Is a Secular Education Really Education?
I was recently introduced to the Nehemiah Institute (NehemiahInstitute.com). It was started by a gentleman named Daniel Smithwick in the mid-1980’s. Smithwick shares my heart to promote the restoration of the hearts of Christian fathers and mothers to their children in our country and make people aware of the crisis of education philosophy that has developed in the hearts and minds of the majority of God’s people. This crisis has resulted in a rapid decline of biblical worldview among Christians and more specifically, children of Christians, who are by and large growing up in both public and Christian schools today. The Nehemiah Institute is known for their unique worldview test called the PEERS test. PEERS stands for Politics, Economics, Education, Religion, and Social Issues. The PEERS test is a well-known, independently tested, and highly respected worldview assessment test that has been conducted since the late 1980’s. The following is a chart that demonstrates pictographically the rapid decline and crisis of faith that has occurred over the past 25+ years among “Christian” youth in America. These worldview test scores and trends reveal that today 90% of “Christian” young people who grow up in Christian homes but attend either public government or traditional private Christian schools, will develop a secular humanist/socialist worldview.
A score of 70 to 100 ranks the person within the Biblical Theism category for worldview.
A score of 30 to 70 ranks the person within the Moderate Christian category for worldview.
A score of 30 or below (including well into the negative range) ranks the person in the Secular (and depending how low) Socialist categories.
The top blue line represents <5% of all Christian youth who attend a worldview based Christian school.
The middle black line represents 10-12% of all Christian youth who attend Traditional Christian schools.
The lower red line represents 80-85% of all Christian youth who attend public/government run schools.
The middle green line represents 2-3% of Christian home schooled youth.
All categories need improvement, but clearly those Christian schools that have a strong focus on teaching worldview in all areas of their curriculum, who train their teachers to be effective in teaching worldview in all areas of their curriculum, and who have a specific mission and intent to ensure Christian worldview is taught in their schools have demonstrated the best scores to date.
This June 2015, as part of my dissertation research, I hope to use PEERS to test as many Messianic/Hebraic Roots people as possible (Lord willing during REVIVE 2015) so that we can determine whether this group has developed a more biblical worldview (or not) compared to their traditional Christian counterparts based on their approach to education, discipleship, and church doctrine. It will be interesting to see whether or not the difference in doctrine, discipleship, and community life will have an impact on worldview scores within the Hebraic Roots community in relationship to those within the traditional Christian church. My goal is to test at minimum 500 people. (It’s a 70 question test and takes about 20 to 25 minutes to take). The cost for this endeavor will be approximately $5,000. As such, I’m looking for sponsors to help me fund this effort. If you are interested in donating toward this important work, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While many people within traditional Christian circles are fearful of the Hebraic Roots community and its doctrine, what a wonderful witness this test could be if we do in fact score higher than the average Christian in a statistically significant way. However, no matter what the results tell us, such information is vital to know as we continue our efforts to pass the Gospel effectively to the next generation.
When the reality of the above chart sets in and we consider the statistical trends concerning the worldview of the majority of so called Christian youth today, not only does it signal the continued demise of the America we all once knew and loved, but it is no wonder 70% to 80% of “Christian” raised youth leave the church within their first year of college. For the sake of our children and our country we must speak out, make changes, and do all that we can to turn this trend around.
Sadly, the PEERS test shows that over the past quarter century secular humanism has even penetrated the majority of Christian schools. Only a tiny amount of Christian schools (less than 2%) have a specific focus on teaching biblical worldview and therefore have students who predominately score in the biblical categories. Homeschoolers too on average only score in the moderate Christian category as some parents also fail to teach and address Christian worldview issues and instruct their children concerning doctrinal foundations, because most assume their church is providing those basics for them (which they are not).
For the majority of Christian youth today, their primary form of discipleship has occurred at the feet of a secular humanist system of thought and education structure that is not going to change any time soon. What is needed is a mass exodusof Christian youth from the public school sphere and a serious focus by Christians toward teaching sound biblical doctrine and worldview to the next generation. Some will object that their children need to be “salt and light” in those secular schools, but the reality is that the majority of those students are becoming tasteless salt because they are not mature enough in their faith to overcome the assault they must endure (often without realizing it is even happening).
This issue is complex in that there are many variables involved that create the outcome measured by the PEERS test culturally, in the church, and within the system of education itself. Teacher influence, curriculum, and control all have a role to play, but so do other factors outside the classroom such as church experience, doctrinal exposure, and practical application and experience of that doctrine regularly in everyday life.
The bottom line is that secular education is not proving to be a “true” education at all. To educate for the sake of the body alone (i.e. for the sake of a “good job”), in secular schools in particular, does not meet the biblical purpose or definition of true education. In the end it leads only to folly and potentially eternal death. Such an education is not based on a Godly and biblical purpose and function of education itself, which is ultimately to bring glory to God.
For the sake of our children, our country, and future generations we must make personal sacrifices and do all that we can to ensure our children develop a strong biblical worldview before they leave our homes. It does not matter whether you have children or not. Everyone can share this information with every parent they meet. It all starts with arming parents with this vital information. Only then can the Spirit move in their hearts and we can begin to make a change.