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The purpose of Columbia International University is grounded in its historic roots and core values, especially The Authority of Scripture, Victorious Christian Living and World Evangelization. CIU's first president, Robert C. McQuilkin put it this way when describing the two-fold message upon which CIU was founded is:
“Victorious living in Christ is gloriously possible to yielded, trusting hearts; And the gospel must be taken to the ends of the earth before Christ shall return.”
Under the leadership of current CIU President Bill Jones, the purpose is summarized this way:
CIU educates people from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ.
But practically speaking, what does that look like at a Christian institute of higher education?
Again, we look to President R.C. McQuilkin who wrote:
"Neither a Bible institute nor a liberal arts college, (CIU) offers a curriculum with the spiritual advantages of the former, cultural advantages of the latter."
In other words, what our first president was describing is a biblical university.”
As a biblical university we are expanding the liberal arts programs in the undergraduate school, while strengthening our Bible and ministry programs. But to produce the same high impact graduates of the past requires different methods for the future. That's because the world has shifted radically in the last 60 years. Here at home, the United States is no longer a Christian nation, but a post-Christian nation. Meanwhile, overseas, typical missionaries are often not wanted in the least-reached parts of the world. However, unreached cultures aggressively recruit those professionals who can help develop their societies.
So to meet the challenges both in the United States and abroad, CIU is producing “professional ministers” such as pastors, but also "ministering professionals." Those are graduates who are able to enter closed countries because of their professional training, but able to evangelize the country because of their Bible training.
Here at home, our graduates enter the marketplace to be salt and light in their chosen professions. Only as we produce more "professional ministers" AND "ministering professionals" will we impact the nations with the message of Christ.