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We are losing our children

   Remarks to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee
   by T. C. Pinckney
   Nashville, TN, September 18, 2001

   The events of a week ago today were a terrible tragedy. The 
   nation is rightly aroused, and we need to take effective 
   action. We mourn for the slain and we pray for their families. 
   Yet having said that, evaluated as a long-term threat and in 
   numbers of lives destroyed, the tragedy I want to discuss with 
   you dwarfs, literally dwarfs, the attacks on the World Trade 
   Center towers and the Pentagon. 

   We are losing our children. Research indicates that 70% of 
   teens who are involved in a church youth group will stop 
   attending church within two years of their high school 
   graduation. Think about that statement. It addresses only 
   teenagers who attend church and participate in the youth group. 
   What does that suggest about those teens who may attend church 
   but do not take part in the youth group, or who do not go to 
   church at all? In a talk at Southwestern Seminary, Josh 
   McDowell noted that less than 1/3 of today's youth attend 
   church. If he is right and 67% do not go to church and then we 
   lose 70% of those who do, that means that within two years of 
   finishing high school only 10% of young Americans will attend 
   church. We are losing our youth. 

   Why is this happening? Many strands go into weaving a tapestry, 
   and surely there are many reasons this tragic departure of our 
   youth from Christ is taking place. However, I believe the 
   evidence clearly indicates that the primary reasons are, first, 
   our failure as Christian parents and churches and, second, the 
   intentional, persistent, and highly effective effort by anti-
   theists to use public schools to lead children away from their 
   parents and from the church. 

 A Bit of History  
   About 1830 a group of wealthy Unitarians in Boston became 
   unhappy with the locally controlled, parent-run, church-
   influenced schools then prevalent. They decided to try to 
   establish a system of state-run, secular schools. They sent two 
   young scholars abroad to study the main European school systems 
   in order to decide which system to use as a model. After a two-
   year study the team recommended and their sponsors adopted the 
   Prussian system as their model. Why? Because in that system the 
   state had complete control, parents had no influence, and 
   children were entered at the earliest age. 

   With that decision made, the group designed a three part plan: 
   (1) compulsory attendance, (2) a state teacher's college degree 
   prerequisite to certification as a teacher, and (3) state owned 
   and operated schools. This was the plan they proposed to the 
   Massachusetts' legislature. Among themselves they agreed that 
   if they could not at first get all three elements approved, the 
   most important part was the required teacher's college. This 
   was their priority because they agreed that "If we teach them 
   what to teach, they will teach what they have been taught." The 
   first year's cost to establish the teacher's college was 
   $50,000. The Massachusetts legislature balked, saying the cost 
   was too high. So the wealthy Unitarians made them an offer they 
   could not refuse; they put up $25,000 if the state would match 
   it. They did, and in 1837 the first state public school system 
   in the United States was established. Soon other states 
   followed suit. 

The Philosophical Foundation of Governmental Schools

   Just 14 years after the Massachusetts state school system was 
   established, Auguste Comte wrote the following in his System of 
   Positive Polity, vol. I, 1851, pp. 35-6. 

     The object of our philosophy is to direct the spiritual 
     reorganization of the civilized world. . . . [W]e may begin 
     at once to construct that system of morality under which the 
     final regeneration of Humanity will proceed. 

   His "spiritual reorganization" was a long-term plan, and it has 
   been steadily progressing right up till today. And you will 
   recall that Darwin's great mythology, Origin of Species, was 
   published in 1859. 

   Of course Comte was not alone in this vision of a future 
   without God, of humanity without individuality, of rule by the 
   self-defined most capable over the less capable. In 1918 
   Benjamin Kidd published in London a book, The Science of Power. 
   On p. 309 he wrote: 

     Oh you blind leaders who seek to convert the world by labored 
     disputations. Step out of the way or the world must fling you 
     aside. GIVE US THE YOUNG. GIVE US THE YOUNG and we will 
     create a new mind and a new earth in a single generation. 

   Ten years later in 1928 Ross L. Finney, Ph. D., published in 
   the United States: A Sociological Philosophy of Education. On 
   p. 118 Finney wrote, "Everything depends on passing out the 
   expert opinions of the social scientists to the masses of the 
   people; and the schools, particularly the high schools, are the 
   only adequate agency available for this function." And on p. 
   117 he had just said, "It is the business of teachers to run 
   not merely the school, but the world; and the world will never 
   be truly civilized until they assume that responsibility." 

   Another interesting quote comes from The Reconstruction of 
   Religion by Charles A. Ellwood, Ph. D., Professor of Sociology, 
   U. Of Missouri, 1923, p. 177: "Human institutions, sociology 
   shows, are in every case learned adjustments. As such, they can 
   be modified provided we can obtain control of the learning 

   And the American Humanist Association understands the 
   importance of capturing the children for they have written: "In 
   order to capture this nation, one has to totally remove moral 
   and spiritual values and absolutes from the thinking of the 
   child. The child has to think that there is no standard of 
   right and wrong, that truth is relative, and that diversity is 
   the only absolute to be gained." 

