All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor. It is yet another stunningly beautiful morning in “paradise.” As the sun rises over the Pacific Ocean and spreads its golden rays across the small community, the island slowly comes to life—oblivious to the “day of infamy” that lies ahead. There is an interesting book on the history of what happened that day entitled At Dawn We Slept. While the attack that morning was a “surprise” to those who were stationed on this beautiful little piece of volcanic rock in the middle of a vast ocean, the reader learns that in reality there were plenty of “signals.” In fact, there were several who had a very good inkling that such an attack was imminent, but they either said nothing, or their warnings fell on deaf ears. The majority of Americans and most of America’s leadership were in fact taken by surprise.1
This is an interesting comparison to the current battle raging for the hearts and minds of our youth who face daily the onslaught of anti-Christian, atheistic philosophy. When I talk about this in messages around the country, I find Christian parents surprised and shocked at what has happened to public education and particularly how militant the fight against Christianity has become.
I find Christian parents surprised and shocked at what has happened to public education and particularly how militant the fight against Christianity has become.
And now we find out that as we have slept, compromise has infiltrated Christian institutions as well, creating possibly an even more dangerous situation in colleges and universities that appeared to be our allies. They are, in fact, minimizing the authority of Scripture. It is as though the title of the book At Dawn We Slept describes those of us who have just not been paying enough attention to this collapse within the Church.
Yet in the midst of the raging battle, there is something that is happening that gives great hope. The open militancy of those opposed to Christianity will awaken a sleeping giant. It is possible to envision a generation of believers who will rise up and say, “No more!” It is time to join the battle for the hearts and minds of generations to come. I am hoping and praying for a day of renewed influence upon our public educators by Christians who understand this battle and will equip themselves for the fight. I am hoping and praying for the day when compromising Christian colleges and universities humbly confess and repent. I look forward to the day when we will see a strengthening and expanding of a biblical worldview across the Western world. Specifically I pray for:
- The Church to capture a vision of the importance of starting Christian schools.
- The Church to capture a vision for connecting with students in secular schools.
- A strengthening of the home school movement.
- Support for Christian teachers in the public schools. They are strategic in influencing students in a biblical worldview.
- The support of Christian colleges and universities that are committed to a biblical worldview. They are the alternative to secular education.
- The support of committed believers who work on secular college and university campuses making the biblical worldview known to students who may never otherwise hear the message.
Mostly, I pray for the resurgence of commitment to the Word of God as the authentic explanation of all issues of human existence. In the end, the entire discussion of which worldview will gain prominence in our culture is one of authority. We believe God’s Word to be the authority upon which we are expected to build our lives, and we are fighting back to regain recognition of that authority in our churches, our schools, and our families. Yes, it is time to recapture a generation. We may have lost some important battles; but the war we can still win (Matt. 28:18–20).
The attack of December 7, 1941, catapulted a nation into war—a war we ultimately won. Maybe God is calling us to spiritual warfare, too. It is the war being waged to determine what ideas will gain prominence in the coming generations. It is a war that ultimately we win, too (Isa. 11:9). But we get the clear message now that it is time for believers to stand, fight, and advance. It is time to be honest and forthright about what is at stake—the minds and souls of our youth. It is time for a clear “call to battle.” We must not forget the admonition of Scripture. If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will prepare for the battle? It is time for a clear call to arms; a time to join the battle. From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to make that call to the local church, educators at all levels, and parents.
Action for the Church
Frankly, a portion of the local church has abandoned one of its first priorities: to educate its youth in the truth of God’s Word as the first order of business in any educational pursuit. Furthermore, we need to convince the Body of Christ that our youth should be highly encouraged to education in a biblical worldview as the foundation of all life-long learning. The education of the churches’ youth is a situation that needs to be redeemed.
The Church must get involved early in educating our youth in Christian biblical worldview and apologetics. This is a foreign topic in many congregations, but its implications are profound. Our worldview is the way we look at life. A Christian biblical worldview is learning to look at all aspects of life through the eyes of God. The problem is that Christians have developed a worldview that includes influences from a variety of sources, many expressly unchristian, and this destroys the ability to do good apologetics.
Consequently, it becomes possible to raise kids in church and subsequently turn them over to secular institutions for education without having thought through the potential outcomes of them losing faith in the process. The issue for us is this: if we are going to be Christian, then it requires surrender in every area of life. It makes a claim on every area of our lives and is very important in how we educate our young. If we are going to reclaim the ground lost in this battle, we are going to have to develop strategies for the Church to move forward and not into further retreat.
The enemies of Christian faith learned a long time ago where to wage the war—in the education of our youth.
