There are few people on campus who can explain as clearly as Harry Walls why The Master’s University is one of the few schools in the country to require a statement of faith in Jesus Christ and a pastor’s recommendation for admission.
So, we asked him.
“Fundamentally, our ministry at TMU is disciple-making,” says Walls, who has been campus pastor at Master’s since 2015. “We deal with Christians because they’re new creations, and we partner with the Spirit of God to promote the work of God. And what we do with students is predicated on that, right?
“You preach the Bible, it’s not falling on deaf ears — it’s transformational. You call them to Christ-like living because the assumption is they want to live for Christ, their appetites have changed, their desires have changed. Otherwise, you’re trying to cause somebody to live alien to who they are, which is frustrating for them and futile for us.”
Ultimately, Master’s aims to train students to know and live for God so that other people see Him. Namely, the school wants everything that takes place in chapel, in the classroom and on the athletic field to prepare young people to be God glorifiers, gospel ambassadors and kingdom influencers, ready to excel in their chosen vocation and serve effectively in the local church.
“What happens at Master’s is people get trained in the truth,” Walls says.
At this point, Walls, who played football at Brown University, couldn’t help but slip into a sports analogy.
“If you knowingly admit non-Christians, it’s like recruiting athletes who can’t play the game,” he says. “They don’t have the asset pool. We’re not mad at them. They just don’t have what they need to be successful in the training process they will enter into here.”
Walls said that an applicant’s testimony is essential because it bears witness to a transformed life. The pastor’s recommendation is meant to validate that — “to the degree that we can.”
One reason the pastor’s recommendation is so important is that TMU is trying to foster a community that will support biblical convictions, “not threaten them by bad influences.”
“You could have a person who professes Christ, but lives like the devil on a holiday in real life,” Walls says. “And you bring them in here because they’ve made a profession of faith. But they have no validating fruit and evidence. It’s the ‘You call me, Lord, Lord, and don’t do the things that I say.’ There needs to be evidence of the new birth. And if there’s not, that’s not healthy for them. And it’s not healthy for the community that we’re aspiring to put together.”
Of course, not everyone who signs a statement of faith and receives a pastor’s stamp of approval has been born again. “Profession does not equal possession,” Walls says. But when non-believers “happen to be here, they’re exposed to the truth. We’re not throwing them away. We’re praying for them. We’re investing in them. And we’re trusting the Lord to do a work in them.”
To be sure, Walls said, Master’s is not looking for perfection.
“We’re dealing with all levels of maturity,” he says. “And even people who come in here who know a lot and served in their youth group get saved here.”
To apply to The Master’s University, click here.