   Everyone has a worldview, a perspective of the world around 
   him. Bob Reccord referred to this as a "reference point." He 
   may not think of it in these terms. Indeed, he may not think of 
   it consciously at all, but you cannot exist without a framework 
   within which you place events and individuals, which determines 
   your values, which values in turn guide your actions and 
   reactions to events and people. Although there are many 
   worldviews designated by many exotic or not so exotic terms, 
   they all boil down to just two types: Your worldview will be 
   man-centered or God-centered. 

   We are all familiar with Deuteronomy 6:7-9: "And thou shalt 
   teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them 
   when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the 
   way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And 
   thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall 
   be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them 
   upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." Yet we seem to 
   have forgotten or ignored God's commands about education: 

     Luke 6:40 (NASB) "A pupil is not above his teacher; but 
     everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his 
     teacher." Do we want our children to adopt the anti-
     Christian, socialistic, pro-homosexual, no absolute right and 
     wrong beliefs promulgated in government schools? 

     Colossians 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through 
     philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after 
     the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." This is 
     exactly what is happening to our children. They are being 
     spoiled by philosophies and deceits "after the tradition of 

     II Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with 
     unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with 
     unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with 
     darkness?" But this is exactly what we do when we send our 
     children to government schools. 

   Most Southern Baptists and most Southern Baptist churches are 
   failing to obey God's commands regarding our children. Yes, we 
   take them to Sunday worship and Sunday School. Yes, they may 
   also attend AWANAs or another church-centered youth program. 
   They may even have Bible study at home. But two or three hours 
   on Sunday and 20 minutes or so of Bible study at home are 
   overpowered by 30 or more hours a week in anti-Christian 
   government schools and the constant pagan media bombardment 
   which may add up to another 10, 20, 30, or more hours per week. 

   Now of course many schoolteachers are Christians. And may God 
   bless them as they do what they can. But they are strictly 
   limited by school policy, humanist textbooks, programs teaching 
   the validity of homosexuality, "make up your own minds" 
   approaches to morality, "safe sex" instruction, and on and on. 

   Why have we failed our God in this critically important 

   We have failed because we have been willfully, blissfully 
   ignorant . . . and satisfied in our ignorance. 

   We have failed because the great majority of us have not made 
   the effort to inform ourselves of the facts . . . even though 
   there are books and articles galore readily available. 

   We have failed because --- even when we have known the 
   facts --- we have not had the courage to point them out to 
   our people. 
   We have failed because we have been afraid to offend people. So 
   we have chosen to offend God rather than men. What Should We 

   The ideal, most biblical solution is for parents to teach their 
   children, to be homeschoolers. All our churches should welcome 
   and openly encourage home-schoolers. But clearly many parents 
   cannot or will not home-school. For their children we need to 
   start large numbers of Christian schools. And these schools 
   need to be truly Christian: 

     Christian in the sincere faith of the teachers and all other 
     Christian in textbooks carefully chosen, 
     Christian in their entire worldview. 

   Note that they should also teach about evolution, about 
   humanism, about post-modernism . . . but in a balanced way, 
   giving the evolutionists' arguments fully and fairly, but also 
   demonstrating their weaknesses, the mythological 
   presuppositions upon which these lies are based, and the 
   disastrous consequences for those who choose to live without 
   God. Our children must be prepared to live among, confront when 
   necessary, and triumph in debate with secularists. This is one 
   area where ignorance is NOT bliss. 

   You may ask, "Haven't we done anything about this problem?" 
   Yes, we have done a little: 

     A relatively few Southern Baptist churches do actively 
     encourage homeschooling. 

     Some of our churches have fine Christian schools (although 
     some church schools are Christian in name and prayer only, 
     using the same texts as secular schools). 

     Bob Reccord gave us some impressive results of summer youth 

     Under the Covenant for a New Century Jimmy Draper at LifeWay 
     has established the Church Resources Division specifically 
     charged with helping home-schooling and Christian schools. 
     The man to contact for help is Glen Schultz. Just call 
     LifeWay and ask for Glen. 

     And Article XII of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message notes 
     that, ". . . the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ 
     is coordinate with the causes of missions and general 
     benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal 
     support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian 
     education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for 
     Christ's people." While it is good that we have acknowledged 
     the need, we must now do much more to establish this 
     "adequate system of Christian education." 

   So that you can further inform yourselves, I have three 
   handouts for you: an excellent, brief book by Glen Schultz, 
   Kingdom Education, courtesy of LifeWay; a booklet, Teachers, 
   Curriculum, Control, by Daniel Smithwick of the Nehemiah 
   Institute; and a summary of Josh McDowell's points when he 
   spoke at Southwestern. 

   Together these handouts make a strong case for the urgency of 
   the need. It has been a privilege to be with you today. As 
   Executive Committee members you fill a critically important 
   role in Southern Baptist life, and indeed in Christian life 
   throughout the United States and the entire world. I pray the 
   Lord will lay a burden on your hearts for our children and 
   their Christian education. And I pray that He will lead you to 
   encourage home-schooling and the establishment of more and more 
   truly Christian schools. 

   Oh God! We are losing our children!

   T.C. Pinkney retired from U.S. Air Force as a Brig. General. In 
   June 2001, he was elected 2nd Vice President of Southern 
   Baptist Convention. He lives in Alexandria, VA, is the editor 
   of The Baptist Banner, and can be reached at (703) 780-1566 or 
   [email protected] 


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