Almost every Christian college has a denomination affiliated with its educational program. In fact, there is a Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that has 121 member colleges or universities within its organization. While there is wide range of affiliations among Christian colleges, the following five denominations are the most widely represented.
1. Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is the world’s largest Baptist denomination. Second only to the Catholic church in Christian membership in the USA, the SBC holds that the Bible is the final authority and each person is accountable to God. Some of the colleges and universities affiliated with the SBC include California Baptist University (CA), Campbellsville University (KY), East Texas Baptist University (TX), Hannibal-LaGrange University (MO), Louisiana College (LA) and Mississippi College (MS).
2. Free Methodist Church
The Free Methodist Church is part of the Methodist Christian belief and an evangelical Protestant denomination. With its heritage founded in the Methodist revival from England in the 1700s, the Free Methodist church was founded in 1860 in New York. This denomination teaches “Entire Sanctification” where the believer is cleansed from sin by the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The Free Methodist Church is affiliated with Azusa Pacific University (CA), Central Christian College (KS), Greenville College (IL), Roberts Wesleyan College (NY) and Spring Arbor University (MI).
3. Presbyterian Church USA
The Presbyterian Church USA is the largest Presbyterian denomination. Established in 1983 by merging with other Presbyterian churches in the US, this denomination is known for its progressive doctrine. The Presbyterian heritage comes from the teachings of John Calvin and the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century from Switzerland. Scottish and Irish immigrants brought Presbyterianism to America in the 17th century. Some colleges and universities affiliated with the Presbyterian church USA include College of the Ozarks (MO), King University (TN), Sterling College (KS) and Waynesburg University (PA).
4. Church of the Nazarene
The Church of the Nazarene is a Christian denomination that is the largest Wesleyan-Holiness denomination in the world. With its focus on evangelism, the Church of the Nazarene has a global mission to make disciples of all nations. The three core values claimed by the Church of the Nazarenes are “Christian, Holiness, Missional.” In its efforts to evangelize to the world, the Church of the Nazarene is affiliated with 53 educational institutions in 35 countries. In America, some of these colleges and universities are Eastern Nazarene College (MA), MidAmerica Nazarene University (KS), Mount Vernon Nazarene University (OH), Northwest Nazarene University (ID) and Southern Nazarene University (OK).
5. Wesleyan Church
Another denomination influenced by the teachings of John Wesley is the Wesleyan Church. With its world headquarters located in Indiana, the Wesleyan Church has churches all over the globe and around one million members worldwide. The core values that the Wesleyan Church upholds is Biblical authority, Christlikeness, disciple-making, local church-centered, servant leadership and unity in diversity. A few of the colleges and universities affiliated with the Wesleyan Church are Houghton College (NY), Indiana Wesleyan University (IN) and Southern Wesleyan University (SC).
When you are researching quality Christian education, it is smart to know the denomination that is affiliated with the Christian college or university. In this way, you can understand the core belief system supporting your education.