The title chapter as it were began life as a paper delivered at the International Conference of IAPCHE at Dordt College, Iowa in 2000. The subtitle 'The challenges of Christian higher education on the African continent in the twenty-first century' ably summarises the chapter. Van der Walt tackles them in reverse order.
The situation on the African continent is first described. This makes sobering reading. Export of manufactured goods is virtually zero. In the sub Sahara there are 12 telephones per 1000 people. 184 million have no access to water. 184 million have no access to safe drinking water. I could go on ...
Romans 12:1-2 is then examined as a starting point for a basic vision. "It is a clarion call for the transformation of the whole of life' (p. 114). It contains a warning, a command and a promise.
The warning regards the secularisation of the world; our response should be transformation of, not isolation from or conformity with, culture.
The command indicates where we are to start. The whole body is to be presented as a living sacrifice and our minds are to be renewed. The use of the imperfect tense in Rom 12:1,2 'indicates that God requires an on-going, continuos reformation. If we don't reform, we will conform to the deformation of the world' (p. 113).
The promise is that we will approve, accept God's will.Van der Walt then outlines ten excellent criteria for transformational scholarship; it should be:
- culturally sensitive
He concludes this chapter with a proposal for the establishment of an African Centre for Christian Higher Education.