Exodus, according to the dictionary, is “a going out, departure or emigration,” or “the departure of the Israelites from Egypt under Moses.” Now there are Christian leaders who would like to add another definition: “The mass departure of Christians from the public school system.”
Chaplain E. Ray Moore of Exodus Mandate, whose goal is to “encourage and assist Christian families to leave Pharaoh’s school system,” said there’s an urgent need Christian parents must understand.
“Based on statistics, there is a 70-to-80 percent chance that a [Christian] child will abandon the church and their faith in a public school career,” Moore told WND. The bottom line, then, is Christian parents need to lobby their pastors, pastors need to lobby their denominations, and their denominations need to start programs creating and operating public schools.
“We think probably 75 percent of the Christian churches could provide, and have the financial resources to provide, a Christian education for children, if they saw it as a necessity,” said Moore.
Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, in the past has expressed concern about secular schooling, and has discussed an expansion of Christian schooling in the United States.
Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page
Now a resolution prepared for the denomination’s annual meeting by Voddie Baucham, a pastor with a national teaching ministry and the author of “The Ever Loving Truth,” and Bruce Shortt, a board member for Exodus Mandate and author of “The Harsh Truth About Public Schools,” echoes Page’s concerns and calls for action.
“Dr. Page’s call for more Christian schools is the beginning of the ‘exit strategy’ that Dr. [Albert] Mohler has urged be developed. If the SBC and American Christianity are to survive in any culturally relevant way, we are going to have to repent of our unfaithfulness in the education of our children. And we need to do this sooner rather than later,” said Baucham.
His resolution, submitted jointly with Shortt for the 2007 SBC annual meeting, is intended to expand the debate among Christians about creating a parallel school system, only one that includes biblical truth as part of an education.
“Dr. Page’s bold recommendation demonstrates how far the debate over how we educate our children has moved since 2004. This is because Christians and others find it increasingly difficult to avert their eyes from the metastasizing spiritual, moral, and intellectual pathologies of the government school system,” said Shortt. “Southern Baptist churches and the SBC’s institutions must get about the business of creating a new public school system – one that is ‘public’ in the sense that it is open to anyone, but controlled by parents and churches, not bureaucrats and politicians.”
Page also has stated that he fully supports an SBC resolution affirming those who teach in public schools and calling for Southern Baptists to “engage the culture of our public school systems nationwide by running for election to their local school boards and exerting their godly influence upon these school systems.”
“I am also deeply concerned about those in our society who cannot afford to either home school (because of work schedules) or place their children in Christian education because of the costs. This is a serious issue to me,” he added.
While the early “Exit Strategy” resolutions, including one just last year by Pastor Wiley Drake, second vice president of the SBC’s Executive Committee, in the California Southern Baptist Convention, have been turned down, Moore said he expects it will take a decade for a turn to be visible in the movement.
“We’re trying to help them see the consequences, challenge the corporate church, and awaken [people] to the crisis [at hand],” said Moore.
A difficulty is that many Christians do not take the biblical command to “train up your children in the way they should go,” to include education, or at least not on the same level as the Bible teaches “Do not steal,” he said.
“This should be part of their witness, along with Bible study, faithful attendance, and tithing,” Moore said. “That’s what we’re teaching. That’s sort of made us a little different. We’re teaching this as part of biblical obedience.”
And he said the concerns expressed by some Southern Baptists leaders, while good, are just a starting point.
“We believe that Bible-based denominations will eventually come to see this, if they take the Scriptures as authoritative,” he said. “If they believe Scripture is the Word of God, if they hold to the orthodox creed and believe the Bible is the Word of God, those denominations will come to this.”
“There are many denominations that no longer hold the Bible as the inerrant teaching of God,” he said. “They’re not going to see this need. The public school is their religion.”
But, he said, “There are tens of millions of evangelical Christians who will see this. We hope to see other denominations begin to have this debate in their general assemblies, synod meetings and national conventions.
“The Assemblies of God, the independent Full Gospel churches, the Missouri Synod Lutheran churches, Wesleyan churches, Missionary Alliance…, when you start adding those all together, there will be 20, 30, maybe 40 million people involved,” he said.
The SBC alone has 16 million members belonging to 42,000 churches in 1,200 local associations and 41 state conventions.
“We teach it as a command. When believers see it that way, it does change how they respond,” Moore said. “They usually find a way to do it.”
Moore told WND that for the most part, there would be nothing simpler than Christians creating a parallel school system.
“The resources are there,” he said. “Church buildings lie fallow five days a week, so the buildings are there. The people are there. The children are there. Budgets are in place in churches. In many cases there are Christian public school teachers who could come over. Everything is there, in place, available, right now as I speak.”
Add to that the availability of Internet, satellite and other course options, and there you have a school, he said.
“But they do not have a biblical theology and the will to do it,” he said.
There are some changes brightening the horizon. Christian schools are growing up to 5 percent a year, homeschooling is growing at rates up to 15 percent, he said.
“The Southern Baptists are setting the pace in debating this critical issue,” Moore said. “Other denominations such as the Presbyterian Church in America are also having this debate. It is our prayer and hope that this debate will take place in all Bible-based denominations over the next few years and that both Christian parents and the institutional church will come to understand clearly the urgency of rescuing our children from the government schools.”
The resolution that was proposed would make that clear:
“Whereas, education is not theologically neutral, and for generations … [children] have been discipled primarily by an anti-Christian government school system.
“Whereas, the fruit of our government school habit is unregenerate children…”
“Whereas, in light of government school curricula, court rulings, and the influence of the NEA, parents cannot satisfy the criteria for the education of Christian children set forth in Resolution 1 by educating Christian children in today’s government schools; and
“Whereas, article XII of the Baptist Faith and Message states, ‘the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ’s people’; and
“Whereas, continuing to fail to repent about our unfaithfulness in the education of our children will lead to justified charges of hypocrisy.
“BE IT NOW RESOLVED that” churches “heed Dr. Page’s call to create more Christian alternatives to the public schools;” and “expand Christian education.”
Those Christians who work now in government schools should be applauded, the resolution said, and encouraged to “labor as missionaries to unbelieving colleagues and students” in the “dark and decaying government school system.”
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