This 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 rooms 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.
We 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.