University of Destruction by David Wheaton is a four year old book about being a true witness to Christ during college. He has many good spiritual points including a particularly useful three part section towards the outlining what is necessary to keep one’s faith in college. These “Game Plan Fundamentals” include decent instruction on the interactions with God, peers, and authorities. Unfortunately, this book was not what it could have been. Wheaton is often patronizing in his delivery and it is difficult to believe that his theories would aid very many people in returning to Christ before heading to College.
Besides his condescending writing style, he encourages the believer to keep non-believers simply as acquaintances. He actually tells us that we should not have active communication with unbelievers more than a few times a month lest we fall into their sin. While I agree that the biggest influence in our life should not be an enemy of God, we should be more than an acquaintance to them. If believers are involved in small groups, the local Church, and a fight club (groups of three believers that encourage each other daily) they may be able to be good friends with non-believers meanwhile maintaining their faith.
When you became a Possesor (a true believer), God forgave every one of your sins—past, present, and future. Therefore, you don’t have to ask forgiveness when you sin; rather, confess your sin and claim the forgiveness He has already given you at the point of your salvation. (pg. 147)
Now would have been a good time to talk about what true repentance is, but no such definition can be found. There is a brief reference to it near the end of the book, but other than that, he only encourages confession- which is only half the work. I think it was Luther who said, “The life of a Christian is one of daily repentance”. If you are going to teach about being a true believer, why leave repentance out?
Finally, Wheaton explains salvation but his audience is those who profess belief while living sinful lives. His solution? Offer the sinner’s prayer- the very thing that put these people in the spot they are in now. After having the reader pray this prayer, he excitedly confirms that, if they meant it, then they are now saved. I am sure this is not the first time this audience has heard this. Besides this potentially false hope, the motivation for most of his advice is moralism rather than the Gospel. As a (better) book about how to stay Christian in college has been written, this could be: “How to stay morally religious in college”.
Ultimately I would not suggest this book to Christian students going into college. As I said, he has some decent points about how to keep faith in Christ, but the not so good outweighs the good here, and for a good book about retaining one’s faith, I would stick with How to Stay Christian in College by J. Budziszewski.