Back to School:
But Do You Know What Is Happening?
Rev. Dr. C. W. Powell
(originally published in Reformed Herald, Sep 2003)
“Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.” (Proverbs 24:3-5, KJV)
The children are off to school all across the country. In Colorado Springs the cops are out to see that motorists don’t speed through the school zones and smash some of the little ones. Somehow we think that the danger is outside in the school zones.
The investment in education has been good for America in many ways. Our prosperity and wealth are the wonder and envy of the world. Knowledge is great strength for any people and the advances in technology have dramatically changed the nature of war as well as the lives of ordinary people. My grandmother and grandfather would not recognize the modern world. Even my father, who died in 1988, would be amazed at the changes since then.
Many changes in American life are not for the better, and some of these things are a great worry to Christians: the abortion industry, the flaunting of sodomy and other crimes against nature, unwed pregnancies, lawlessness and violence that seem to be spreading like the Colorado fires last summer. Americans seem to have made so much progress in material things and convenience, and so little progress in decency and community.
As your children trot off to school this fall, it might be a very good idea to know what is going on in school. Children have parents for more reasons than to keep them dry and warm, with their tummies full.
Schools are instruments of change, and that is a good thing, for we do not live in a perfect world. In this respect American education is a resounding success, for it is undeniably true that immense changes have taken place even in this author’s sixty-nine years.
Most of us would not like to go back to the days where a hundred-mile auto trip might involve changing or patching a tire two or three times, but even that was an improvement over ox-carts, I suspect. We are happy with running water, flush toilets, and vaccination for diseases. We are happy that the crime scene investigators have so many more tools—chemical indicators, DNA tests, data bases, and dozens of other tools to help solve crimes. We just wish that there were not so many crimes and think it was a good thing when people didn’t lock their doors at night. This writer can even remember the day when kids would bring guns to school and shoot squirrels on the way.
Why are kids different nowadays? The squirrels are protected now, but is there a correlation between not shooting squirrels and the shooting of classmates? Just asking. I don’t think we are better off now that we suspend a little boy for pointing his finger and saying “Bang, bang.” We may need that little boy against the Philistines someday, and we’d better have him on our side.
Public education, that great engine of radical democracy, has helped bring about social changes as well as scientific advancement. The liberalization of abortion laws, of laws against the practice of homosexuality and other sexual crimes, of feminism, and of other things contrary to the Bible were taught in schools long before they were enacted into law. In this regard, along with the influence of television and the music industry, education has been tearing down with one hand what it was building with the other. What good is technological advancement and scientific achievement if they are used by madmen and fools to destroy their neighbors and offend the Judge of all the earth?
Parents should know what’s going on at school. Are children being taught moral and spiritual values that are contrary to the faith? Do children know the religious values and philosophic foundations of American freedoms and institutions? English bishops may look a lot better than some of the monsters that inhabit the dark corners of the world. If we flee from a lion of ecclesiastical tyranny, will we be better off snuggling up with a bear of atheistic totalitarianism? What shall it profit if we gain the whole world, and lose our soul?
So off to school they go. They look so cute in their new dresses, new back packs, and fresh faces. They will learn lots of stuff no matter where they go to school. But in some places they will learn that sophisticates approve and promote homosexuality, the poor have a right to the wealth of the rich, that sexual freedom is good and freeing to the soul and spirit, that parents who discipline their children are harsh and unreasonable, that everyone has a right to do as he pleases, and that only fools believe the Bible.
Does education matter? You bet it does. Look at the recent changes in American values. Are public schools doing their job? Yes they are.
Education is no savior, for that belongs to Jesus Christ alone. But ideas certainly have consequences and the ideas that have been promoted in the public schools for generations are bearing fruit. Those who go forth bearing precious seed will doubtless come again, bearing their sheaves with them. But it is also true that the enemy who sows evil seed will experience a real, though temporary, glee at the tares that grow up in the master’s field.
As our proverb at the beginning of this article says, it takes wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to build a house. It also takes these things to fill the house with pleasant and beautiful things. Jesus Christ is that wisdom, knowledge, and understanding and without Him and His teaching the house will crumble and fall, as He said. It also might have some very ugly things in it before it falls.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7)
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Dr. C.W. “Bud” Powell