I found the most helpful paragraph of Justin Taylor's recent interview with David Dockery to the be the following:
"One of the reasons that Southern Baptists now need to ask the hard
questions about a regenerate church membership–a historic and
foundational Baptist tenet–is that people have confused the Christian
faith for substitutes. The Christian faith is not mere moralism; it is
not faith in faith, some subjective amorphous feeling, nor is it some
kind of a self-help theory. The Christian faith is the manifestation of
God's truth revealed in His Son and made known to us today in His Word."
It resonates deeply with me as a Reformed Presbyterian not so much because of an awareness of scores or hundreds of church members in the pews who are unregenerate so much as a dynamic that IS plainly obvious on many denominationally-affiliated colleges, namely the fact that too many faculty members hold a reductionistic perspective of the historical Christian faith. For too many faculty and staff, faith in Christ is vernacular that "isn't comfortable," "it's too exclusive and narrow." So "faith in faith," even though they don't say it this way, is really a popular solution to that doctrinal narrowness that just doesn't fit the current and widely held campus doctrine of academic freedom. This allows for "faith-talk" on campus in ways that don't offend, but that still might be attractive to students and parents whose faith is actually in Christ and who assume that their denomination's college will help them (or son or daughter) to understand the world better because of the faith-learning integration that most assuredly will take place.
Compared to Big State U, faith-talk of even a vanilla sort often brings a sigh of relief to those campus visitors who want a Christian college education, but who don't yet have the intellectual categories for faith & learning to know the right questions to ask admissions folks and faculty while taking their campus tour or when sitting in that appointment with the history professor. What stands out as something of an oddity (although not an historical oddity, as James Burtchaell has ably shown) is that the Protestant colleges that tend to have the most difficulty with mission and identity integrity and delivery are the denominationally-affiliated ones. The interdenominational institutions appear to have their act together better on this. To be fair, a number of denominationally owned or affiliated institutions HAVE gotten this right, and gotten it right in a major way. But many still languish. And to those who wonder "how big a deal is this really?"–just ask the students themselves.