If They Come, What Will They Find?

What will they findThis past week was one for the history books.  Who would have every thought that the POTUS would give a directive for all public schools to allow “transgender” people to use whatever restroom or locker room that they want to regardless of their biological gender?  To make matters worse, he threatened schools with loss of federal monies if they refused or ignored his “counsel.”

There were other things that I witnessed last week that literally blew my mind.  Earlier in the week I saw a tweet and read an article in the Baptist Press announcing that Kevin Ezell and Thom Rainer, presidents of the North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources respectively, had established a disciple-making task force.  This task force was charged with suggesting a “transferrable process that any church can use in any context…leading people to the Gospel and then putting them on a pathway toward spiritual growth and maturity.”  I messaged these two leaders challenging the task force to have the courage to address the issue of education biblically.  Without doing this, the result will probably be more programs that will only put bandaids on broken bones.

Then there was the article by Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University.  In this article, Dr. McHugh made the true and not politically correct statement, transgendered men don’t become women, they become ‘feminized men,’ impersonators.  This report was even a big topic on the Rush Limbaugh show.  The next day, President Obama dropped his bombshell.

Boy, did social media light up as did talk and news shows across the country.  One pastor tweeted, So if a physiological male (identifying as a female) showers in the girls locker room and the girls complain, they would be bigots?  For the first time I saw church and school leaders both making some very bold statements related to the education of our children.  Consider the following tweets.

Here’s a radical thought – God never intended the government to educate our children.  Dr. Jack Graham, pastor Prestonwood Baptist Church

Parents put your child in a solid Christian school.  Dr. Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church Jacksonville

Dear all private school administrators…now would be the time to increase your marketing outreach.  This is called “a softball.”  John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center

A school bathroom is not the most unsafe place…it is a classroom with a non-Christian teacher & a secular curriculum 8+ hrs/day x 13 yrs.  Dr. Larry Taylor, Headmaster Prestonwood Christian Academy

The thought went racing through my mind, Could this be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back?  Will Christians now understand the importance of following God’s instructions and give their children a biblical worldview education?  Will parents and church leaders come to Christian schools and partner with them to provide their children with a Christian education?  Thus, the title of this post.

If they come, what will they find?

Will They Come?

This question can’t be answered right now.  Who knows when Christians will say enough is enough and take action as to how their children are going to be educated.  However, there is no question in my mind that God is warning all of us that secular education has been discipling our children and the results are now being clearly seen.

We can only pray that an awakening to the disastrous consequences of a secular education will sweep through our homes and churches.  God is the only One who can cause something like this to happen.  However, we do need to give careful attention to the second part of that statement.

What Will They Find?

I became very burdened when I contemplated this question.  If parents were to flock to Christian schools for help, what would they find when they arrived at most Christian schools?

  • Would they merely find a “safer” place for their children to attend school –  a school where the bathrooms and locker roowhat will they find 2ms are clearly marked “men” and “women” and only those of that sex can use them?
  • Would they find that their children would receive a “sanitized & Christianized” academic program where their children would study the same secular textbooks and learn the same information that they were studying in the public school?
  • Would they find that the teachers are all Christians who have a love for the Lord and their students but had no training on how to develop a biblical worldview and, therefore, taught the subject matter as if it were neutral, observable facts?
  • Would they find that the school stressed “academic excellence” and their students scored higher on standardized tests than their public school counterparts but there was little evidence of practical integration of their faith with their lessons?
  • Would they find athletic programs that were characterized by “elite” teams that were winning state championships and even playing on national television on the Lord’s Day but did not demonstrate Christlike character development as the ultimate end to their efforts?
  • Would they find that these schools offered the same courses that were offered in the public schools but were promised that if their students came there, they would have a better chance of getting accepted at “good” secular universities?
  • Would they find schools that protect students from false worldviews/ideas merely in an effort to try and shelter them from the real world?

Unfortunately, this is what parents would find if they came to many Christian schools around the country.  I am reminded of an article that Joel Belz wrote back in 1993 for World Magazine titled, Too Little Too Late.  Belz summarized his concerns for Christian schools this way.

In summary: Christian schools will be found overall to have done a very good job in terms of general education, but will be disappointed in terms of instilling a profound sense of Christian discipleship.   On basic skill tests, SAT scores, and other standardized measurements, Christian school graduates will increasingly outperform their counterparts from public education.  But in terms of radical adoption of a Christian perspective on life, the differences – while definitely present – will be disappointing.  Why?

The answer is that where Christian schools are weak, they are weak because they have done little more than produce upgraded carbon copies of the public schools they seek to replace.  Instead of radically re-thinking their educational task, Christians too often set their goals miserably low. “We can do better what they are doing poorly,” they seem to say.

The future need not be so bleak.  God gives great gifts to his children when they ask for wisdom…such people will be pioneers, not imitators.  They will be bold folks who care more for real learning and the formation of godly character than for issues like certification and accreditation.  They’ll throw caution to the winds as they challenge the shibboleths of educational tradition.

