Archives For May 2006

I can’t say I’ve laughed so hard in awhile–well, maybe I have laughed harder than I did when I read this article. You ask why? Well, it’s quite simple. The irony of this article is astounding. Writer Robert Parham moans and groans about all those Christian schooled and homeschooled children whose parents are, you guessed it, leading Southern Baptists.

If you want to know what Southern Baptist Convention leaders really think about public education, follow them to school.

The most visible nominee for the presidency of the SBC is Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark. His church has its own school, Shiloh Christian School. On his blog, Floyd lists the school as one of his three favorite Web sites.

The school has some 650 students from pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade. Shiloh Christian School estimates that half of its students belong to First Baptist and its mission, the Church at Pinnacle Hills. Only 3 percent of its students are children of color, compared to the Arkansas classroom average of 10 percent.

The once-rumored presidential candidate, Wade Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, has one son at Oklahoma Bible Academy and another one at Emmanuel Christian School in Enid, Okla.

On and on, on and on, on and on…it gets better and better. Now, for those of you who have never been convinced, I’m working on something to help convince you or at least to help you understand where I personally am coming from. The simple fact is this: Southern Baptists need to stand up for what’s right, stop fighting and squabbling over minor things, and get focused on the main thing. We are about the gospel shining. How can it shine when our children can’t see it in school? And how can it shine if it’s faded, smeared, and watered down?

The gospel must shine through.

Related: Scott Somerville’s Take

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I’ve always wondered why we as human beings have never wanted to be told what to do. It’s so innate that we just have to touch that wall that says “Do Not Touch: Wet Paint”, always crossing the line. We know that something is probably wrong, yet we cross it. Always, every time, without fail. All of it comes down to one rather annoying word: pride.

People hate being told what to do, whether it be what you should be wearing, how you should be speaking, or what we should or shouldn’t be eating and drinking. People go absolutely “bonkers” if you tell them that modesty can be defined, that you shouldn’t be cussing, or you probably shouldn’t be drinking that beer.

I think it is like that anywhere — no one ever likes being told what to do. We’re free to choose what we want, not to follow a bunch of legalistic rules. Christians have rights too — some things are left open for debate in the Bible. And it gets messy when you decide to have a position on those points.

It’s here that I propose to you a solution to some of these problems: get back to the basics. The gospel is the main thing, and the main thing must stay the main thing. So many of the issues within our churches could be solved if only we began to preach the pure gospel, unfiltered and without sugar. We can’t continue to preach a watered down gospel, or our churches will continue in the watered down state they are in. Our churches are so bland, so empty — and it’s because of a lack of preaching the wonderful cross.

The Gospel Defined

The first step for us is to define what the gospel is. Truly, if we boil it down, the gospel would defined as the “good news.” But how is it good news? Is it good news because God loves us? Is it good news Jesus died for us? Couldn’t he show us love in another way?

“Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man,” said Paul, “I was shown mercy.” The gospel starts with you and me. We are blasphemers. Liars. Thieves. Adulterers. Coveting. Murderers. Disobedient. You name it, we’ve done it, whether in thought or deed. And it breaks us — it kills us. We quickly realize what God has demanded of us — perfection — and we’ve fallen so dismally short. We’re so terribly sinful that we should be completely annihilated.

“For all have sinned,” says Paul in Romans, “and have fallen short of the glory of God.”

Just taking one look at the Law of God should break us into a million pieces, and lead us to understand that none of us are good, and we all deserve hell. This is essential in understanding the glorious gospel.

God was not willing that any should perish. “For God so loved the world,” says John, “that He gave his only Son that whoever would believe in him will not perish, but will have eternal life.” God sent His Son to take our place, becoming a sacrifice for God, serving and up-keeping justice. Christ took upon Himself all our sins, allowing us to repent (turn away from our sins), believe in Him, and turn to Christ as our Savior. So simple, such a paradox, and so beautiful.

If only our churches would preach repentance and faith, repentance and faith, repentance and faith! Many issues would solve themselves, and we can all agree once more on the basics, the literal Word of God and that glorious gospel.

