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America's Culture War: Government and God

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Our Christian Schools

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

There was a time in American history when the moral character of a schoolteacher was part of the qualification process. Society felt that schoolteachers should be superior models of moral and spiritual behavior for their pupils. As hard as it may be to believe, the average American community would never have countenanced the idea of hiring a schoolteacher who consumed alcoholic beverages, or who used foul language, or who was divorced, or who was divorced and remarried unscripturally—thereby living in an adulterous relationship. The moral and spiritual decay of American civilization is so pervasive that, for all practical purposes, previous perspectives have been reversed. It is now virtually illegal to take into account a teacher’s moral behavior.

Take, for example, the recent arrest of a 37-year-old Berkeley, California high school teacher for moonlighting as a prostitute. Comparing herself to Martin Luther King Jr. in her fight to decriminalize the illicit activity, she insisted that her feminist ideals encourage a woman’s right to “self-determination”: “I feel that prostitution laws are dinosaurs. That they’re similar to sodomy laws, and they will eventually be repealed” (see “Feminist Teacher…,” 2003). One of her fellow teachers called her a “tremendous teacher,” and condemned the notion that “teachers can’t do what they want to in their personal lives” (see Hill, 2003). The gradual erosion of basic standards of decency, virtue, and ethical right and wrong has taken the nation into moral chaos, sexual depravity, and social confusion. The sexual anarchy that is being flaunted and allowed to flourish unimpeded is literally bringing American civilization to the brink of a complete moral and spiritual breakdown.

The central justification for the creation of private Christian schools is to provide a haven from the worldliness that has inundated the public school system. When a Christian school—which claims to be an antidote to the secular, worldly school—permits the gradual encroachment of worldliness into its own ranks, it has forfeited its right to exist—or at least to bill itself as a “Christian” school. Such a school either needs to stop existing—or stop claiming to be “Christian.” The compromise of even one moral principle places it in the same class with secular schools. It differs from them only in degree—not in kind.

In addition to allowing ourselves to tolerate and become comfortable with the worldliness that engulfs the nation, somewhere along the line the original intention of the Christian school was subtly altered. Attention was originally directed toward insulating children from worldliness, while educating them to live life in view of God, i.e., to prepare them to be upstanding, decent adults. Now, however, the focus of the private Christian school is to achieve academic credibility according to the world’s standards. The Christian school now seeks secular credibility and worldly authenticity for the student. With that goal in view, the personal moral conduct of teachers has taken a back seat to the need to provide academic “quality.”

To call attention to this insidious occurrence is taboo. It is considered by some as tantamount to challenging the Lord Himself. An irrational attitude exists among many that a school—one’s alma mater (or employer)—is sacred and must be defended, protected, and excused at all cost. This misplaced zeal puts loyalty to men and manmade institutions above loyalty to Christ and His church. It places personalities and politics above principle, and sentimentality above spirituality. It is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.

Should/would the church permit a lesbian couple to serve as house parents at a church-affiliated children’s home? Should/would the church allow a practicing homosexual to serve as a professor at a Christian college? Should the church allow a Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu to hold a teaching position at a Christian school? Should a Christian who drinks alcohol and participates in dancing at nightclubs be allowed to teach in a Christian institution? Should moral behavior and religious beliefs have any bearing on the matter of who should be allowed to occupy faculty positions in our Christian schools, colleges, and universities?

If a person is unhindered by personal prejudice or politics, the answers to these questions are biblically clear and indisputable. The only conclusion to draw that is in harmony with Bible principles and Christian spirituality is that Christian school employees—especially the administrators and teachers—ought to be above reproach in their moral standing. If a teacher engages in immoral social behavior (e.g., use of alcohol, dancing, etc.), he or she ought to be removed from employment. If a teacher unscripturally divorces his or her mate and remarries in violation of Bible teaching (i.e., Matthew 19:9), he or she should be removed from employment. (If the partner of a lesbian “marriage” is unsuitable for employment in a Christian school, then the partner of an adulterous marriage is equally unsuitable.) Does one honestly think on the Day of Judgment that God is going to endorse, sanction, or ignore the imaginary line that some Christians have drawn between homosexuality and adultery? Both fall into precisely the same biblical category, and both are equally condemned as “fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:9).

“But we will be sued if we practice such rigid standards.” Maybe so. Probably so. It’s time for Christians to consider how much they really love Jesus Christ. Did Paul consider the possibility of a lawsuit when he instructed to take immediate public disciplinary procedures against the Christian who was a fornicator (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)? After all, lawsuits were actually occurring among the Christians (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25; cf. 1 Samuel 15:24; John 12:42-43). To fear a lawsuit is to fear men more than God. Jesus warned: “My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5).

No project, institution, or good work must be allowed to obscure the greater reality of obeying God in every sphere and every aspect of life. We dare not allow ourselves to be blinded by loyalties that result in our making void the clear teaching of Jesus Christ (Matthew 15:3; Mark 7:9,13).

REFERENCES

Hill, Angela (2003), “Teacher in Sex Case Delays Plea,” Alameda Times-Star, [On-line], URL: http://www.timesstar.com/cda/article/print/0,1674,125%257E1486% 257E1596495,00.html.

“Feminist Teacher Defends Her Prostitution,” (2003), WorldNetDaily, [On-line], URL: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=34309.




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