Don’t doubt for a minute that it’s going to happen.  Education will change dramatically before another generation has passed.  What’s far less certain is whether Christians will be in the vanguard of that change or once more show up with too little, too late.

For years I have dreamed of a time when parents and church leaders would wake up to the reality of the destructive nature of a secular education.  As the line of demarcation between a secular and a biblical education became clearer and clearer, we would find parents sacrificing everything to make sure their children would be educated to think and act from a biblical worldview mentality.  If we are at that breaking point or closer to it than ever before, we need to make sure that if parents were to come to our schools, they would find life shaping education taking place from a distinctively biblical perspective.

It is time to make certain that our teachers develop a strong biblical worldview.  We must also guide them to know, understand and be fully committed to a biblical philosophy of education.  Finally, our schools need to be operating for the ultimate purpose for students to know God personally, understand His attributes from studying His creation (Romans 1:20), and be driven to do everything to their fullest potential all for God’s glory.  If they come, they need to find what John Piper describes as the real difference in a Christian education.

The real alternative [to secular education] is a faculty made up of great Christian thinkers who are great lovers of God with profound allegiance to the truth of God’s Word and razor sharp discernment of all the subtle idols of our age.

Our problem is that so few people have ever tasted great Christian education or seen great Christian thinking going on from a profoundly God-centered perspective in an atmosphere where students can feel that the faculty would gladly die for Jesus.

We are living in troubling times.  However, I believe today’s moral depravity provides Christian educators with one of the greatest opportunities for kingdom influence than we have ever had before in my life time.  I close with a statement that Dr. Albert Mohler made to a large group of Christian educators several years ago.  He said,

The Christian school cannot be the public school dressed for church; it is the church armed for intellectual  and spiritual battle.

 Family - crossWe cannot wait until they come to be what God expects us to be as Christian schools.  We must prepare now so that WHEN they come, they will find schools prepared to help parents know and understand their God-given responsibilities about educating their children.  They will find us prepared to provide them with the support they need to carry out this all important task.  They will find schools that not only protect their students from false worldviews/ideas but more importantly do so in an effort to prepare them for spiritual warfare, equipped to be salt and light.  They will find schools committed to training up the next generation of world changers for God’s glory.  They will find schools that glorify God by doing everything they do in such a way that His character is REVEALED and His praise is INCREASED.

Are you ready for when they come?  Let me know your thoughts.

Glen Schultz

Author Glen Schultz

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Join the discussion 13 Comments

  • Renee McLamb says:

    Thank you Mr. Schultz! This is the deepest cry of my heart for the school I lead! At times it is so overwhelming and the burden heavy…I pray the Lord finds me faithful and worthy of His calling!!

    • Glen Schultz says:

      With God’s help and guidance I pray that you will continue fighting the battle with courage and conviction. Thanks for your comment.

  • Marc Stout says:

    Well done! Well done indeed!! Thank you so much for your investment of time into Kingdom educators. You are a great blessing to all who know you and have the opportunity to read your weekly article.

  • Thank you, Glen, for speaking out so frankly and openly. On the matter of bathroom and shower room use, I am concerned that the strong arm of the State will not stop at public schools. If things keep going the way they are going, it is possible there will be no Christian schools (with bathrooms) left for students to come to. (I am quite serious.) We may be looking for alternatives we never dreamed of. We are living increasingly in Babylon. Raising families, planting gardens and doing business in a “foreign land” we never thought we would see during our lifetime is the reality we are all now facing. God used foreign armies in ancient times to wake up Israel when she went astray, and it appears God may be using “foreign armies” right at home to wake up the people of God. But will we wake up? I don’t know. Maybe this transgender issue will be the spark we have needed to get a real fire going. But we need leaders like yourself who can articulate a way forward. We need “prophets” and “judges” to sound the alarm and to provide leadership, as you are doing. Where are the “great Christian thinkers” John Piper speaks of? Which “Christian” universities with teacher training programs are producing the kind of school teachers we really need? How many of them have courses that train new teachers to “think Christianly” and “teach Christianly?” Most of them cater entirely to public school teacher preparation, and they don’t even have electives for teachers to be trained who want to go into Christian education. We have had a serious problem at the level of Christian school teacher training for many years. But universities don’t change quickly. And this brings up another big question: Will there be any Christian universities around (with bathrooms) for Christian school teachers in the future?

    • Glen Schultz says:

      Christian, you have, once again, extended my thoughts to a deeper level. It is true that this message must get into our Christian universities and colleges. Glad to be in the battle with you, my brother.

  • Glen,
    Thank you for writing a thought provoking essay. I’m not sure that the “bathroom” issue will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but it could be. This “bathroom” issue is just one of the many natural consequences of a fallen philosophy of life. When there is no God, no moral absolutes, and no over-arching “truth” left in a society, these are the kinds of results that we will see in increasing numbers. We are living out the days that Francis Schaeffer talked about so often.