In Memory

May 29, 2006 — 6 Comments

I can’t say enough to relay to you how much I appreciate our troops, past and present, and those who have been willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Those who have died will live forever in our memory, and in the minds of those families who have lost so much. We lift them up in prayer today, understanding that even though they have lost a loved one, so many have gained. Our country would not be here today if we did not have men and women who were willing to die for our United States.

I had wanted to post more today, but I want this to be a post of rememberance and a place to thank those who have given their very lives for you and me. Steady posting will commence tomorrow.

Of Interest: The League of Greatful Sons to air on TBN at 7 PST tonight (Monday).

North Carolinians (so that’s how you say it!) for Home Education are taking their meeting to a new level by having the event live-blogged. I have to say, this is such a blessing for thousands of people who don’t have the time to travel to North Carolina or some other event — they just need to sit down in front of their computer for awhile and refresh the page every so often. If the live-blogging is good (and it looks to be in NCHE’s case), the reader will feel like they’ve missed nothing at all.

Now, of course, this is all leading up to something.

As all of you know, I will be attending the Southern Baptist Convention in none other than the great state of North Carolina. I know most of my readers are not Southern Baptists, so I like to call this convention a “meeting of believers.” It’s a meeting of believers coming together to resolve to do something, and that is certainly worth watching, whether you are Charismatic or Baptist. So, June 7-15th will be a special week of live-blogging.

But that’s not all. I have been invited to live-blog the SBCHEA’s Summit meeting this year. Here’s a description:

On Wednesday, June 14th, 2006, 12:00pm – 4:00pm theologians and scholars at the highest level of Christian Education will meet with concerned pastors and parents at the 2nd Annual Kingdom Education Summit, hosted by the Southern Baptist Church & Home Education Association. The conference will be held during the 2006 SBC Annual Meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, and all pastors, homeschooling families, ministry leaders, and encouragers are invited to attend.

So, coming soon to this blog will be me frantically writing, spell-checking, uploading, and posting like a madman. Stay tuned.

So, what is the world saying about that resolution coming before the Southern Baptists this June?

Jeff says:

Whatever happened to Christian liberty? Where does it say in the Bible that Christians must withdraw their children from public schools? This is EXTREME LEGALISM. I hope that messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention do not impose this legalism upon the conscience of Southern Baptists. Nothing should bind the conscience of a Christian except for what is explicitly taught in Scripture. I will be extremely EMBARRASSED if the SBC passes anything like this. And I am confident that it will not happen – our churches are full of both public school children and public school teachers. Thousands of SBC church members are teachers in public schools, and they are tired of the SLANDER that comes from the homeschooling fanatics. Parents in SBC churches want to raise normal children, not homeschooled freaks with no social skills.

This is scary. The noose of legalism draws tighter and tighter around the throat of evangelical Christianity every day. Legalism is deadly. It is time for somebody to stand up to these obnoxious legalists who want to take away our Christian liberty.

Mother Music says

Making resolutions in Southern Baptist Conventions might NOT be the best way to begin, however. It may threaten those who are entrenched in the public school system, threaten the political hard left who already believe that the religious conservatives are out to get them and take over the world, possibly causing a backlash of panic-stricken legislation which would only make the problem worse. Further, resolutions have not been known to be effective in stimulating any action.

Kirsten says

Absolutely the right way to go! It will take a long time and some hard, careful work, though. So many people need the help of the church, but such a small percentage of them will change their lifestyles that are contributing to their problems. You can’t just write tuition checks and dump undisciplined and undiscipled children into Christian schools. Over the years our small church has reached out to many families and young people with love and conditional financial help and only a few of them have been willing to work with our elders to get at the root causes of their ongoing problems. We’ll keep at it though, with God’s blessing.

KI says

I do agree that churches should help their young parents to raise Godly children. I think there is a lot that can be done to do that. I don’t think they should make a blanket statement that no children should be in public schools. I believe this will just ghetto-ize christians more. We need to be light and salt and that includes in public schools. All public schools are not alike, although I do agree that they all have problems. I know the problems christian schools have, also, and some of the negatives of homeschooling. Yes, there are problems in these types of schooling too. I’ve done all three at various times with my children who are now grown and doing fine. I think parents need to work deligently, pray deligently and look for God’s wisdom and do what they need to do that is best for each of their children. The churches need to come alongside and help them in that.

