May 10, 2021

Will the Bible Be Taught in Georgia Schools?

Open Bible

This past Sunday evening we watched a sermon from Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis.  One of his central arguments for the need to defend the Bible “from the very first verse” is because we are living in a society that no longer has the Bible as a familiar frame of reference.  The number of children today that don’t know who Cain was, what Jesus did, and even who wrote the Ten Commandments are increasing.

But it’s not just the Creationists that are seeing this as a problem.  Some secularists and historians view this as a problem, but not for the same reason.

Supporters say fully understanding history, literature and political science — from the writings of Martin Luther King Jr. to the war in Iraq — requires knowledge of the Bible.

“I don’t think you can understand Shakespeare, that you can understand a great deal of literary allusions or that you can understand a great deal of Western civilization without understanding the role of the Bible,” said Pennock, a former Western civilization teacher.

The reason why schools are so hesitant goes back to the fallacious Separation of Church and State.  Schools are afraid of the lawsuits that will be brought, even though the Supreme Court and the local legislature have given the green light to teaching the Bible as literature.

The question is, should Christians support this?

On the one hand, anything that presents the Bible to people should be something we desire.  The Bible can stand on its own, it does not return void, and the more people know about the basic stories the less we have to do in witnessing to get people to understand the concept of a Creator God.  In essence, if people are instructed on what the Bible says about sin, death, and history, even though they may not believe it, you have a common starting point.

Conversely, If the Bible is presented by someone that does not agree with its teachings, the entire time could be taken up with exploring alleged contradictions.  I’ve seen this at work in a recent issue of Newsweek where the front page advertised a discussion between Rick Warren and Sam Harris.  What was sad was the fact that there was this huge introduction that basically cast the belief of God as an improvable belief, and evolutionism as fact.

But it went further than that.  The article before was about the Geico caveman.  It referenced Evolution as truth.  The one a little further about Will Smith being the most popular actor started with a reference to Stephen Gould’s explanation of evolutionary change over time.  The whole issue reflected evolution as truth from cover to cover, but paid lip service in one part of the article (the discussion itself) to being balanced.  It placed more criticism on the Christian.

The point is, I’m not sure if teaching the Bible in schools is a good thing if it’s not in a spiritual context.  God can use it, but it also means that people could use the opportunity to bash it.

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15 thoughts on “Will the Bible Be Taught in Georgia Schools?

  1. Actually, teaching the Bible in literary context is the proper way for it to be taught in the public schools. It is the church that is called to preach the word and expound it in a spiritual sense. The public schools are arms of the State and it is not the State’s job to do this (whether it is the State’s job to compel attendance in their schools is another important topic).

    J Gresham Machen and Michael Horton are two Christians who have written about the danger of turning watered-down Christianity into a Civil Religion. This is a very pluralistic society as far as religion goes, and it’s really fine in a temporal sense if non-Christian people mock the Scriptures. There have been people doing this since Cain. The Scriptures themselves tell us the the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but at the same time, God’s word will not return to Him void. God certainly could reach people even if the Bible is taught in a literary way, by opening their eyes to the truth of it. That is the only way anyone “gets it” anyway, even if they have sat in church their whole lives. God can and will deal with the mockers in His own time. Either they will be regenerated or they will be judged in the coming judgment.

  2. I guess I’m not as worried about the mockers as I am the twisters. Those that will take the opportunity to say “the Bible says this here, but contradicts it self here.” Or those the editorialize like in the articles I was reading, “the Bible says this, but we know that this is false from science.”

    Though I don’t expect that the public school should educate in spiritual depth, I don’t know that they can be neutral. If a twister got his hands on the Bible (and you can be sure that some would make it mandatory that you did not believe the Bible to teach it or some kind of monitoring would have to be in place) then it could result in more unbelief.

    Because, let’s face it, the Bible is an “in-your-face” type of book. It presents you with history and a challenge– do you accept this is as true? What do you do with Who it says Christ is and what it claims He has done? It’s hard to come away from a study of the Bible without having to wrestle with those questions.

  3. I can’t say I see a very big difference between mockers and scoffers. I would say that the serpent both mocked and scoffed when he asked “Hath God said?”

  4. Is the picture on this article seriously of a young girl and her mother, both with ample cleavage hanging out, studying GOD’s HOLY WORD?!?! My sensibilities are shocked!! :unsure:

  5. Jana,
    You said it.

    mrs. Meg Logan

    P.S. Samantha! Hello! longtime no see. good to see you back.

  6. I personally think it would be a very good thing if the bible was taught in school regardless of its context. The Word itself is powerful, and God much bigger than any attempts to “twist” or misrepresent the Word. Regardless of what was on the teacher’s agenda, God would use it for his good.

    When I first started reading the bible it was to fulfill a promise I made to someone. I was not saved and I was not trying to look at it in a Christian context. I would even go so far as to say that it was my goal to prove the bible said some things I now know to be unbiblical. Regardless of my goals or my intentions the Holy Ghost used the opportunities to change me. My reading the bible from cover to cover was the primary activity that ultimately lead me to Christ.

    There are many stories like mine out there. I’ve heard several where people have read the bible with the purpose of disproving it and instead have been lead to Christ. As a result their life has been transformed.