We must be willing to sound the trumpet and let the Church know just how serious the problem is. The enemies of Christian faith learned a long time ago where to wage the war—in the education of our youth. They understood the influence they could gain by this daily captive audience. We Christians played right into their hands by leaving the battle behind and simply joining in. We have lost the concept of what is at stake, the hearts and minds of our youth.
Second, the Church needs to support and encourage the Christian teachers whose calling has led them into the center of this battle in the public school setting. These individuals are God’s instruments of influence in enemy territory. Thankfully, there are still good numbers of them, and they are making a difference day by day, child by child, school by school. The Church and Christian colleges and universities should continue to educate those who will continue to enter the public schools and be sure they are adequately prepared to represent the Christian worldview in a hostile environment. It can and is being done. It happens only intentionally, not by default.
The teachers at the private Christian schools of our nation need encouragement, too. They do their work at a fraction of the pay of public education and do it well. Even at that, due to economic hard times, Christian schools all over the nation are closing—precisely the opposite of what needs to be done in these times. Christians who are committed to the authority of Scripture in all areas of life need to be affirmed and recognized, because as we have seen, many times they are in the minority, even on a “Christian” campus.
Finally, instead of looking at the world and lamenting how corrupt it has become, we need to focus our attention on the Church—on God’s people—especially on those to whom the sheep look for leadership. Attention needs to be given to the shepherds of our day who lead us congregation by congregation, and also to the presidents, vice presidents, and professors at our Christian institutions who influence and train the sheep in a campus environment. The nurture and care of souls and minds of the youth of our nation is our duty and opportunity. It is time for the Church to rise to this occasion.
Action for Parents
As we survey the landscape of education in America, do we really realize the philosophy being promoted by these atheistic educators as it relates to child rearing? Dr. Richard Dawkins asks:
How much do we regard children as being property of their parents? It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society stepping in?2
It’s interesting that Dr. Dawkins wants his views imposed on children, all the while arguing that those of parents shouldn’t be! And further, society has, in fact, stepped in. These atheist educators are plenty clever enough to know where and how to enjoin the battle for whose ideas shall have mastery and control. They know to make the battleground education—especially the higher education classroom. And so, it should come as no surprise when someone like evolutionary biologist Kenneth Miller admits:
A presumption of atheism or agnosticism is universal in academic life. . . . The conventions of academic life, almost universally, revolve around the assumption that religious belief is something that people grow out of as they become educated.3
If you think this is over-stating the case, you have not spent time enough on a secular campus, listened to a lecture from a secular professor, or read from his or her books. For the most part, well-intentioned Christian parents have directed their children to secular public institutions with big football stadiums and housing with all the expected amenities, and have considered it a great bargain compared to the cost of private Christian higher education. Yet others write checks to compromising colleges and then “check out,” unaware (or unconcerned) about liberal, secular influences that are driving curriculum in the classroom.
Parents, it is time to engage again. The battle is raging. Don’t give over authority. Don’t assume. You need to get educated on this matter. You need to understand the nature of our current education system. When you are choosing a college for your student, whether it is grade school, high school, or college/university, we know that you are making many of these decisions based on cost. But when you consider the spiritual cost, as we have tried to show throughout this book, the cost is too high.
We have turned over generation after generation of young men and women to be fully inculcated with the thoughts, ideas, and precepts that are absolutely contrary to our Christian faith.
For those who are concerned about the loss of Christian values in our culture, we must face the fact that, in large measure, we have been party to our own undoing almost without a fight. We have turned over generation after generation of young men and women to be fully inculcated with the thoughts, ideas, and precepts that are absolutely contrary to our Christian faith. And we wonder why this nation is in the shape it is in? The Church systematically, seemingly without guilt, turns one generation after another of children over to a pagan, godless, secular education system that turns them from the faith. We do it in public elementary and high schools and colleges and universities. And we pay the enemy to steal their souls. It is time to wake up.
I wish I could tell you all of the stories of how, when I have preached on this subject, parents have come to me in tears. One parent said, “I sent my lovely Christian daughter to the state university, and she came home an atheist.” Story after story. But, does that mean all will? No, it does not. Parents, I encourage you to redeem the situation. Particularly in the vacuum of leadership from the Church on this issue, your efforts must be intelligent, proactive, and pastoral.