Anlir says

I hope the SBC resolution on Christianists removing their children from the public schools passes, and I hope their parents head the call.

For the vast majority of us non-Christianists in the public school system, ya’ll are nothing but trouble and a constant pain in the rear. Quite honestly, we’re tired of your constant arguing over everything the public schools do and your constant lawsuits. It has reached the point where you are a negataive influence on everyone else.

Please leave, so the rest of us can go back to what is supposed to be the purpose of public schools – educating our children.

Aaron Carpenter says…

Did they miss the part where Independents did this 40 years ago?

One caution if the SBC looks within its own ranks to provide the personnel for this enterprise (and why wouldn’t they?):
Christian education is an overriding philosophy, not merely a Bible elective, weekly chapel, and prayer before class. So, success means not merely church-operated Christian schools but training the teachers in a Biblical educational philosophy. Of course, this will not be seen as necessary if Mohler’s call is merely reactive and passive, ie. he may be calling for Christian educational alternatives simply to keep the children of believers from being indoctrinated by Darwinism, sexual perversions, secular humanism. While they must keep these out of education, I hope they create alternatives that provide positive affirmations of a Biblical worldview.

I hope they are successful, but it will be interesting to see how this all turns out. Secular education, sans liberal agenda, plus a Bible class does not equal Christian education.

And, of course, the “big” supporters:

Dr. Paige Patterson: (President-SWBTS Seminary, SBC President 1998-99) He said that if he were rearing his children today he would home school them “for the sake of relationship, academic accomplishment, safety, and Christian commitment.” (Lee Weeks, “Homeschooling-SEBTS Style” Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Outlook, Vol. 48, p.7) In 2002, under his leadership at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., over a hundred faculty, staff, and student families had chosen to home school their children.

Dr. Jack Graham: (Sr. Pastor of Prestonwood Church, SBC President 2003-2004) “The world is too much with us and so, while we are not trying to cocoon our children, we don’t want to put our children in a position to fail,” Graham said in a Nov. 11 interview with the Florida Baptist Witness. “I think Christian schools put children in a position to succeed spiritually.” Graham is pastor of Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano …”That’s the whole purpose. To train a new generation of leaders to make a difference. … To develop a new generation of young dynamic leaders who understand their faith, who are able to communicate their faith and to live their faith in whatever their career or calling may be,” (http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=14723)

Dr. Jerry Johnson: (President-Criswell College) “We, Dr. Streett and I, have chosen to homeschool. We see it as the best way, your first option, for educating your child.“

Dr. Tom Elliff: (Vice President-International Mission Board, SBC President 1997-1998) “We have a large homeschool group here at First Southern Del City. I think what you are doing with SBCHEA is wonderful, and I can think of several families right now who would be encouraged by the ministry. Everywhere Jeannie and I go we talk about homeschooling.“

Dr. David Dockery: “We are to have the mind of Christ, and this certainly requires us to think and wrestle with the challenging ideas of history and the issues of our day. For to do otherwise will result in another generation of God’s people ill equipped for faithful thinking and service in this new century. A Christian worldview is needed to confront an ever-changing culture. Instead of allowing our thoughts to be captive to culture, we must take every thought captive to Jesus Christ.“

Dr. Albert Mohler: (President-SBTS Seminary) “Far too many Christians neglect to pay attention to what is distinctively Christian about Christian education. In Romans 12:2, Paul wrote, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” That powerful sentence represents the very heart of Christian education. Rather than conforming to the prevailing worldview of the secular culture, Christian education is to be transformative–demonstrating the power of God’s truth in human lives. A true Christian education is like a light shining in the darkness. In a day when the prevailing secular culture is not even certain that truth exists, Christian education is established in the name and to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.“ (http://www.albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2006-04-05)

C. H. Spurgeon: (The “Prince of Preachers” 1834-1892) “Withdraw from a child the only divine rule of life, and the result will be most lamentable. An education purely secular is the handmaiden of godless skeptics.“

Martin Luther: (The “Father of the Reformation”1483-1546) “I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution that does not unceasingly pursue the study of God’s Word becomes corrupt”

