christian Standard. As one might expect, I received a wide variety of answers, mostly depending on whom I was talking to.

In the end, I will not point fingers or try to answer the many why questions, at least not at this time; I know decisions are often very complicated and there is more to the story than almost anyone truly understands. That’s not to excuse any of the major issues that have been raised. I will make a few observations, however.

Some challenges at CCU are indicative of larger issues in Christian colleges and universities and small private colleges in general. Surely, shifts in culture are partially, but not completely, to blame. With every “failure,” there are always opportunities to learn and grow as well. Certainly, leaders in other learning institutions are looking at CCU’s demise to seek to better understand the issues and develop safeguards. As church leaders, we may also need to assess the current educational situation to consider the best ways to disciple believers and equip more young people to serve in the future.

I’m reminded that, as important as our Bible colleges, universities, and seminaries have been, they are not a biblical structure. They have been and still are an important tool in equipping people for ministry, but the home and the church are still the primary, biblical places where discipleship and equipping are to occur. These ministries that we often refer to as “parachurch ministries” will come and go over the ages; but the family and the church will persist until Jesus’ return.

I also have a bigger concern for the church. We need to protect our witness. We must “be wise in the way [we] act toward outsiders,” and also with outsiders watching and listening to us. We must let our conversations (face-to-face and on Facebook) be always full of grace (see Colossians 4:5, 6).

Will you join me in responding to this situation primarily with prayer? I am certain that current students and their parents, faculty, and staff would value our prayers for them—and I believe this should be our first response. Pray for CCU leaders as well as for the schools where students may continue their education, including Central Christian College of the Bible, as students and schools make important decisions and transitions over the next several months. Pray for our church leaders as they consider how we can best disciple, develop, and deploy young people for ministry. Pray that everyone—board members, administrators, staff, alumni, current students and parents—may act honorably and with integrity as CCU concludes its mission.

The 95-year existence of Cincinnati Christian University is ending, but its ministry continues through its students and the countless number of people around the world who have been influenced for eternity by those students. I am blessed to be but one of them.

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12 Comments

  1. Dan Garrett
    October 30, 2019 at 10:04 am

    Thanks for capturing what so many of us are feeling.

  2. Jeff Faull
    October 30, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Thank You for your mature and measured response. and your words of caution about our responses. I am saddened too, but I will always be grateful for what I received from Cincinnati Bible College.

  3. Fred Balding
    October 30, 2019 at 11:56 am

    A Proverbs 25:11 kind of article for sure. Thank you, brother.

  4. Victor Knowles
    October 30, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Spoken (written) like the peacemaker you are, Mike, and that we all should be “in times like these.”

  5. Paul Stinnett
    October 30, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    The best response I have read regarding CCU’s closure. Thank you.

  6. Gary Johnson
    October 30, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks, Mike, for your wise counsel and reminder to express ourselves in a God-honoring manner——particularly in difficult circumstances. I thank the Lord that “I drank from a well I did not dig” while a student in the Seminary and later as a member of the adjunct faculty. I give thanks to God for the many lives that were eternally impacted by CCU in her 95-year history.

  7. Shelley Park
    October 30, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you for the reminder. As an alum, I too pray for the students, faculty and trustees during this difficult time. The legacy of CBC or CCU will remain and continue as our main mission . . . to go seek the lost remains the main constant in a world of constant change.

  8. Gary Pettyjohn
    October 31, 2019 at 6:02 am

    R.I.P. CCU and NACC

  9. Dan E.
    October 31, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Online college is pressuring small colleges of average reputation, especially those that are sectarian, that have traditionally relied on the local populace for students. The Internet makes it possible to attend a more remote school with a more nationally notable reputation and do so without paying costly room & board fees or commuting. Schools such as CCU are most at risk, and we are just at the beginning of a tidal wave of similar schools closing their doors. Colleges and universities that have notable reputations, offer unique online curricula, offer good value for the money, and have courses and degrees that appeal to working adults will survive. Fail in those, and the end is nigh.

  10. October 31, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Sad. As the saying goes, we have come a long way, baby. I will miss CCU, but at what cost? I am 64 years old and remember Cincinnati Bible College and Cincinnati Bible Seminary. Perhaps it is the sign of the times. Bible colleges were to teach us the Bible and to train preachers. We live in a social and megachurch society . . . and I did not know that CCU had a football team. Can we ever get back to the basics? I doubt it. . . . My concern is for all the young people seeking ministry today. I am told we must be progressive and I ask at what cost? Our churches are closing (rural) and where is the Restoration Movement? I know I am elderly now, semiretired, and preaching at a small rural church (12 members). . . . Anyway, too much to say and not enough answers. Perhaps accreditation was more important than the gospel? Anyway, God bless. May the Lord Jesus Christ return ever so quickly!

  11. October 31, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Was quite saddened to get the news on Monday — the closing of such a great flagship school — your words though, Michael, are wise and hope in the larger picture remains.

  12. Donn Ford
    October 31, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Thank you for stating the unfortunate biggest problem with Christian ministry. It is the local congregations’ responsibility, and they will be held accountable, to teach and train members for acts of service (ministry). What will the church here in America do when the freedom to worship openly has and will be soon taken away from us?

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