Friday, May 26, 2006

Dr. Beam's Response

Dr. Tony Beam recently blogged about how Christians Are Needed in the Public Schools. I wrote a Another Pastor Speaks Against Homeschooling in response. He emailed a reply to me. Since his response is lengthy, I'll print it here in its entirety and comment in a separate post. Here's what he said,

You are a very wise and articulate defender of what you believe and I have nothing but respect for your stand. In my reply, I want to affirm to you again my whole-hearted support for homeschoolers and for private Christian Schools. I had the privilege of speaking at a chapel program at Pleasant Grove Christian Academy last week on the issue of separation of church and state. Just recently, I conducted a seminar for homeschoolers at Piedmont Community Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina on the importance of possessing and expressing a well developed Christian worldview. My children have been homeschooled, participated in Christian School and they have attended the public school. My 14 year old daughter has quite a ministry going at her Middle School. She regularly brings home girls from broken homes who are hurting and confused. We try to minister to them as a family offering a place of stability where they can see Christian principles at work. They often want to come home with my daughter over the weekend so they can attend church with us. Two of her friends have accepted Christ as their Savior because Allison cared enough to befriend them and share the Gospel.

I do not want to be considered to be "a pastor speaking out against homeschooling"....I do not oppose homeschooling in any form. I support people who believe it is the right way for them to educate their children. My problem lies with the idea that people who do not homeschool their children or send them to a Christian School are somehow sinning against God. I don't believe every Christian or every Southern Baptist for that matter is going to pull their kids out of the public school. Those who chose to stay should be equipped to take on the darkness they find, not criticized for staying in the fight. Certainly, as you pointed out, children alone are in no position to fight this battle. But the children of Christian parents shouldn’t be alone. They should be backed up and supported fully by parents who are fully engaged in the battle. When a 3rd grade teacher decides to include the homosexual agenda in some manner in his or her class, the Christian parent should be aware because they are actively involved in what they children are doing in school and they should respond. They should teach their child why what the teacher says is wrong and then join with other Christian parents to demand change.

As far as what Jesus did before He was 12, the Bible is silent. You are assuming that He was not taught by anyone but his parents but that is an assumption made from silence. And what about Jesus appearance before the teachers in the Temple...would you suggest that he shouldn't have engaged them in discussion because they might influence Him in a negative way since He was only 12? And yes, it is true Jesus went home with His parents but it is also true when he was confronted by his mother He made it clear that His debate with the teachers was, "His Father's business." I believe every time we engage this lost world and attempt to replace the darkness with the light we are tending to the Father's business. I think for everyone to be called to step away from the public school is giving up the ground to the devil. What if every born again believer removed their children from the public school system? Some say the system would collapse and yet do you really believe our country is going to allow the total collapse of free public education? I think rather than the system collapsing you would simply create a completely godless enterprise that would turn out a generation of children with no hope because they have nothing but darkness as an example.

I certainly hope your comments about my preaching in a Christian church, teaching in a Christian college and having a talk show on a Christian radio station were not intended to insult me. Saying that I sit back in my "cloistered office of Christendom giving marching orders" is unfair. As I mentioned to you in a previous e-mail, I recently debated church/state separation with the head of the ACLU and a representative from the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. I am constantly looking for opportunities to leave my "cloistered office" and engage the culture with God's Truth. I assure you, I am daily in the battle.

I certainly understand principled people are going to disagree with my position. I do not claim to be the final repository of knowledge and therefore have some inside track on being right. I thank you for your response and I will pray for you as you continue to serve God in the way He leads you.

I wrote my response here. I'd also appreciate hearing what others think about what Dr. Beam has said.

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