USA (MNN) — Christianity seems to be growing on Campus, according to a Harvard professor, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship agrees.
In the May 2 edition of the New York Times, Professor Peter Gomes claimed that these are no longer the days of seeing religious people under siege or categorizing them as less intelligent. There may be more religious activity now than in the last hundred years, Gomes claimed. "They interviewed a number of people: professors and people associated with the university. And they're discovering that students are far more spiritual and far more interested in religion and pursuing degrees in religion," said Terry Erickson of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
According to the article, two-thirds of the freshman class claimed to pray, and 80-percent said they believe in God. "These are all kinds of numbers that have really surprised these professors," said Erickson.
"The truth is, this is exactly what we're seeing, as well," said Erickson. Their groups continue to grow each year, and its not just Christians attending. "Of those who attend half the time to all our activities, we have about 28-percent who profess themselves to be non-Christians," added Erickson.
Erickson said students have an "interest to try to discover who Jesus is, trying to discover what the Bible says, and then as they stick around and become part of the community when given the opportunity to decide for Christ, they are saying 'Yes.'"
Last year InterVarsity had the highest number of recorded conversions in their history. At some university conferences, between 40 and 150 people have made a decision for Christ.
But why is the interest in Christianity growing right now? Erickson offered several
ideas. Many students long for the community that these groups offer. Secondly,
he believes that students who have forgotten their faith begin exploring their faith again. "Students today have a real heart for social justice. And as we pursue justice issues on campus and caring for the poor, caring for people with AIDS and other things, that's attractive to them," said Erickson. "I think all these things–what the group represents and is trying to do–is attractive to non-believers."
Sometimes Christian students are less willing to communicate the Gospel because of their own issues. "We can pray for the Christians that they will make bold Gospel
presentation and invitations," said Erickson.