One of the best and worst things that ever happened to Christianity was its acceptance and mandatory practice during Emperor Constantine's rule. For the first time Christians were no longer being slaughtered for their faith. The days of Nero the terrible were over and a new day had dawned. But was this what Christianity was about? Jesus clearly stated that His Kingdom was not of this world. His message was that of serving one another, the first being last, and love for all people. It is said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. What resulted from Christianity being the official religion of the empire was the Crusades and the Dark Ages. Instead of inviting people to know Christ, people were jailed, tortured, and killed if they didn't accept Christ. This was not Jesus' way. The problem rested in the government identifying and exercising its own interpretation of Christianity. Many of our founding fathers were students of history and no doubt saw the mess made by the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. They had also experienced the hardship and issues with the Church of England themselves. Christianity in its empirical days was a fight between papal politics and reformation thinking. Why one story is told of a woman disagreeing with the course of action of the local political leader and after having shouted something, she walked into the forest. Meanwhile a storm came upon her city and lightning struck and burned down some houses. When the lady returned from her stroll in nature, she was arrested and charged as a witch. The people and magistrates claimed she had caused the storm to gather and burn down houses. After torturing her during constant interrogations, she finally agreed with their claims and she was burned at the stake. This is the result of Christianity being an official religion unfortunately. When it is the official religion, the head of such a state then gets to determine how it is applied and interpreted. If you ask many people today, Christianity has never completely recovered from those days.
The founding fathers had no desire to see this replicated in America and thus clearly established the Christian belief of God for America, but also clearly established the freedom for every individual to worship as he or she chooses without fear of persecution or retribution from the state. Many people can't connect those dots however and so they will read a phrase, make a judgment, and speak as if they hold four doctorates in wisdom. Our founding fathers were very clear that the Bible and especially the Ten Commandments was the basis for much of our law and foundation. When we lose sight of the Bible and its lessons, we lose sight of how this nation was started. Those offended by seeing Christ depicted in public places would fall over dead from offence if they ever really stopped and read the Constitution because you can't read our founding documents and not see God in them.
Abraham Lincoln said, "The philosophy in the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of politics in the next." In 1963, official prayer was taken out of school. In 1973, Roe v. Wade was passed and legalized abortion which started a brand new holocaust of unborn children. My generation and those a little before me grew up without that prayer and with the results of Roe v. Wade and all the cultural phenomenon that followed. Is it any wonder that less than 7% of my generation claims to have any commitment to a local church and Christ? Is it any wonder that it's my generation leading the way in the "Occupy" protests? Is it any wonder that it's my generation and the one below mine that Hollywood producers are claiming are clamoring for more TV sitcoms displaying homosexuality and abortion as normal everyday run of the mill things? And is it any wonder that without my generation's vote, President Obama would have never got into office. My generation led the charge and turned out to vote in droves unlike most any other election. We lost a generation and we're still losing generations in the church. We've lost the truth of the Word and our politics and behaviors are showing it.
The ultimate reason? We're Bible illiterate. Our kids are Bible illiterate. You used to be safe in assuming that people knew about Noah and the flood, Jonah and the whale, Jesus and the five thousand, Jesus and the cross, and the writings of Paul. That's no longer the case.
So what does this have to do with a Bible class in public school? Well it's obvious that my generation and those under me need the Bible and unfortunately the church isn't as effective as it once was. In school, you have a captive audience. Oh I know, there are laws that mandate that a teacher can't use his or her class time to espouse his or her religious beliefs and that's true and just. However, if you are a Christian like me, then you understand that power of Hebrews 4:12 (at least I'm assuming you do). This verse tells us that the Bible is alive and it has the ability to get inside of us and change us all by itself. This means that whether I preach a sermon from it or teach a theological or doctrinal position from it, the Bible is still true, alive, and digging down deep inside of us. However, if I'm teaching the many theories of Creation out of Genesis 1 and not teaching any one theory as the Gospel truth, the Bible is still true, alive, and digging down deep in us. Teaching the Bible doesn't have to be spiritual, but at the same time the Bible can't help but to be alive and bring a difference. Some 50 counties in Georgia have started Bible electives since State Senator Tommie Williams passed a law allowing this in 2006. Georgia was the first state in America to pass such a law. Many states have followed with Arizona on docket now. The law states the Bible is to be taught as history and literature which it certainly includes. Budget cuts and the economy have caused some of these counties to stop their classes considering the cost of books and a teacher. However, I hope to have a fix for that in Houston County and particularly in Perry.
I've just mailed a letter off to our Superintendent requesting his consideration for a Bible elective class. While money may be an issue in many counties and school systems, I'm of the belief that it doesn't have to be so in Perry. For one, I believe there are enough churches and citizens that would gladly help buy textbooks for students desiring to take a class in the Bible at the local high school. Secondly, no extra teacher salary has to be involved. First there may already be someone on staff at the school who could teach this class and would gladly do so. If not however, I will gladly volunteer to teach the class. How? Well here's my college degree coming in handy. I graduated in 2003 from Brewton-Parker College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education (7th-12th grades). I'm a certified teacher in Georgia in the fields of history, behavioral science, political science, geography, and economics. If the textbooks can come at little to no cost and a teacher is available for little to no cost, then a major issue causing concern with the elective in many Georgia counties is nonexistent.
There's so much more I could say, but I'll leave it here for now. All I can say is that I'm going to do my part, if it's by myself, to bring God back into the forefront of America and culture. Our students need Christ. Our families need Christ. Our nation needs Christ. Jesus not only wanted us to compel the people to come into the House of God, but He also set the example of going to where they were. At some point the church has to quit expecting the lost to come to church all on their own, and we've got to meet them where they are. The loss may come, but if the saved go out, the loss will be reached. I think taking the Bible to the high schools would be a great start. So the letter is mailed and we'll see what happens from here. If you support this measure, I'd love to hear from you.