Hosea 4:1-6 The Educational Role of the Church to the State
“The Educational Role of the Church to the State”
Introduction: We have been looking at how the church and the Christian are to interact with the state for the past several sermons. Recently we have seen that the church has a missionary role to preach the gospel to the people of our society; the church has a compassionate role to minister to the hurts and needs of our society; the church has a prophetic role to the state in that the church should speak truth to evil, confront sin and point to the path of righteousness. Now tonight we will examine the educational role of the church to the state.
Well that sounds exciting doesn’t it! What possible role could the church have in the general education of our society? Tonight we will see that we must educate our society about the gospel and the Word of God, we certainly must educate our converts about our faith, and the Church desperately needs to get involved again in the general education of our children.
The Church Needs To Educate Our Society About:
I. The Gospel, God’s Word and the Church
1. Acts 17:1-4, 17-34 In these passages we see Paul’s method of preaching the gospel includes reasoning, dialoguing with and using the sculpture, religion and poets of his day in his arguments. Certainly in 17:28 we see Paul quote from a Greek poet, not a Christian source. What is he doing in these passages?
Paul does not just preach a quick sermon, give an invitation and expect the aisles to be flooded with new converts. Certainly in Jerusalem at Pentecost, Peter’s sermon got a huge response. But that was in the Jewish culture which had already been prepared for the gospel by the Law and Prophets.
Paul is acting as a cross cultural missionary in a new territory now. The Greeks do not have much preparation for the gospel. Paul spends a lot of time in vs.3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer. This is educational language, not just preaching. The Bereans, in vv.10-12, spent time every day examining the scriptures with Paul to see if his gospel was true. In 18:11 we find Paul in Corinth teaching them the word of God. There is a whole lot of teaching that must be done for the sake of evangelism.
Look at Acts 19:8-10. He argued, that is presented the case with evidence, was rebutted, he then would answer the rebuttal. He held daily discussions about the gospel and the Word. Questions would be asked, objections raised, answers would be given, scriptures argued about. This is very clearly not a Sunday morning sermon kind of situation. I imagine that people would wander into these daily Bible studies from all walks of life and all points of view. Paul would welcome them in and educate them about the God of the Bible and of Jesus and their need for a saviour.
What is the point for us here? My philosophy of preaching has been greatly affected by these passages of scripture. I grew up in SBC churches and heard tons of Sunday morning evangelistic sermons. Those were great and there is a huge need for those kinds of sermons now and forever. However, we live in a post-Christian, post-modern world today. This changes the model of evangelism. No longer is it really practical to invite someone to one service to hear just one evangelistic sermon. They really need to attend for several weeks to get the full flavor of the gospel. My preaching style has a lot more teaching in it than most in the church were comfortable with when I first started here 12 yrs. ago.
I grew up going to various evangelistic courses developed by SBC. I do not use any of them. They still have some merit but people of today are closer to the people Paul ministered to in ancient Greece. They need education, arguments, evidence, discussion and debate in order to understand the gospel. The SBC has always promoted SS as an evangelistic ministry. We really need to get lost people into home or office Bible studies or SS so that we can reason with them and argue and present evidence and answer questions.
So the church desperately needs to educate our society in the Bible and the gospel. You can call this pre-evangelism.
2. The church needs to bring as much of the Word of God as possible into the public discourse. I have read of college professors today, even in Christian colleges, who are amazed at the lack of knowledge of the Bible amongst the students. These are literature professors primarily, who are distraught about the inability of students to understand the classics of Western Lit. because there are so many biblical references throughout our literature. In other words, it is hard to understand Milton, Shakespeare, Defoe, and even Steinbeck, if you don’t have a basic familiarity with the Bible.
If we keep scripture out of the public forum and keep it inside the church walls, we are aiding and abetting the devil in promoting ignorance. Even in Hollywood movies like the 10 Commandments we see that in the old days scripture could be brought to the forefront of culture in a positive manner. That seemed to change in the 1960’s. This is why Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion was so important. It brought the gospel onto the big screen and into the news. Last year there were a couple of other movies that did that, Luther and The Gospel of John.
The ACLU and the liberal judges are doing their best to eliminate any religion from the public forum in the schools and government. I have in my hand two textbooks from the Dallas public schools; Bible Study courses for credit in the NT(1946) and OT(1954).
3. The world thinks that the church is harmful at worst, irrelevant at best; we need to educate the world about church history and our contributions to Western civ and today’s world.
Posted: September 8, 2004
5:00 p.m. Eastern
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
Former Vice President Al Gore has compared President Bush’s Christian faith with fundamentalist Islam, saying it emphasizes “vengeance” and “brimstone.”
In an interview with the New Yorker, Gore, who says he’s a Southern Baptist, expressed disdain for Bush’s public declaration of his faith.
