Does the student body believe we regard our own opinions with more weight than scripture? 

After more than 15 years of speaking at chapel, Francis Chan addressed Azusa Pacific students for the final time on Oct. 21. Chan called out the current cohort of students at APU, saying that today’s students regard their own opinions higher than the Scripture of the Bible. 

Opinions were mixed in regards to Chan’s message. Some agreed with certain parts of his argument, while others expressed that it was either too specific or too general. 

Ivy Lu, a junior communication studies major, said Chan exaggerated when he said that all APU students regard their opinions higher than the Bible. Lu said she knows students at APU who value scripture more than their own opinions, although in her eyes, it is not the majority of APU students.

Brandon Jackson, a junior public relations major, believes humans are naturally selfish. He said people have the tendency of upholding their own opinions because it is the most comfortable thing for them to do. He agreed with what Chan had to say, and said our sins hold us back and we uphold our desires over God’s commands. 

Justin Smith, Ph.D, a professor in the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies, said Chan’s argument was interesting. He said it isn’t really unique to APU, but he agrees that there is an eroding of trust in traditional voices of authority in Scripture. 

He thinks it’s bigger than an APU problem, and instead pointed to the idea that students may not be reading Scripture in the same way as they may have 20 years ago. 

“Sometimes Scripture shapes culture, and sometimes culture shapes how we read Scripture. It works in both ways,” Smith said. 

Smith partially agreed with Chan’s statement. He attributed the changes in how the Bible is interpreted to cultural changes over the years. 

While Chan’s message inspired some, it confused others and was directed towards APU students, instead of being directed at society as a whole.