    I certainly agree that this is not always the case. I think we all know at least one person who has extensive bible knowledge, yet denies Christ. I do not think that reading the bible in a non-Christian context makes someone more likely to end up this way. While there are certainly people that will reject Christ regardless of the evidence put in front of them, the Bible itself is His Holy Living Word. Unless you have already hardened your heart, reading it reveals His nature. This in itself enacts change.

  7. Oh, on another note ;-), a friend of mine who grew up in Montpelier, VT, had the bible taught from a literary perspective in her school. Vermont is a pretty liberal state which really surprised me when I heard about this. I do not recall any lawsuits against the Montpelier School system but they might not continue to do this. I’ll have to ask about this next time I catch her online.

  8. I can’t argue that the Word is not powerful, regardless how it will be twisted. What I can say is that hearts can be hardened and it’s a lot easier to reach someone who is opened to discussion rather than being programmed one way or the other.

    I’m sure that there will be fair teachers, and that there will be those that exaggerate, twist, and program kids to fight the spiritual aspects of the Bible– because, let’s face it, the Bible has a way of bringing you to a point where you have to ask the question of whether you believe it or not. And if you do, then what are you going to do about it. You can’t escape it.

  9. I guess I just don’t think its possible to harden someone’s heart by giving them bad teaching. I certainly think someone can be mislead with bad teaching or twisted truths, but the actual hardening of their heart is a conscious decision to reject God. This is most clearly routed in disobedience, not in misunderstanding of knowledge about God. E.G. Someone’s heart gets hardened against God because they are mad that a loved one died, and make a decision that they do not want anything to do with God and will not follow Him.

    Pretty much everyone I know who I would really say their heart is hardened have had some experience that made it so they decided to reject God. It has had little to do with their knowledge about God. Now, after they have made this decision they come up with all sorts of explanations why they think any Truth doesn’t make any sense (which leads to all sorts of twisted truths and misconceptions). I don’t think it works the other way around though.

    The more you read the bible if your heart has not already been hardened, God will be revealed to you and you will be more aware of his Glory. Even if your heart has been hardened it is possible that through greater understanding His Truth’s your heart will be softened. If its not softened though, it will be hardened more. The Bible has a way of rarely causing an indifferent reaction. It either turns you further towards or against God.

  10. Although I understand what you are saying, Doug, I don’t know if it bears out– and I’ll tell you why. Over the past generation, we have had public school switch from being affirmative toward Christianity toward being antagonistic towards it. Science continually tells children that they are the products of chance, not created beings. Mathematics teaches logic over faith. Literature teaches humanism. And the list goes on.

    What has this done to children? For those that don’t attend church, it has lead to people that have no clue about Christianity except that “it doesn’t reflect reality.” When a child that has been taught millions of years as fact comes up against the Bible, they have to resolve this one of two ways– either the Bible’s wrong (which I’m sad to say is a lot of the reactions) to “science” is wrong.

    When we talk about Christian children who attend church, we see a greater apathy towards the things of God– why? Because we are a culture of reason, not faith. These kids know the scriptures, but they’re detached from them. Now, this is a problem in parenting, but it also reflects what’s going on in society.

    So, what am I getting at? What I’m saying is that if all day long a child here “millions of years, the Bible is wrong” and they get to a class that teaches the Bible as literature, they are going to think of the Bible as a book of fairy tales. Things that never happened but are good stories, nothing more.

    So, maybe harden isn’t the right word, maybe a lack of understanding that the Bible actually reflects what has happened and what will happen. If the Bible is given the treatment of the Iliad or other Greek dramas, then we have the problem of overcoming the concept that Noah’s flood isn’t just a nice story, but that it really happened.

    I’m not sure if that hurdle is bigger than the one where we present the Bible as fact in the first place.

  11. “over the past generation, we have had public school switch from being affirmative toward Christianity toward being antagonistic towards it. Science continually tells children that they are the products of chance, not created beings. Mathematics teaches logic over faith. Literature teaches humanism. And the list goes on.”

    If the bible was read as the contrary opinion I do not think this would not be an issue. The problem is that these issues are being dealt with abstractly without direct reference to the scriptures.

    “These kids know the scriptures, but they’re detached from them.”

    My experience have been that these kids know the stories as extracted from the bible, but have not read the Word for themselves. They may be “familiar” with the principles but what makes the Bible living is actually knowing its real words and reading it, not being familiar with the story of Noah or the story of David and Goliath. This is one of the atrocities of most Sunday school, they do not actually read the Word, they just “extract” bits and pieces and think they’re helping out.

    If public schools had children read the Bible and not just historical commentaries on it lives would be changed.

  12. I do not disagree with the latter, but I do not know how any public school would allow for the Bible to be presented in any way but literature. Literature that “is not true.” Obviously there are life lessons to be learned, and I go with you to say we are definitely not making the connection between the stories and the principles. But who makes the connection for the public school student who is antagonistic to the Bible before even opening it?

  13. Christianity is not a religion of principles, anyway. Non-Christians can share the same principles as Christians. What the Christian faith is all about is God Himself, about sin and redemption through Christ. Teaching about these things is not the job of a State institution, which is why it is appropriate to teach the Bible as an important, in fact indispensable, foundation of Western thought, but to leave the *preaching* of the Word to the church.

    The early Christians, at a time when the growth of the church was phenomenal and martyrdom was not just a word, lived in an utterly non-Christian State and society, and there was no admonition to try to take over the State, the schools, etc. and push “Christian morality” but to live quiet lives and “be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that it in you”.

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