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Archives - January 2015

Clarifying the Essential Educational Priorities for Our Children: Part 2

January 29, 2015
By John Morrison

In my recent blog, I pointed out, in the context of so many young adult “evangelicals” who walk away from their faith, that we must be far more concerned about equipping our youth with a strong, thoughtful “truth foundation” than we are with getting them into a good college and lucrative career track.  Indeed, as Francis Schaeffer has observed: It is unreasonable to expect people of the next generation in any age to continue in the historic Christian position, unless they are helped to see where arguments and connotations brought against Christianity and against them by their generation are fallacious.  

Even though I often feel like I am preaching to the choir, I believe we cannot overemphasize the priority of a comprehensive, Christian education for our youth.  Again, quoting Schaeffer: The Holy Spirit can do what He will, but the Bible does not separate His work from knowledge; nor does the work of the Holy Spirit remove our responsibility as parents, pastors, evangelists, missionaries or teachers.  I believe the American church has been largely asleep at the wheel when it comes to this fundamental point.

Perhaps, though, a growing number of evangelical leaders are awakening to this vital issue.  Consider the following passage from Luis Bush’s excellent paper, “Raising Up a New Generation:”  

While universal primary and secondary (public) education may be considered a worthy goal, its ultimate effect is often negative.  Unless the teachers and those who run the schools are Christ followers, the worldview that is taught will not transform the minds of the [students] to be able to test and approve what God’s will is for them (Rom. 12:1-2).

Secular education does not enlighten; rather, it dims one’s grasp of the “real reality” acknowledged in the truth of Scripture.  It seeks to remove the notion that God exists or that we owe allegiance to a Creator.  Naturalistic worldviews and rationalism in secular education have conspired to predispose against the supernatural, even to despise it.  By forcing children to be taught in a curriculum that robs God of his rightful preeminence, such educational systems are sabotaging the blessing of Jesus who “came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”

These observations by both Schaeffer and Bush are not rocket science.  How can we expect children and even teens to discern all the nuances of various worldviews that often subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) undermine and erode the fundamentals of our Christian worldview?  

I would repeat: the highest priority in our children’s education must not be getting them into a good college or lucrative career track; rather, it must be in equipping them to stand for Christ in an increasingly secular culture!

Note: This blog format does not allow for footnotes.  Please contact me if you would like citations for the above quotes or other statistical information.  - John Morrison

If you would like to respond to this post, please email John Morrison at grace@gcswarriors.org.

Clarifying the Essential Educational Priorities for Our Children: Part 1

January 07, 2015
By John Morrison

In previous blogs, I have spent considerable effort in affirming through anecdotal and statistical evidence that our GCS graduates are receiving a quality education in all the fundamental academic disciplines and are well-prepared for college and other post-secondary pursuits.

But as important as academics may be, it nevertheless should not be the most important priority for parents in determining their children’s education.  Something of far greater consequence than getting into a premier college, landing a high paying job, and staking out a successful career path is at stake.

Let me put it into this context: a far too high percentage of young people raised in Christian homes will walk away from their association with Christianity after leaving home.  While some researchers place the figure around 50%, others place it even higher – in some cases as much as 60-75%.   Credible researchers, including Josh McDowell, LifeWay Research and Barna, all place the figure at this higher end of attrition.   

As these young people, most of whom have attended church and been active in youth group, hit the hostile, secular environment of college (where, according to one survey, 53% of college professors hold unfavorable views toward evangelicals), they are sadly unprepared to explain why they believe what they do about Christianity, much less defend it.  Their poorly constructed foundation crumbles under the onslaught of secular thought.

Of this alarming attrition rate among Christian young people, Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, observes: “There is no easy way to say it, but it must be said.  Parents and churches are not passing on a robust Christian faith and an accompanying commitment to the church.  We can take some solace in the fact that many do eventually return.  But Christian parents and churches need to ask the hard question, ‘What is it about our faith commitment that does not find root in the lives of our children?’”  

In part, this attrition among our young people is largely a result of their being unable to articulate the reasons why Christianity is true.  They have little reasoned understanding for the concept of absolute truth about God and the gospel, what the Apostle Paul called “words of sober truth and rationality” (Acts 26:25).  The result: they are swept away by the aggressive tide of secularism that mocks and attacks Christianity as purely a function of a blind, irrational leap of faith – something that is based on personal preference and feelings rather than the reasonable truth that should under-gird our faith.

So, what is the most important priority when it comes to our children’s education?  Are we more concerned about getting them into a premier college and career track, or about grounding them in the fundamentals of our faith?  As Stetzer and others are pointing out, the larger Christian community is missing a vital priority in terms of thoughtfully and systematically preparing our youth to live as Christian ambassadors in a secular culture.  And laying such a solid spiritual foundation will not happen merely once a week on Sunday mornings or in youth group.  It must come from a far more intense regimen of systematic teaching and relational role modeling.

I would like to follow-up on this topic in this new series of blogs.  Stay tuned!

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email John Morrison at grace@gcswarriors.org.

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