27 November 2021

The University:
More Christian Than We Think?

In 2019/20, there were 2.53 million students in the university in the UK. That’s very nearly 4% of the entire population, a large number of people willing to risk sizeable chunks of student debt in pursuit of a goal perceived to be beneficial.

It seems that we repose an inordinate amount of trust in this thing we call the ‘university’. Why is that? On what basis is this institution worth such investment? What is its role in society?

Tom Holland, in his 2019 monograph, Dominion, argues that many of these good things which we take for granted within Western culture are in fact the direct fruits of our Christian heritage. Is this also the case with the university? In fact, despite recent controversies, is the university actually more Christian than we may have thought? And, if that is the case, what does this tell us about our own purpose within the academy?

Can Christians contribute towards it? In fact, should they? And if they do, how do the questions behind the renewal of the academy help us introduce the bigger questions and ultimately point us to Christ? In what ways could our contribution to today’s university pave the way for a distinctively Christian apologetic?


Our speakers David Bebbington (Emeritus Professor of History, University of Stirling) and Andrew Fellows (Former Chairman of L’Abri International and Director of Apologetics, Christian Heritage, Cambridge) gave plenary talks on the following topics:

Through this event, we started a discussion about the purpose of the university, and the role Christians can play in it.

Join the Conversation

Between our conferences we invite you to write your own reflections on the relationship between Christianity and the modern university. 

On the state of the modern university:

  • What might we affirm? (150 words)
  • What do we critique? (150 words)
  • What can we suggest? (150 words)


  • Draw on your own discipline or context, but keep it accessible to non-specialists.
  • Draw on a particular conversation or literature in your field.

Please provide your entries here.

We’ll publish a selection of the most thought-provoking posts – anonymously or otherwise, as you prefer. We aim to interview one or two contributors at our next conference, and when you register you’ll receive access to all the contributions.

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