How about adding yours? (the resolution can be read fully here.) Bruce Shortt

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I always hate to post twice in one day, but all of you will have to get used to it for the next few weeks. I was browsing the internet, in search of some quality articles and came across this one by Nathan Finn. His article hits at the heart of the issue that is looming before all of us — an issue that must be addressed quickly. The article hits hard, and it hits home – it entails what I am about and will be about. I’m about showing you, in the next three weeks or so, that when we look at the “Exit Strategy Resolution” we’re not talking about “leaving the schools” because of “homosexuality” or “secular humanism.” It’s more than that, and I’ve attempted to get that across in the few posts that you have read. The fact is that parents are called to raise their children in godliness – they are not to give that task to someone else! Sunday school, christian schools, extracurricular activities are all supplements, not the main course.

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**Update: Stop the ACLU has more…**

There still are a few public schools out there that are the exception to the rule, and praise God for that.

The senior class at a southern Kentucky high school gave their response Friday night to a federal judge’s order banning prayer at commencement.

About 200 seniors stood during the principal’s opening remarks and began reciting the Lord’s Prayer, prompting a standing ovation from a standing-room only crowd at the Russell County High School gymnasium.

The thunderous applause drowned out the last part of the prayer.

The revival like atmosphere continued when senior Megan Chapman said in her opening remarks that God had guided her since childhood. Chapman was interrupted repeatedly by the cheering crowd as she urged her classmates to trust in God as they go through life.

The issue?

U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley granted a temporary restraining order sought by a student who didn’t want prayer to be part of the graduation exercises at the south-central Kentucky school, about 110 miles southeast of Louisville.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed suit on behalf of the unidentified student on Tuesday.

ACLU attorney Lili Lutgens said she was pleased with the judge’s order and “very proud of my client for standing up for the Constitution.” Lutgens said prayer would be unconstitutional because it would endorse a specific religion and religious views.

“He did not feel that he should have to sit through government-sponsored prayer just to receive his diploma,” Lutgens said of the student.

Very proud for standing up for the Constitution? What version are you reading? Just more double standards at work.

Check out the pictures from Gateway Pundit. Hat’s off to all of you students standing up for freedom across America.

Email Exchange

May 22, 2006 — 1 Comment

I love email exchanges…the following response is quite helpful for any and all parents, anywhere. My mom did a great job in responding, but she wanted to add that it is an email and not a blog post. Enjoy!

Hello Tim,

I found your site when I was looking for resources on “Truth” and “Tolerance”. I’m assembling a CD for the high school group at our church covering truth, the reliability of the Bible, etc.

I happened to check just one of your “Awsome Agents” – “Rhetorical Response”
and found that not only you are still in high school, but Karen is as well.

My wife and I have three sons ages 11, 7, and 4. It could be because I work at a public high school, but I am amazed at the maturity both you and Karen show in the capability of your writing and the topics you both cover. One of the impressive aspects of you both is that while you both write so capably on worldview topics, I would guess that most of the high school students I see every day haven’t even heard of the word “worldview”.

Unfortunately, my wife and I are unable to homeschool our sons currently.
Considering this, can you recommend materials and/or an instruction path we can take our sons on that will help start them on the road to the capability that both you and Karen demonstrate so well.

Thank you and God bless you for your site, your writings, and for a future that will be impacted by you, Karen, and others like you both.

Hugo

Response:

Mr. Schraer,
This is Tim’s mom. He appreciated your encouragement! He asked me to help respond to your questions.

I will tell you some of the things “we” have done, but the older our children get, the more we are conscious that all of the work & fruit are truly by God’s grace & power alone. Tim is 16 & the oldest of 5 children. The others are getting ready to have birthdays and will be 14-year-old boy, 12-year-old boy, 10-year-old girl, and a 6-year-old boy. We have found (and have observed from others) that mature, responsible young adults are the result of work done when they are toddlers, preschoolers, and “grade school” age.

Number one on our list has been to keep our children immersed in God’s Word. Until recently, we have not spent time specifically discussing “worldview.” We have focused on simply knowing & understanding the truth! As opportunities arise, we talk about how the truth of God’s Word applies to the situation…what God’s perspective is based on Biblical revelation. It is our desire to set biblical standards for our children, even if those standards seem unreasonable or unreachable to the world. Apart from Christ, His grace, and the power of the Holy Spirit, biblical standards are impossible. Knowing this helps us to focus daily on our need for the Gospel.

