‘Instead of creating policies that allow higher education to continue to operate as it always has, what we need is a set of reforms that will redirect higher education back to its intended purpose: educating students’
September 20, 2022
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Biden administration’s recent student loan forgiveness policy was met by the public with mixed reviews. While many Democrats have been pushing for loan forgiveness for years, many Republicans were outraged at the policy, arguing it puts an unnecessary burden on American taxpayers. But what should the Christian response be?
D. L. Moody Center (moodycenter.org) President Dr. James Spencer has worked in higher education for over 15 years and has a unique perspective on education and the issue of loan forgiveness. The D. L. Moody Center is proud to announce an upcoming online live forum with Dr. James Spencer on the topic of loan forgiveness. The event will take place on Wednesday, September 28 at 8:30 pm ET. Spencer will address what biblical frameworks might be relevant to the question of student loan forgiveness, how the higher education industry use state and federal aid, and what the root problem is in higher education that Christians — and politicians — should actually be addressing.
In his latest OPED, Spencer outlined the implications of loan forgiveness on a grander scheme, stating that Biden’s new policy is just a piece of the bigger problem in the American higher education system.
“Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working as a consultant with higher education institutions who worked hard to keep their costs low and to minimize student debt through disciplined financial management,” Spencer commented. “Other establishments have viewed federal aid as a ready source of cash and oriented their recruitment systems to leverage dollars intended to assist students, particularly low-income students, to build the institution’s revenues.
“Biden’s reforms alleviate a pain point rather than addressing the core problem of rising higher education costs. Rather than politicizing a measure intended to assist those hindered by student loan debt, Americans should view the Biden administration’s forgiveness of student loans as the climax of America’s higher education story. Whether or not you agree with the forgiveness of student loans is less crucial than recognizing that forgiving student loans highlights the deep brokenness of the higher education industry and demands broader reform.
“Student loan forgiveness reinforces the underlying dynamics of the higher education industry which is too often aimed as something other than student learning or shepherding the public funds that make higher education possible. Perhaps loan forgiveness is a necessary evil, but, in isolation, it is not a solution. Instead of creating policies that allow higher education to continue to operate as it always has, what we need is a set of reforms that will redirect higher education back to its intended purpose: educating students.”
Spencer continued, “As Christians, it is important for us to remember that Jesus taught us to make connections for an eternal, lasting purpose rather than a temporal, fragile one. We may be right to see loan forgiveness as a shrewd political tactic, but we must remember that such tactics are only of proximal and not ultimate importance. What we do as Christians looks beyond earthly political maneuvering. Whatever we may think or feel about loan forgiveness, we can’t lose sight of the fact that we aren’t primarily aiming at justice and fairness in this world, but at pointing others to Jesus.
“As Christians, we aren’t supposed to simply isolate ourselves from the world, yet we shouldn’t be acting like the world as we participate in the political system either. Christians are partisan, but our loyalties aren’t to the right or left. We campaign for Christ. As Christians interact with loan forgiveness, we would do well to do so with less ire and frustration and more respect and honor. To do so is in keeping with 1 Peter 2:11-12: ‘Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.’”
For more information about the upcoming online live forum with Dr. James Spencer about the Christian response to loan forgiveness, click here.
The D.L. Moody Center is an independent non-profit organization located in Northfield, Massachusetts. Dedicated to preserving and advancing the legacy of Dwight Moody, the D. L. Moody Center is a catalyst for spiritual formation in New England and beyond through evangelism and discipleship.
The D. L. Moody Center is not a school. Nevertheless, there is much to learn by studying D. L. Moody and what God accomplished through his life which began in New England, at the Northfield, Massachusetts campus, the heart of Moody’s ministry as well as his childhood home.