“It’s a particular kind of religiosity,” he told the magazine. “It’s the American version of the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia, in Kashmir, in religions around the world: Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim. They all have certain features in common.
“In a world of disconcerting change, when large and complex forces threaten familiar and comfortable guideposts, the natural impulse is to grab hold of the tree trunk that seems to have the deepest roots and hold on for dear life and never question the possibility that it’s not going to be the source of your salvation. And the deepest roots are in philosophical and religious traditions that go way back. You don’t hear very much from them about the Sermon on the Mount, you don’t hear very much about the teachings of Jesus on giving to the poor, or the beatitudes. It’s the vengeance, the brimstone.”
Posted: July 7, 2004
4:45 p.m. Eastern
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
Robert Reich, the former U.S. labor secretary under President Bill Clinton, believes people who follow God pose a more significant threat to the modern world than terrorists do.
“Terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face,” writes Reich in a column titled “Bush’s God” published in the American Prospect.
Reich begins his column criticizing the Bush administration as he pushes for a liberal understanding of America’s separation of church and state.
He uses the term “religious zealots” and says their problem is that “they confuse politics with private morality.”
Reich concludes his column by taking aim at those who believe in God:
The great conflict of the 21st century will not be between the West and terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, not a belief. The true battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is mere preparation for an existence beyond life; between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma. Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face.
Liberals tend to loathe and hate the church and outspoken Christians. What amazes me is that many good Christians keep voting for these God haters.
The church needs to educate the world about who we are and what the church has done through the centuries. In essence we need to hire a PR firm or something similar for conservative evangelicals. Although there are some problems with celebrity Christians, they have an important ministry in the broader culture. Athletes and actors can be helpful in this regard. Chuck Norris has just released a book and has been interviewed a lot and made numerous appearances. This is quite helpful.
II. The Church Needs To Educate Our Converts
1. Obviously we need to teach the Bible. SS is not nearly enough! We need something that bridges the gap between SS and Bible College. We have to get serious about teaching the Bible. This also goes way beyond basic discipleship. We used to have the study course program, I guess we still have it. I know we have an annual doctrine study. We need an ongoing teacher training program too.
We have to teach not just Bible stories but also Bible Doctrine, biblical backgrounds, ethics and morals, philosophy and apologetics, church history and missions, and church music from the Psalter to Bach to the great hymns of the faith and including piano, voice, organ and other instruments.
III. The Church Needs To Join In Educating Children
A. Problems with State education.
1. Schools are not safe today. An extreme lack of discipline. Just this last week a student got arrested at AHHS for bringing a gun to school, a teacher spotted the gun and tackled the kid. Just today in the Boston Herald paper is a story of another Columbine plot at Marshfield High School. This past week down in Austin another Columbine style plot was broken up by police. These are the big examples but my kids have told me of flagrant ongoing disrespect and bad behaviour in the classrooms at school. When you do away with the basis of right and wrong, God’s Word, then there is no reason to obey authority. When the 10 commandments are removed this is what you get. Kids know there are no consequences for their misbehaviour.
2. Schools have a poor educational philosophy today. This is seen in numerous ways, such as whole word or whole language reading instead of phonics. Our literacy rate is declining instead of increasing. We were a more literate culture 100 years ago than we are today. The average HS graduate had a better education 100 yrs ago than the average college grad today.
3. Schools have an anti-religious, atheistic, evolutionary worldview today. We see this in science, lit., history and the arts.
4. Schools are overburdened with bureaucrats and have undereducated teachers. Most school teachers graduate from college in the bottom third of their class. Many school districts have almost a 1-1 ratio of administrators to teachers, yet the average salaries of administrators is bigger than teachers. America consistently spends more money per student but is lower in ranking than most modern countries in education.
5. Multiculturalism (anti US, anti history) and unrestrained immigration.
B. Why should the church care?
1. Our kids are affected!
2. Ignorance is the devils desire! The Christian religion is the only thinking man’s religion that uses history, logic, evidence and high literature in its scripture. If the world around us becomes a vast wasteland, it makes it all the more unpleasant to live in and difficult to evangelize in.
C. What Should the Church Do?
2. Christian Schools- why Baptists haven’t done this on a big scale I don’t know.
3. Work on the public schools through prayer, legislation and politics, becoming teachers. By George Archibald
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published September 22, 2004
More than 25 percent of public school teachers in Washington and Baltimore send their children to private schools, a new study reports.
Nationwide, public school teachers are almost twice as likely as other parents to choose private schools for their own children, the study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found. More than 1 in 5 public school teachers said their children attend private schools.
In Washington (28 percent), Baltimore (35 percent) and 16 other major cities, the figure is more than 1 in 4. In some cities, nearly half of the children of public school teachers have abandoned public schools.