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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Southern Baptists and Public Schools

Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, urges Southern Baptists to prepare an exit strategy for taking their children out of public schools. Mohler described "Radical sex education programs, offensive curricula and class materials, school-based health clinics, and ideologies hostile to Christian truth and parental authority" as "atrocities." Joel Rainey, a Baptist blogger presented a thoughtful response to Mohler's article. Great job Joel!

I'd like to add a few more thoughts to Joel's response:
I live across the street from a public school. (My kids do go to public school, but they are "magnet schools" and thus not the average public school.) What if every Christian in the Baptist church one mile away, and the one three miles away, and the Methodist church 1/2 mile away, and the Presbyterian Church three blocks away decided to send their kids to the school across the street from me and become very active in the parent organizations? What if they prayed for the kids by name every day?

Could that make an impact? What if the non-Christian parents noticed that we loved them and sought to minister to them, wouldn't that make a difference? I think it would be huge!

Unfortunately, we don't care (don't mean to sound too judgmental) about the kids in that school. We just want to protect our kids. Sad, but true. If God is sovereign and our kids are well prepared by their Christian parents to know what their faith entails, wouldn't the primary responsibility of Christians in the community be to ensure that all of the children in their community have a chance at a good education? Leaving them in schools where atrocities occur (Oh, please Dr. Mohler!) wouldn't be very Christian would it?


At 8:19 PM, Blogger Joel Rainey said...

Hi Howie. I'm glad you enjoyed my feeble offering on the recent public school resolution that may be entertained by Southern Baptists this coming week.

I would like to clear up a couple of things, in the event that I might not have adequately communicated my total position on the resolution.

First of all, I don't think "atrocities" is too strong a word to use when we speak of how our public schools are being hijacked by the radical left. I have read some who criticized Dr. Mohler for his choice of this word on the grounds that they perceived him trying to equate our public education situation with Nazi Germany, or some other horrible historical event. Yet "atrocities" are not just physical, and I believe what some are trying to do to our children is sincerely "atrocious." I think our SBC leader's assessment of the public school situation is largely "on-target," including their choiice of words do describe it.

Secondly, I am not opposed to parents deciding to place their kids in private school. If a situation at my son's public school becomes out of my control, and I feel I have no other option for his own protection, I will certainly avail myself of that option. I just believe this is a decision that must be made in liht of context, and that parents know that context better than the SBC.
Finally, we do have a disagreement in at least one area. I really do believe that Southern Baptists care about our public schools, and our culture. But sometimes, in the heat of the moment (and you and I both, I'm sure, have been there) there is the temptation to make a "hot-headed" decision that you later regret. I just want folks to think deeply before making a leap like this. I want the deliberative body that is the SBC to be exactly that...deliberative.
Anyway, I hope that clears up any miscommunication on my part. I'm glad to have another reader, and hope that you will continue to offer your applause at things you like, as well as critique toward things you don't. That is the best way for "iron" to sharpen "iron."


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