    The Christian school is at risk. I’m concerned about the number of teachers we have in our schools who are Christians but don’t understand what it is to be a Christian teacher. I’m concerned that we have to spend so much time teaching teachers about a Christian world and life perspective. A Christian teacher, out of his/her love for the Lord and His Word, teaches English, Math, Science, History, and the host of other subjects from a unique perspective. We teach from the lens of the Word of God.

    One more thought…..we speak often of Biblical Integration in our Christian schools….and we should. Sometimes, though, I fear that we have bought into a dichotomy that somehow separates subject matter into sacred and secular. As if History is a secular subject and somehow I have to make it sacred by bringing God’s word into it. Science certainly must be redeemed by bringing God’s word into it, right? I heard or read a statement that I really appreciated a couple years ago. I don’t remember the source or I would acknowledge it. Here’s the quote, “Faith integration is not two things, teaching and learning on one hand and faith on the other, but one whole thing, teaching and learning as an act and expression of faith.” All this to say, a Christian teacher teaches differently. The Christian teacher teaches from the richness of God’s perspective, teaching his subject matter from his unique position as the Master of the Universe, the Master Designer, the Creator of the World, the One who wrote history, and the One who is the central focus of every subject discipline. It’s this kind of teaching that is transformational.

    Whether or not we see a “flight” from public education, Christian schools should be distinct sanctuaries of Biblical truth, transformed thinking, educational excellence, and lives that are discipled according to the principles of God’s word. May our best days still be ahead!

    David Holtzhouse
    ACSI Florida Regional Director

    • Glen Schultz says:

      You are right. We cannot divide any subject matter into the secular or the sacred. Every piece of knowledge is part of God’s creation and as we study it, we should understand who He is in a fuller way. Thanks for being part of the conversation.

  • Jim Vaught says:

    It has been apparent for several years that a primary attack on Christianity is “the lack of tolerance.” Any thoughtful conviction is seen as lack of compassion. Glen’s well stated summary of the fact that just being better at what secular education attempts to do is not enough to prove our worth or even why we exist. Biblical convictions are the natural outcome of “thinking Christianly” through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are not in this alone. Are we attempting to address the challenges we face in His strength rather than in our own devices to counter the world’s approach? Are we only seeking to “beat them at their own game” to somehow prove that we are worth the sacrifice of parents to have children in our schools? Winning state championships, having the highest SAT scores, being accepted to the best schools, receiving the highest amount of scholarship offers, etc. has not and will not be the proof of our worth.

    We seem to be increasingly faced with a choice, actually forced to make a choice. Will we allow the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be all they promise to be as we face an increasingly hostile culture and world? Before we can impact young people with the reality of a biblical approach to life so that grades, vocations, behaviors, passions, character have eternal meaning, we have to be able to “live it” before them. That is one of the single most powerful components of Christian education. Life is home, school and Church demonstrating the power of living as part of the Kingdom of the One who has already won the victory and has invited “all who will” to participate in the unraveling of what remains of the history of mankind. It is not without struggle, challenges, and failures. However, it does allow children to experience adults living Christianly in the midst of success and failure. The Gospel at work!

    God is the one who gives us the clarity we need for convictions and the power to live by them in obedience rather than trying to simply validate our value through scorecards from a failed system. Increasingly, we are being “forced” to respond and take a stand for what we believe. Maybe part of the reason has been our inability to mount a satisfactory defense up to this point. God is going to keep His Story moving forward. If we as parents and educators want to be a part of the solution, we have to first accept the power of the King of Kings. Are we modeling dependence on Him or are we teaching young people to simply operate in their own intellect, schemes and strength as they attempt to live by convictions?

    We once talked about how the next few years would tell how well Christian education was preparing students to live Christianly. Now, with increasing uncertainty, we talk about the next few months, weeks, days, hours and minutes. Will we be found faithful? Do we really care enough to allow God to be God? Or, have we been so influenced by the culture that without realizing it we have allowed ourselves to model what Francis Schaffer predicted, the willingness to compromise our convictions in an attempt to retain “personal peace and affluence”, however we define them for ourselves, our homes. our churches, our schools?

    Thanks Glen! As usual you have challenged my “status quo” by hitting the nail with my head!

  • Glen Schultz says:

    Appreciate your thoughtful comments, Jim. We all need to have our status quo challenged before it is too late. Keep up the good work.

  • Mark Kennedy says:

    Absolutely right! Christian education ‘light’ will only turns us into distorted copies of 1950s public schools. And ultimately our Christian community will end up back where we are now only worse.

  • Tom Hudson says:

    Dr. Schultz, I’ve heard you in person and have much respect for you and what you are doing for Christian education. This article could not be more true. We either have Christian schools in our country that are just “glorified private schools” and we have Christian schools that are just an extension of Sunday school. We need to have a balance of both academic and spiritual excellence. A problem that you do not mention is that even though the school may be doing everything within it’s power to do those things that you mention in your article, but the students at that school have many of the same qualities of many students in public and private schools. They are just not themselves when they are in front of the adults at school.

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