Will Southern Baptists Replace Public Schools?
Mainstream Baptist printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 09:01:49 AM EST
Thanks to Ethics Daily for calling attention to an article in the Florida Baptist newspaper by Ed Gamble, head of the Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools.  Here are some quotes from the Ethics Daily story:

"What is needed," Gamble continued, "is a new 'public' school system, one that is open to the public but owned and operated by the Body of Christ."

Gamble asked readers to imagine "what if" the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, opened its largely empty church buildings during the week to start thousands of Christian schools to replace America's public-education system.

"Funding is not the problem, faith is," Gamble said. "Would God honor such a grand vision for making disciples by providing every needed resource? He will!"

"Ask God to give us America's children," Gamble said. "When Jesus owns the schools, He will own the culture and the hearts of the children!"

Bob Allen notes that Gamble was opposed to the SBC resolution last summer that called for Baptists to pull their children out of public schools.  That resolution was not "mainstream," he said, "the language is inflammatory."  Though his language is not "inflammatory," Gamble's proposal is not "mainstream" either.  

Replacing America's public schools with a system of Southern Baptist indoctrination centers would only serve to advance the same cause that last summer's "Dominionist" resolution was attempting to accomplish -- the destruction of America's public school system.  A goal that has been on the minds of some Baptists in the South since the day that public schools were integrated.

The purges that Southern Baptists have conducted at their seminaries, on the mission field, and throughout the Convention demonstrates that their intentions have nothing to do with education and everything to do with indoctrination.

Genuine Baptists change lives and transform culture by the proclamation of the gospel, not by indoctrinating children into "a biblical worldview."  The SBC's organized attempts to impose that same "worldview" on the rest of American society by legislation and adjudication are not genuinely Baptist either.  

Southern Baptists have lost confidence in the "foolishness of preaching" in regard to changing hearts and transforming lives. They think it must be supplemented by what they call a "Kingdom Education."  Until Southern Baptists recover their confidence in the gospel and their respect for "soul liberty," they will continue to blame the public schools and the culture for the failures of their own scapegoat blaming preaching and coercive public witnessing.

This entry is cross-posted from the Mainstream Baptist weblog.

A month ago a wealthy businessman in Oklahoma City challenged me when I said Southern Baptists were trying to undermine the public school system.

I suspect he thought they merely supported vouchers.

What few people acknowledge is that vouchers for religious schools will eventually re-segregate public education.  This time on the basis of religion rather than race.

In the end, that will create more volatile divisions than race or ethnicity.  

Religions make absolute truth claims that some use to provide justifications for extreme forms of violence.  

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