Lux in Tenebris: How God Is Moving on Secular Campuses

I have been reminded of late that God is on the move at the American university

“I read Adira’s testimony with lightning running down my back. At my alma mater, a college I warmly remember, God is at work. Through diverse means, including the heroic efforts of Rob Gregory and the McKeen Study Center, he’s moving. I can scarcely say how encouraging this is.”


It is not uncommon for evangelicals today to lament that the college campus is secularizing. This is not a silly conclusion, considering the drift of modern elite culture. There is much to be troubled by.

But I have been reminded of late that God is on the move at the American university. Some folks will recall that two years ago, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group at Bowdoin, Bowdoin Christian Fellowship, was officially removed as a campus group (I was involved with BCF for all four of my years at Bowdoin, 1999-2003). The reason? BCF required student leaders to hold and practice biblical sexual ethics. This is not a strange position in American culture; your average monotheist has historically held such a view, and there are literally billions of people in a range of religions who hold a form of this position today. In fact, it is quite likely that there are far more people who hold to the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic in the world than hold to the Secularist-Pagan sexual ethic (such as it is).

But that is no matter; biblical sexual ethics must go. So BCF went. It was all sad and troubling. The New York Times covered the whole affair, and covered it with considerable fairness and insight. For some, the story ended there. But the story went on. Just recently, the Bowdoin Orient featured one of the most surprising pieces you’ll read in a 21-first century campus newspaper. “Coming Out Christian” tells the story of one Bowdoin student, a young woman named Adira Polite (class of ’18). Adira was formerly involved in LGBT advocacy at Bowdoin (her LinkedIn page lists affiliation with the Bowdoin Queer-Straight Alliance as “Co-Chair & Advocacy Outreach Liaison”), but she encountered the Christian film War Room and was transfixed by it: “[A]bout halfway through the film, I was overcome with unexplainable awe,” she writes. “Within days, I had repressed the movie’s message; fortunately, the film had already planted a seed of faith within me.”

God was at work. I’m reminded of the Latin phrase lux in tenebris–“light in darkness.” Here is what happened not long after, just a few months ago:

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