What is the primary purpose, or highest end, of a university education? The much lauded "liberal" approach of Aristotle, John Henry Cardinal Newman, and Mark William Roche proposes that education is for contemplating the truth--an intrinsic, joyous end in itself that ministers to nothing else. This approach to higher education offers the benefits of pursuing truth, virtues, and intellectual habits, but it also carries with it the temptation to elevate the contemplation of ideas above all else. Christian universities can reform the approach to education using Luther's theology of the cross. By viewing education through the crucified Christ, the purpose and practice of higher education can be reoriented to the highest end of life revealed in God's word: faith in God and love for the neighbor.
The Rev. Dr. Scott Ashmon is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew and Director of Concordia's Core Curriculum.
The Trembath Chair and Endowment: Christ College and Concordia University Irvine gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Harry and Caroline Trembath Endowment of the Professorship in Confessional Theology. The endowment enables senior theology professors to have time for more in-depth research, study, and writing. This new knowledge and perspective is then passed on to our students, society and the church.