We have studied the Bible at home, at church, and in additional studies. We have used a wide variety of material to help us in family devotions & Bible study for school. In all of our studies, we have taken the opportunity to connect God’s Word to daily life. We are kind to others, not just because it is a nice thing to do, but because each person is made in the image of God. We treat them according to the value God has placed on them. We pick up our toys & belongings in our house out of respect for others, but also because we recognize that everything we have has been given to us by God and He has given us stewardship responsibility. We have memorized Scripture, prayed together in a variety of ways, sung hymns and worship songs together, acted stories out, etc.

A Bible study that has played a prominent role in our family is Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Our children began attending in 1st grade. This study uses the Bible itself as the textbook, and the children and adults are studying the same lessons. They have daily questions to answer, and then a group discussion and lesson that helps them with application. Along the way, they also learn how to do homiletics. We attribute much of our children’s Bible knowledge and ability to apply it to their BSF studies.

When our children are young we also focus quite a bit on studying character qualities. We also read biographies of Christian heroes that help us to see how God has worked in history and in various cultures. In our schooling, we examine God’s perspective on every subject. When our children are able to read by themselves, we begin helping them to have their own personal quiet time.

As parents, for our little ones (other than them having their needs met & feeling loved & secure which should be obvious)our goals are to instill obedience, submission to boundaries, and self-control. Those qualities pave the way for them to be willing to receive God’s instruction through us and other teachers, and for them to have the ability to stop & evaluate a decision before proceeding, hopefully choosing the way of wisdom. As they continue to grow, we continue to fill them with the knowledge of God and practical application of that knowledge. We transition to asking them questions and helping them draw conclusions rather than us always giving them the answers. I believe this is one of the elements parents miss. At the wrong seasons of our children’s lives, we fall into lecture mode instead of guiding them to think through things for themselves. Maturity is built when they learn to think biblically and take ownership of their beliefs.

We give our children chores, etc. to help them develop responsibility. We tend to avoid the passing fads & obsessions of the world. When our sons have turned 13, my husband asked men of the church to write them letters giving them advice on becoming Godly men. At that time we also have begun helping them to acquire a personal library of resources that will be profitable throughout their lives. We’ve given them books such as Bible study reference tools, books on apologetics, books on theology, classic Christian works, etc. Around this time is when Tim started making the jump into communicating the truth of God’s Word and a biblical worldview. I think the world in general expects the teen years to be years that are basically wasted, survived, or spent on earthly pleasures. We do not buy into that philosophy, because we do not see it as biblical.

We are fully aware of the potential pitfalls for young men, but these are some of the standards we hold:

1 Peter 5:5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”[a]

1 John 2:14 I write to you, fathers,
because you have known him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.

Psalm 144:12 Then our sons in their youth
will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
carved to adorn a palace.

Psalm 71:5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”-
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
1
Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Titus 2:6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

I am sure this is more than you wanted or needed. Here are some resources we have particularly liked. We don’t necessarily agree with everything in each book, but they all have been helpful.

Blessings to you & your family,
Agent Tim’s Mom

(Book list following)
Continue Reading…

Whaaa…?

May 21, 2006 — 21 Comments

America not a Christian nation. What’s your response?

Update: Reader David Macmillan sent in a letter to the editor. How about doing the same?

Where In the World?

May 18, 2006 — 2 Comments

I’ve been hitting the books, and writing like a madman on some tough issues that I am certain you won’t want to miss. They had been planned on being unleashed this week, but I’ve had to postpone the articles (digging through statistics isn’t the most fun job in the world). So don’t worry, I am still alive and well.

I just wanted to share with you something I was thinking about last night–sleep. All of us think a lot about sleep, especially during Algebra or our job. But do we ever consider what a gift sleep is? Can you imagine your life without the gift of sleep? We’d all be dead! God has blessed us with something so awesome. Sleep refreshes our bodies and our minds. It clears things up. It helps our bodies heal.

Every night we should thank God before we go to bed for the gift of sleep.