A resolution offered at the annual meeting of the Presbyterian Church in America General Assembly that encouraged members to pull their children out of public schools was soundly defeated yesterday.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the resolution was similar to a measure offered at the Southern Baptist Convention gathering last year, a proposal that met the same fate.
The PCA left the larger, more liberal Presbyterian Church USA in the early ’70s due to disagreements on doctrine.
The Presbyterian resolution states:
Whereas, The Bible commands fathers to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), and all parents who have had a child baptized in the Presbyterian Church in America have taken a vow to strive by all the means of God’s appointment to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (BCO 56-5), and
A truly Christian education begins with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10), and teaches children to think biblically about all of life (2 Corinthians 10:5; Romans 12:2; Deuteronomy 6:6-9), and
Whereas, The public school system does not offer a Christian education, but officially claims to be “neutral” with regard to Christ, a position that Christ Himself said was impossible (Luke 11:23), and
Whereas, The public schools are by law humanistic and secular in their instruction, and as a result the attending children receive an education without positive reference to the Triune God, and
Whereas, Some courageous teachers in our congregations disregard this law. Obeying God rather than men, they try to give their students a truly Christian education (Acts 4:18-20). This resolution should not be construed to discourage these adult believers who faithfully labor as missionaries to unbelieving colleagues and students. However, these rare exceptions should not lead anyone to believe the public schools are regularly giving children a truly Christian education.
Whereas, Sending thousands of PCA children as “missionaries” to their unbelieving teachers and classmates has failed to contribute to increasing holiness in the public schools. On the contrary, the Nehemiah Institute documents growing evidence that the public schools are successfully converting covenant children to secular humanism, and
Whereas, We are squandering a great opportunity to instruct these children in the truth of God’s word and its application to all of life;
Therefore, be it resolved that the 33rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America encourages all her officers and members to remove their children from the public schools and see to it that they receive a thoroughly Christian education, for the glory of God and the good of Christ’s church.
The measure was introduced at the General Assembly meeting in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Wednesday and was referred to the Bills and Overtures Committee, said the leader of the effort, the Rev. Steve Warhurst, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Kingsport, Tenn.
The committee debated the resolution Wednesday and voted 35-10 to send it back to the Assembly with a negative recommendation. Though Warhurst said he filed a minority report, which gave him the right to present an argument in favor of the resolution to the full 1,000-member Assembly yesterday, a misunderstanding of the rules prevented him from doing so.
Warhurst told WND the committee members appeared to agree with the statements presented in the “Whereas” section of the resolution, but didn’t believe the denomination should take the step of encouraging its 350,000 members to pull their children from government school.
The pastor said he couldn’t figure out how committee members could agree that children should have a Christian education but then oppose the resolution.
According to Warhurst, those voting against the measure thought it was “inappropriate for the General Assembly to recommend that children be removed from the public schools, that it is better handled at the presbytery level and the local church level.”
Countered Warhurst: “I think the church can make pronouncements and still encourage people in the right path.”
Warhurst said the resolution was “very soundly defeated” on the floor of the General Assembly. Members raise cards as a means of voting, so there was no official vote tally.
“At least the Presbyterian Church in America was willing to debate the subject,” he said, “so that’s an encouragement.
“There’s a ton of support for Christian education. They’re just not willing to say, ‘Take your kids out of government schools.’”