In What is Faith?, Machen defended the intellectual nature of faith and needed to counter trends in American higher education. Sounds relevant.
The intellectual decadence of the day is not limited to the Church, or to the subject of religion, but appears in secular education as well. Sometimes it is assisted by absurd pedagogic theories, which, whatever their variety in detail, are alike in their depreciation of the labor of learning facts. Facts, in the sphere of education, are having a hard time. The old-fashioned notion of reading a book or hearing a lecture and simply storing up in the mind what the book or the lecture contains this is regarded as entirely out of date. A year or so ago I heard a noted educator give some advice to a company of college professors advice which was typical of the present tendency in education. It is a great mistake, he said in effect, to suppose that a college professor ought to teach; on the contrary he ought simply to give the students an opportunity to learn.
This pedagogic theory of following the line of least resistance in education and avoiding all drudgery and all hard work has been having its natural result; it has joined forces with the natural indolence of youth to produce in present-day education a very lamentable decline. . .
The undergraduate student of the present day is being told that he need not take notes on what he hears in class, that the exercise of the memory is a rather childish and mechanical thing, and that what he is really in college to do is to think for himself and to unify his world. He usually makes a poor business of unifying his world. And the reason is clear. He does not succeed in unifying his world for the simple reason that he has ho world to unify. He has not acquired a knowledge or a sufficient number of facts in order even to learn the method of putting facts together. He is being told to practise the business of mental digestion; but the trouble is that he has no food to digest. The modern student, contrary to what is often said, is really being starved for want of facts.
Certainly we are not discouraging originality. On the contrary we desire to encourage it in every possible way, and we believe that the encouragement of it will be of immense benefit to the spread of the Christian religion. The trouble with the university students of the present day, from the point of view of evangelical Christianity, is not that they are too original, but that they are not half original enough. They go on in the same routine way, following their leaders like a flock of sheep, repeating the same stock phrases with little knowledge of what they mean, swallowing whole whatever professors choose to give them and all the time imagining that they are bold, bad, independent, young men, merely because they abuse what everybody else is abusing, namely, the religion that is founded upon Christ. It is popular today to abuse that un-popular thing that is known as supernatural Christianity, but original it certainly is not. A true originality might bring some resistance to the current of the age, some willingness to be unpopular, and some independent scrutiny, at least, if not acceptance, of the claims of Christ. If there is one thing more than another which we believers in historic Christianity ought to encourage in the youth of our day it is independence of mind. (What is Faith?, 15, 16-17)