Southern Baptists Fail To Defend The Faith
The January-February 1983 issue of The Humanist magazine contained this statement by humanist John Dunphy:
“I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers that correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and new — the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with the promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of ‘love thy neighbor’ will finally be achieved.”
Now, to be sure, this is a more explicit than usual, in-your-face statement by an enemy of Christianity. But it does, I believe, accurately say what the “culture war” is about in our government-run schools.
In their recent meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Southern Baptist Convention had a golden opportunity to fight back in defense of the Christian faith in the educational arena. They could have walked the Christian talk concerning their children. Instead, they ran up the white flag of surrender.
In Ephesians 6:4 God commands fathers to bring their children up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The great Puritan Bible commentator Matthew Henry says this means that children — a gift from God, incidentally, according to Scripture — must be raised “in the knowledge of that duty which God requires of them and by which they may become better acquainted with Him... It is the great duty of parents to be careful in the education of their children... Instruct them to fear sinning; and inform them of, and excite them to, the whole of their duty towards God.” John Wesley said Ephesians 6:4 means children must be brought up “both in Christian knowledge and practice.”
So, in line with Ephesians 6:4 and similar Scriptures, retired Air Force General T.C. Pinckney of Alexandria, Virginia, a former Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention, introduced a proposal at the recent Southern Baptist Convention that urged parents to withdraw their children from the “officially Godless” government-run, so-called public schools. As a substitute, he called on parents to put their children in Christian schools or homeschool them.
The Pinckney proposal was rejected. Instead, a resolutions committee wrote what Associated Press writer Richard N. Ostling called “a blander, broader warning against America’s drift towards secularism.” Ironically, this toothless, mushy , “blander, broader warning” is itself an example of the “drift towards secularism” it denounced.
In a report on ABC’s “World News Tonight” (6/15/04), Pastor Bobby Welch, the new President-elect of the Southern Baptist Convention, was shown saying: “This is the ideal time for Christians to be on the front lines, living the life and standing for what they believe in.” But, as one of those opposing Pinckney’s plan, Welch has demonstrated that he does NOT stand for what Southern Baptists believe in which includes, among other things, the Word of God which contains the previously mentioned command in Ephesians 6:4.
In this same ABC report, Welch said, explaining why he was against pulling children out of the government-run schools: “The public school system is the greatest mission field that we have in North America.”
Well, now. What’s wrong with this statement? Everything. For openers, it is about as flawed an analogy as one can imagine. On the mission field, Christians are in charge. On the mission field, Christians preach to and teach Christianity. On the mission field, Christians teach from the Bible.
In the government-run Schools, However, Things are Exactly the reverse. In the government-run schools Christians, as Christians, are not in charge. In the government-run schools, Christians are not allowed to preach and teach Christianity from the Bible.
True, many, probably most, government-run school teachers claim to be some kind of Christian — as do most of the students they teach. But, these Christian Teachers are forbidden to teach christianity to these christian students or any other students.
Another opponent of the Pinckney proposal is Pat Robertson who said on his 700 Club TV show (6/17/04): “Well, this is the kind of thing that will be ridiculed by the media and will make the Southern Baptists look silly....yeah, the [public] schools are bad....[they aren’t] completely lost but they have been agents of those that are pushing the anti-Christian line in America.” He added that a boycott of the government-run schools wouldn’t make the Southern Baptists “look very good” and this plan is “strategically not very important.”
But, when did we as Christians care about what the media thinks since most of those in the media are, according to numerous surveys, secular unbelievers? In fact, it’s a solid rule of thumb, for Christians, that whatever the media ridicules can’t be all bad and is most likely good!
How can Robertson readily admit that the government-run schools are “bad,” are agents of those who are “anti-Christian,” but say we should not withdraw our children from such schools? This makes no sense whatsoever — unless you’re in favor of spiritual child-abuse.
As for Christians boycotting the “bad,” “anti-Christian” government-run schools not making us “look very good,” what, exactly, does this mean? Not “look very good” to whom? From whom is Robertson running scared here? Would withdrawing our children from these wretched, government-run, “officially Godless” schools, make us look “silly” or not “very good” to God? I think not.
Finally, Robertson is wrong that the Pinckney plan was “strategically not very important.” If this plan had passed, and was obeyed, and millions of Southern Baptists withdrew their children from the government-run schools, this would have a huge, tremendous impact with far-reaching ramifications — the first and most important of which would be the glorification of God Almighty because we would be obeying Him.
Half of the members of the resolutions committee that voted down the Pinckney proposal homeschool their children.