If you tell a lie frequently enough and convincingly enough, people are going to eventually take the lie as a given fact. There is tremendous power in narrative. The classic example with which we’re all familiar is the preposterous theory of evolution. At every turn, academics and academic wannabes push the evolutionary agenda…with particular attention given to children’s programming, whether on TV or at the museum.
“It’s taken us millions of years to get this far!” says one animated shrimp to the other (Happy Feet Two).
“The sting ray evolved from the shark about 150 million years ago” (Jeremy Wade in River Monsters, one of my favorite Animal Planet shows).
“That’s a lie, by the way, Abbie! God made stingrays and sharks differently from each other a few thousand years ago hours before He made Adam. (Me, with Abbie sitting in my lap while we watch River Monsters together.)
Our spongelike minds of our children absorb truths and lies with natural ease and enthusiasm. We must be intentional about what we give them to absorb, particularly in the grammar years.
And the narrative of evolution is but an example. There are plenty of seemingly-harmless half-truths and non-truths that distort the picture of Christianity in the world. The narrative is powerful:
Christians are pacifists.
A Christian in the military has a built-in conflict because the Bible says, “You shall not murder.”
We go to church on Sundays to be fed for the rest of the week.
My personal devotions are more important than corporate worship on Sunday mornings.
The list goes on. These are tricky issues to address, but the composite picture here is that believers need to be in an ongoing and passive state of preservation with a defensive mentality, when the New Testament picture of the role of believers in the world is decidedly more assertive.
We may be peace-loving, but not at the expense of the name of Christ.
The military needs Christians because the government exists to bear a sword, and killing in the context of war is distinct from murder.
What we do on Sundays is powerful as we gather corporately to worship God together. Approaching Sundays with the typical consumer mindset (i.e., primarily to get something rather than to contribute) is misguided.
I don’t intend exhaustively to set the record straight in each of these matters in this blogpost. Rather, as relates to education, my aim is to raise the questions that I myself ask in seriousness regarding the education of my own children:
What is my children’s school doing to prepare my children to advance the cause of Christ in the world?
How will Evangel Classical School train and equip my children to be worshipers of Jesus Christ?
If this is the aim, an excellent academic education will be a necessary outcome, though not the chief end in itself. Learning to identify logical fallacies, anticipating historical trends, understanding complex concepts and clearly and winsomely defending or combating arguments will serve our students well in college and the workplace, to be sure. But more than that, by God’s grace it will better equip them to be a powerful presence for Christ in their homes, communities, workplaces and churches.
Our challenges transcend debunking evolution. Christians are in an ongoing battle to propagate an accurate narrative about Christ, Christians, and the Church. The enemy is working tirelessly with the propagation of a powerful and insidious narrative of his own, but we want the world to know that Jesus Christ is Lord over all the world, and that impacts all spheres and epochs of life, from creation to His coming and beyond.
Risus est bellum!