A moment of truth is coming for every Christian school, every evangelical institution. The hour is coming when we will know where each Christian college stands, what each Christian school teaches, and whether these institutions will stand for biblical truth or crumble into the monoblob of progressive ideologies.
Now is the time for a great Christian institution in Louisville, Ky. Christian Academy of Louisville, one of the largest Christian school systems in the United States, operates four campuses and enrolls more than 3,000 K-12 students. . Organized by a coalition of independent Christian churches, it was closely identified with these churches and provided a viable schooling option for Christian families throughout the region.
The controversy exploded into local news headlines after a Christian Academy middle school teacher in a Christian worldview elective class gave students an assignment. They were asked to write an essay that would take the form of a letter to a young person their age and gender who might be struggling with homosexuality. The students were told to suppose they were writing to a good friend they had known for a few years and who attended their church: “The purpose of your letter should be to speak the truth with love and compassion to the person to whom you speak in a way that condones no sin. Try to persuade them of the goodness of God’s purpose for them.
The teacher’s instructions reminded students to affirm “that God’s purpose for them is good”, “that homosexuality will not bring them satisfaction”, and that “you love them even if you do not approve of their way of life”.
As a Christian theologian and educator, my first thought when I was shown the assignment was that the teacher had shown remarkable thought in constructing the project. The students were pointed to the goodness of God’s purpose, told not to affirm sin, and confirmed in their love and concern for their friend. Frankly, this task should be given to all adult Christians.
An adult would clearly fail the test. The parent of a student in the class disclosed the assignment to a member of the local LGBTQ community who told the media that the parent was “visibly and understandably upset with the assignment.”
This would be a parent who enrolled the student in an elective Christian worldview course at a Christian school and who was shown and acknowledged both the school’s doctrinal statement and the standards of expected behavior of students and parents. This same parent is then shocked—shocked– that the school was in fact functioning as a Christian school and was “visibly and naturally upset” by this assignment.
Predictably, other local media (joined now by a horde of national media) jumped on the story and outrage ensued. Anonymous parents were reportedly deeply disturbed by the discovery of the essay, and some former students expressed outrage. A former student, who acknowledged the institution’s Christian commitments, said she was saddened that the school still believed homosexuality to be a sin, “which I personally don’t believe”. The graduate then asked the school to “apologize and change the curriculum for the Christian Worldview class.” Of course, what these parents and former students, joined by outraged fellow citizens, are now demanding is that the school abandon Christian belief to teach a Christian worldview that would repudiate biblical truth and 2,000 years of teaching. Christian morality. That’s all.
Critics have blasted the school with accusations of hatred, discrimination, intolerance and indoctrination. But keep this in mind: every school seeks to indoctrinate. Believe me, the progressive educators who dominate most public school systems are absolutely committed to indoctrinating young children and adolescents into their worldview. This is precisely why families invest thousands of dollars to send their children to Christian schools. This is why an increasing number of Christian parents are homeschooling their children. These Christian families are determined to have their offspring indoctrinated in Christian truth, not secular progressivism.
Do not underestimate what this Christian school faces today. He is seen as “on the wrong side of history”, and there will be incredible pressure to try to get the school to change its ways, abandon its beliefs and appease angry parents, disgruntled former students and “concerned” local citizens.
The pattern repeats over and over again. A teacher at Christian Academy in Louisville was caught teaching Bible truth to students whose families enrolled them in a Christian school. Now the school board and administration must stick to their beliefs and deal with the explosion. Otherwise, a little abandonment will lead to an eventual collapse. The last thing the world needs is one more ancient Christian academy.
This moment of truth is coming for every school, and every Christian institution has an interest in preparing for it. But I can’t help but think of parents who are upset because they are getting what they paid for: a Christian education for their children. It seems that the greatest enemies of Christian education are not the secular powers outside the schools, but the cowardly agents of surrender within.
The fact that it all started with a parent overwhelmed by a mission confirming Bible truth leads me to offer this advice to the teacher: Obviously, some of your students need to write this letter to their parents.