“Whoever controls the children owns the future.” So says Bruce Shortt, an attorney who five years ago tried in vain to get Southern Baptists to advocate removing children from government schools. None of Shortt’s proposed resolutions even made it past the resolutions committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. But, now it appears Shortt’s time has come.
With the annual convention just a week away, Shortt has gained a powerful ally – Morris Chapman, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. Chapman recently wrote that “(i)n far too many public schools . . . our children are being bombarded with secular reasoning, situational ethics, and moral erosion.” As a result, Chapman is advocating massive expansion of Christian secondary and elementary schools. At the very least, Chapman would like Southern Baptists to put at least one Christian school in each of its 12-hundred local associations.
As a mother of three school-aged children, this story caught my attention. My husband and I have spent many hours praying, researching and discussing educational options for our kids. We’ve homeschooled and we’ve used public schools. Next year, one of our children will be attending a Christian school.
So far, our experience has led us to conclude that public schools are hostile environments for children of faith. Though some children can withstand the intellectual assault the schools deliver, many cannot. And even the strongest of children do not survive public schools with a biblical worldview intact without the constant engagement of their parents.
Pastor and author Dr.Voddie Baucham recently noted that from kindergarten to 12th grade, children spend 14-thousand hours in school. “Whoever controls those 14-thousand hours,” he purported, “controls our children’s worldview.” Charles Potter, a signer of the Humanist Manifesto believed this. He said, “Education is . . . a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school’s meeting for an hour once a week . . . do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?”
Today, 75 to 80-percent of Christian kids attend government schools. Is it any wonder, then, that George Barna reports only 9-percent of all evangelical teens have a biblical worldview?
Four years ago, Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary urged his fellow Baptists to develop an exit strategy from the public schools. He admitted his suggestion was probably ahead of its time, but predicted most Baptists eventually would reach the same conclusion.
I think the time has come for all Bible-believing, Christ-honoring churches to consider Mohler’s and Shortt’s suggestions. Certainly the primary responsibility for raising children resides with parents. But the church needs to support parents and help them to find better options for their children’s education – whether that’s homeschooling, Christian school, or innovative coops. We simply cannot keep losing our children and expect God’s kingdom to advance.