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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 8. June 13, 1957

What Should Christian Students Be Doing?

What Should Christian Students Be Doing?

"Salient" wrote recently to a number of well-known clergymen and asked them if they would let us know their answers to the above question.

Rev. Dr. Donald Soper, former President of the British Methodist Conference, hits replied as follows:

"It may sound dampening—even a little presumptuous—but the first duty of a Christian student is to study, so that when his College days are through he will not only be morally but intellectually fit to take his place for Christs sake in the society in which he lives.

"At the same time, student days offer an unparalleled opportunity of experiment and adventure in trying out and testing the Christian principies which underlie his various studies. In this respect, there is in my judgment one golden rule—and that is that truth cannot be divorced from action . . .

"We have to thank Karl Marx for recovering this truth from the neglect into which it had fallen . . This means that a Christianity which is not lived out in the context of contemporary life is not worth the name.

"To say that a Christian can be indifferent to, or detached from, politics, is balderdash. Moreover the sinister fact in my judgement and experience is that it is those who practise political apathy as a mark of their spiritual piety who are invariably supporters of right-wing and Tory points of view.

"Pacifism and Socialism, both of which I believe in, can only be expressed through a faith which is first concerned with the Kingdom of Heaven, and not the individual prospects of the souls of the converted. Furthermore. Christian truths need constantly to be sharpened and tested by the common life with which we are all confronted.

"If this is not forthcoming, then theology becomes more and more remote and almost totalitarian, while preoccupation with the next world renders those who express such theology less and less use in this one.

"So I would venture a short answer to the qcustion. 'W'hat should the Christian student be doing?' He should be seeking first the Kingdom of God as a classless non-violent worldwide society. He should be saying his prayers and coming to the Table of the Lord to be cleansed and equipped so that he may take his place in such a society.

"Finally, he should believe with all his heart that whatever is true will bring him nearer to God and therefore he must resolutely refuse to believe anything for the good of his soul which can be shown to be untrue."