Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
Scot McKnight, in his commentary on 1 Peter 1:1,2 thinks of ways that Christians have become exiles in North America and he brings up the topic of education. I resonate with his analysis. He outlines how, in the church, there were those who entertained higher criticism and questioned biblical authority and emphasized social justice. Opposed to them was a group that emphasized biblical inerrancy, and the fundamentals of the faith, but in their focus on the spiritual they left the physical aspects of living unaddressed. The former group engaged society in universities, the latter group withdrew and founded their own Bible colleges, like the one I teach at. As a result, the biblical Christian voice has become marginal and disrespected in universities and colleges around the country. It is seen as a quirky, private way to view life. Public life is free from religion and free from the strife it brings. Christian views are attacked openly at the college level, often with open prejudice and little academic rigour. I know this from first hand experience where I was attacked repeatedly because I differed from the Marxist Christianity my undergraduate professor espoused.
This seeps down into our schooling. Many Christian parents try and read the Bible with their children at home, especially when they are little. However, God has no part in most Americans’ schooling and media consumption. Then I began to think about my identity. I know that the commentator I read today sees this, but am I a prophet? It sounds arrogant and presumptuous, but the prophets of old just spoke the truth into their times. Are we to own a title like ‘prophet’? It does not fit with the identity that I see within me. I see ‘fool’, ‘jester’, and ‘worthless’. However, my vision may be skewed by the lies whispered from the darkness in moments of weakness. In God’s strength we may own those titles the Bible gives to us. We are priests, we are prophets and we are princes and princesses in the Kingdom of God. Such titles awaken in me a longing to live out the calling that God issues. However, I shrink back as voices from the past attack me and tear me down. I think, though, that as I develop the voice that God declares is mine, I will warn anyone who will listen that the education we have chosen because it is public and ‘free’, has a cost that is pervasive and profound. When we teach in any venue and God is not central and the scriptures do not inform our teaching, we must expect results where biblical thinking is absent and God is not glorified. Indeed, that is the exodus from principled living that we are seeing. Surely somewhere someone must stand up and question why those who want to preach Jesus in the classroom are exiled and who want to disciple children can only be sojourners in public education. This earth is not our home. However, can we take on the task of education so that we are teachers whose children are shaped by eternal truth and timeless principles?
Father, I do not think it is for us to declare that we are a prophet. However, I do think that we must stand for truth in an age that silences God in education, media, and commerce. May we speak up for the God who defines us. May our identity be in you. If we find ourselves on the fringes, may we remember that it was ever so. May we be encouraged by our brother Peter, who after writing this book make a stand to the point of death.
- How are Christians aliens today in the media?
- How are Christians aliens today in the education system?
- How are Christians aliens in commerce?
- Are there ways that you do not quite fit in because you are following Jesus?
- What message has Jesus uniquely prepared you to share?