The Southern Baptist Convention is Finally 'Throwing in the Towel' on Government Schools
President and Executive Director of the SBC Executive Committee Proposes Major Expansion of Christian Schools by Churches
COLUMBIA, SC, June 2 /Christian Newswire/ -- In 2004 Brig. Gen. T.C. Pinckney, USAF Ret. and former 2nd Vice President of the SBC, and Dr. Bruce Shortt, Houston attorney, opened a debate over education by submitting a resolution to the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention urging Baptists to remove their children from government schools and, instead, give them a Christian education. Although the Pinckney/Shortt Resolution was met with howls of execration from many Christian leaders, and the Resolutions Committee prevented it from being voted on by the Annual Meeting, the Resolution initiated an important debate over education, both inside and outside the SBC.
Despite the Pinckney/Shortt Resolution's hostile reception, in 2005 Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the SBC's "flagship" seminary, Southern Theological Seminary, called for the SBC to develop an "exit strategy" from the government's schools. ( www.albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php? cdate=2005-06-17) Since then other Christian leaders have endorsed, in part or in whole, the call to provide Christian children with a Christian education.
Now, the SBC has come full circle. In an article that recently appeared in The Baptist Messenger, Dr. Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee, called for churches to provide many more Christian elementary and secondary schools as alternatives to the government's schools. ( www.baptistmessenger.com/story/11E2669E88B513F 2EAC03509EACA78D3) The anti-Christian moral teaching within government schools was among Dr. Chapman's chief motivations for calling for a major expansion of Christian education: "In far too many public schools throughout the country our children are being bombarded with secular reasoning, situational ethics and moral erosion."
Moreover, Dr. Chapman sees the need for greatly expanding Christian education as urgent: "In recent days, two questions have weighed heavily on my soul. If Southern Baptists don't do it, who will? If we don't do it now, do we risk forever losing the opportunity to build schools for God's glory and the future of our children, grandchildren and the land we love?"
To implement his vision of a major expansion of Christian education, Dr. Chapman advocates two initial concrete steps. First, he identifies the inner cities as places where a Christian education ministry is much needed and would be welcomed. As Dr. Chapman sees it: "In such areas, Kingdom schools would serve as a central ministry among a myriad of ministries that would help families recover from the chaos that now exists and help them establish Christ in the home."
Second, Dr. Chapman calls on every local Baptist association to create new schools: "Why shouldn't we have at least one Christian school in every association that merges dynamic biblical principles with academic excellence? At minimum, a number of Southern Baptist churches in the same association could band together to create an outstanding Christian school for the area. In our voluntary fellowships with each other, Southern Baptists still have shown themselves uniquely structured and resourced to take on such a challenge. Elementary and secondary education is an area we can add to how we cooperate in missions and ministries."
Dr. Chapman's proposal has been warmly welcomed by Dr. Shortt, the co-sponsor of the 2004 education resolution and of education resolutions in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008: "As the chief administrator of the SBC, Dr. Chapman's voice is extremely powerful. With his recent call to greatly expand Christian education among Southern Baptists and others, Dr. Chapman has, in effect, laid out the first step in the "exit strategy" called for by Dr. Mohler in 2005. All Christians should note this sea-change in sentiment within the SBC. The spiritual, moral, and intellectual pathologies of the government school system are now obvious even to casual observers. Christian parents and pastors need to ask themselves just how much longer they intend to render our children to Caesar's spiritually dark, morally decaying, and physically dangerous government schools."
E. Ray Moore of Exodus Mandate expressed his hearty agreement: "Dr. Morris Chapman's clarion call for a major expansion of Christian elementary and secondary schools is an example of bold leadership, not only for the SBC, but for the entire Christian community. This could not have come at a more opportune moment when families are crying out for assistance with their children and churches are losing the next generation of youth to worldliness, humanism and post modernism due to public schooling. In the last several decades, Christian organizations and publishers have created excellent curriculum materials and online Christian education programs that will work for small or large churches as well as for home school families. Technology combined with good curriculum have made K-12 Christian education available to anyone anywhere anytime and at reasonable cost."
Additional information and the text of Dr. Shortt's 2009 resolution in support of Dr. Chapman's proposal can be found at www.exodusmandate.org.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Bruce Shortt or Chaplain E. Ray Moore (Lt. Col., USAR Ret.) call Exodus Mandate at 803-714-1744 ( www.exodusmandate.org).