World War II had deprived me of a basic education. I immigrated to Canada and met with a serious and life-long injury that necessitated a further education. Only one such place was available in Canada where an adult could go and study to qualify for college or university. It was The Christian Training Institute (CTI) in Edmonton Alberta, founded and managed by E.P. Wahl. He was a phenomenal man and his vision has been lost to us.
E.P. Wahl saw what we would see fifty years later, the loss of our youth in our churches and in our nation. The High School department was only a small part of his larger vision to keep the young people active in our churches. CTI was a place where the youth could come during the six winter months, study the Bible and then return home and be local missionaries, teachers and leaders. One such young person invited me to their youth group and her church ended up sponsoring me for the ministry. In fact, it was my pastor in Toronto that urged me to go to CTI. E.P. Wahl knew that to have healthy churches we must provide leadership and pastors alone could not do it.
What has become of E.P. Wahl’s vision? Educators with big dreams began to compete and make CTI compatible with Colleges, Universities and Seminaries. In the process, the core of youth the churches needed to survive was by-passed and disqualified over academics. The fallacy that every one has to be a college grad to be of any use has cost us dearly. Most of the youth that had come to CTI were not interested in credentials but in a little Bible knowledge so they could help their churches back home.
E.P. Wahl had the vision and the gift and we failed to walk in his footprints. What he began doing for the youth, that was not academically inclined, is even more apparent in public life today? He instilled principles that could guide the youth for life. Most of our academic institutions offer little that can build character in our youth. Even religious institutions are not teaching the Biblical principles that guide us as individuals and as a nation. We lack convictions. I have a college degree and three post-graduate degrees from reputable religious institutions and none of them helped me form principle by which I live. I got them from non-academics. I recall that the students at CTI could put up a stronger argument for Christ than many of our religious and political leaders can. I am puzzled how some can be Christians without confessing Christ? I hope you too are puzzled. We have not just lost a vision; we are loosing our youth and with them our future.
This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. We, like Israel, have neglected to abide by this instruction: “These Commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and your gates” (Deut.6: 6-9). It has not even been a century that this nation has abandoned the Ten Commandments and we are already adrift.