Former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan made this astute observation: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
As a leader with a lifelong commitment to Church and societal transformation, particularly through the avenue of education, I could not help but see this quote in context to the 21st C Church: “Christianity [itself] is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Steve Rabey, in his book on Authentic Faith, said: “This generation is falling through the cracks of Christendom and the modern church is sleep-walking their way through oblivion.”
I have seen this disconnect globally. The most common concerns of pastors have been the aging of their church populations and the high levels of spiritual fall-out their children are experiencing transitioning into secular education. Of even greater concern to me has been the loss of a Biblical worldview within the Church as a whole.
The Church has, by and large, lost its meta-narrative – ie. “the abstract idea that is thought to be a comprehensive explanation of historical experience or knowledge” (Wikipedia), the plot behind the play, the object of the game, the power of the Gospel – and is at risk of creating a post-Joshua generation “who do not know the Lord or even the work He has done” (Judges 2:10).
As a transformational leader, I have attempted to be a faithful voice speaking into every social and justice issue our nation of Canada has faced. For seven years I wrote an Internet newspaper column, “Oh! Canada!” describing what righteous paths look like and presenting godly options: what was, what is, and what could be.
From my perspective, unfortunately, the Church as a whole has majored in rebuking the darkness and has consistently failed at lighting a light. We have prayed for national repentance from legalizing immorality and not given an understanding of what to repent unto. The Church has been seen as a reactionary rather than a revelational movement with pro-active solutions. That is why what God has given us in reference to Christian Education is so important. It is becoming an alternative solution for homeschool families, campus schools, and mission fields. As educators we are in a unique position to touch hearts, and to equip young lives with both academic and Godly wisdom.
Scripture makes it clear that God was in Christ “reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor 5:19, AMP). The Greek word for world, “kosmos” clearly refers to “ordered systems.” We were sinners, undermining the integrity of culture through our sin. When we were reconciled to God and were transformed our redeemed behavior was intended to rebuild the ruins of many generations (Isa 61:4, AMP) and reconcile world systems back to Him. We have focused on redeeming the educational sphere.
The Church has a commission to disciple nations, to impact principalities and powers, to tear down strongholds, and to reform society through the “many-sided wisdom of God…” (Eph 3:10). That wisdom is the sophia, the “supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God; the wisdom of God as evinced in forming and executing counsels in the formation and government of the world.” That wisdom is accessed through walking in the fear – reverence – of the Lord (Pr 1:8).
The Church is called to be a counter-intelligence organization, and should demonstrate, as was spoken of Daniel, an intellectual brilliance and a spiritual wisdom above the worldly wisdom that exists (Dan 5:10-12, Msg). It is said that he had the “Spirit of the Holy God” in him (Dan 5:11-12) and that he was “brimming with spirit and intelligence [that] completely outclassed the wisdom of the world…” (Dan 6:1-6, Msg).
Our KCCS mission statement is “to reach, raise up and release kingdom-minded people who are competent to represent their faith in every sphere of culture.” Our educational mission statement for Heritage Christian Online School is “to develop innovative Christ-centered educational opportunities for students to explore and embrace God’s unique purpose.”
We believe that God is the Creator and Owner of our children, a heritage from the Lord (Ps 127:3; Ps 139:15-16). We believe that parents are stewards of their children’s lives and are responsible to raise them in a God-honoring way (Pr 22:6; Deut 6:7). I am a firm believer in God’s rights, but also in parental rights over the education of the children.
Parental rights have been affirmed by Article 5 and 18 of the United Nations Convention of the Child: “The State must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents and the extended family to provide guidance for the child that is appropriate to his or her evolving capacities,” and “Parents have joint primary responsibility for raising the child, and the State shall support them in this.”
We believe that Church and School are extensions of God and parental authority to train, equip and educate children. There is a four-fold cord here that once it is in place is not easily broken – God, parents, church and school. The primary textbook must be the Word of God as it contains the meta-narrative. In the Word of God we find the wisdom needed to educate (Pr 1:7). “There is no law, no society, no justice, no structure, no design, no meaning apart from God and His Word” (Dr. R J Rushdoony).
We are clearly facing a culture war in North America. Our world has become increasingly black and white, with little room permitted for reasonable dialogue. At the core of the battle are two looming questions: “Who has the primary right to educate;” and, “Who decides what they are to be taught?” We have answered those essential questions: we have worked hard to formulate relational connection and equity with parents, the primary educators; and, we have worked hard to provide teachers and curriculum that see life through the lens of a Christian worldview.
The history of Israel recorded by the Judges states that the “generation that arose that did not know the Lord” (Jud 2:10) became “children who served other gods and did evil in the sight of the Lord” (vs 11). As one has said, “If we do not learn from the mistakes of the past, we are bound to repeat them.” We must maintain a commitment to link every life to knowing the Lord so that they can make Him known in all of society.
Socrates wrote, “Could I climb to the highest place in Athens, I would lift my voice and proclaim—fellow-citizens, why do ye turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth, and take so little care of your children, to whom one day you must relinquish it?” Children may be one third of our population but they are all of our future. With Christian educators – pastors, parents, teachers – working together, we can ensure the success of the next generation. Our children can become “arrows in the hands of a warrior” (Ps 127:4) sent into the future, with brilliance in spirit and intelligence, leaders who become change agents and history-makers.
As one of our virtual world teachers, Gord Holden said, “Let’s not prepare our students for the real world, but let us prepare them to create a better one.”