Then, in all honesty, we must address the situation at “Christian” schools. It is possible to go to a Christian school and have the same result—a broken, devastated faith—as with secular schools. This is true. The research shows it to be true, and we must hit it hard. As the research discussed in this book illustrates clearly, one has to be extremely discerning when considering a Christian institution. Just because it is said to be “Christian” does not mean it will teach a Christian worldview as it should. And just because the professors claim they believe in the “infallible” Word of God and in “inerrancy,” that does not necessarily mean they are using those terms in the same way as you. If the intent of higher education is to place your students in a godly environment, you need to get as far away as possible from the secular and compromising institutions. Ken uses a biblical analogy to make this point:
When Moses went before Pharaoh in Exodus chapter 8, one of his responses was to allow the Israelites to go and sacrifice to their God, but they were told, “only you shall not go very far away” (Exod. 8:28). Pharaoh didn’t want them to go too far from Egypt. As we know, Egypt can be used as symbolic of the world and its pagan philosophies. Pharaoh wanted to keep them close—not too far from the world.
As you begin to consider the results of the research conducted by America’s Research Group (headed up by renowned researcher Britt Beemer) into what the Christian colleges of our age teach, you will find that many of them have tried to stay close to “Egypt.” Sadly, so many have not wanted to go very far from what the world teaches in certain areas, and this can (and has) lead to generations being put on a slippery slide of unbelief—the opposite of what their parents were hoping (and paying) for.
Yes, we are advocating that Christian parents need to go far from “Egypt.” We should not entrust our children to the Philistines to be trained. But at the same time, this research will awaken us to understand the great need to deeply research, using the right terminology and asking the right questions of the right people (as we will outline for you later on), when considering a Christian institution for the education of our children.
We do need to be far away from those of “Egypt” and those who have stayed close to “Egypt.” We so need generations of young people who are not defeated before they even begin to make their place in this world.
We need to be reminded of what God said to the Israelites in 2 Chronicles 7:13–14: “If . . . My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Just as the Israelites needed to repent of their compromise with the world’s teaching (the pagan religions of the day), we, God’s people today, beginning with many of the leaders in our academic Institutions, need to repent of compromise and humble ourselves before the Lord and his Word.
I say this again to those of you who are believers and work in the public/state schools: You are God’s chosen instruments to do something about this. At the very least, remain faithful and do not fear making your Christian ideas known.4 You have rights, too! There is no reason to cower or fear. You are able to stand up to this attack. Just like the Christian students intermixed with your unbelieving students, you are the salt and light to the public education world. You are a remnant of truth and grace and mercy in the midst of a compromised culture that desperately needs your influence and your love.
If you don’t go to them, who will? How will they experience and know the truth if there’s no one there to share it with them and to show it to them? You are that light. You are the salt. By the power of God’s Spirit working through you, may Jesus use you as vessels of hope, of forgiveness, and of mercy in the midst of this needy generation. May He use you as a beacon of courage and dedication to the other Christian students in your classes and on your campus. And may God bless and protect you and your families as you execute this vitally important mission. We salute you and affirm you. Godspeed!
Responding to the Attack
December 7, 1941, was not the end. It was just the beginning. The brash and blatant attack of the enemy was a wake-up call to a sleeping nation that rose to the challenge. In this book, we have shared with you many sets of statistics and painted one of the first objective pictures of what is really happening on both secular and Christian campuses. Does this in any way discourage you? Not me. I see the greatest opportunity the Church has ever had to change the coming generations. Many people feel like there is nothing we can do about the decline of our culture. They have become not only inconsolable, but inactive.
On the one hand it is understandable. People, even if once engaged in the cultural struggle, look around and see only defeat and despair. There is probably no one who cannot recite a litany of disaster in our nation: a decline in morals, violence in our streets and schools, corruption at high levels of leadership, loss of integrity in our greatest institutions—the list is endless. And so on that one hand, the despair we sense about the future is understandable. But on the other hand, if we really do believe in a sovereign Creator who is all about the business of reclaiming His lost creation, then not only is this despair not justified, it is inexcusable! It is absolutely time to wake up.
We may be currently losing, but God is still in control.
It will take recognition of the issues we face in education. It will take parents making a commitment to send their children to committed Christian educational institutions. It will take a new generation of qualified Christian educators who know worldview matters—and who believe that the war of the worldviews can be won. We may be currently losing, but God is still in control. It will take a new dedication in the local church to make sure its own teaching mission is solid. In general, believers have failed to bring Christian truth to bear in society. As a result, we have a culture that has moved far away from God. We have a culture that does not consult the Word of God. We as Christians are not salt and light to our world and we have lost our influence—for the time being.
It is not time for despair; it is time for hope. It is time to reclaim this generation for Christ. But we have all the resources needed to once again influence our culture for Christ. It is time for the situation to be transformed. God’s Word tells us clearly how this transformation takes place, “By the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). Our day of infamy has arrived. Now we must learn to contend for the authority of Scripture, as a Church, as parents, as educators, and as never before. Are you ready to be equipped to contend for the biblical worldview and the authority of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation?