The battle of worldview education

Churches and families must lead the way

Schools, both public and private, have become propaganda centers for the humanist-progressivist-secular worldview, and on May 22 Texas joined several other states in saying, “Enough!”

Wallace Henley, former Senior Associate Pastor of 2nd Baptist Church in Houston, Texas.
Wallace Henley, former Senior Associate Pastor of 2nd Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. | Photo by Scott Belin

On that date The Texas Senate joined the Texas House in banning critical race theory from Texas schools. Knowingly or unwittingly those senators and representatives followed the admonition to civil leadership given in Romans 13 to encourage good.

“Texas roundly rejects the ‘woke’ philosophies that espouse that one race or sex is better than another and that someone, by virtue of their race or sex, is innately racist, oppressive, or sexist,” said Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

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Yet this is the worldview promoted through what I call the “Consensus Establishment”—the elites of Information, Entertainment, Academia, Politics, and the Corporate.

These are unitedly determined to force compliance with critical race theory which investigative journalist Christopher Rufo believes “is fast becoming America’s new institutional orthodoxy.”

To understand, “it helps to begin with a brief history of Marxism,” Rufo said in a Hillsdale College speech March 30. Every Marxist regime “racked up a body count of nearly 100 million of their own people,” and “are remembered for their gulags, show trials, executions, and mass starvations... In practice, Marx’s ideas unleashed man’s darkest brutalities.”[1]

In 1985, hardly anyone would have believed that American public education would become a propagator of Marxist thought. However, this is what a research team revealed through a report in the New York Times, December 1, 1985.

“In compliance with the (Supreme) Court’s decisions, most public schools have banned the teaching of religion,” said the team’s leader, Jonathan Friendly. “In doing so, they have effectively suppressed the teaching of religiously-grounded moral values.”

But if secular schools taught moral values, then the obvious question is: Whose values? Values arise from worldviews, so what will be the worldview from which the values will emerge?

What was moral neutrality in the public classrooms in New York and elsewhere in 1985 is now advocacy of immorality in many schools. Failure to do anything about concerns expressed thirty-six years ago has led us to the social and cultural tragedy we face now.

Who can stop the onslaught?

Since court actions forbid the explicit teaching of Bible-based Judeo-Christian principles, the biblically informed family and church must be at the forefront of battle.

This means churches should initiate worldview formation programs to first equip family leaders to teach worldview to their children, and to augment those studies through “worldview academies” based at the local church.      

The need is as great now as it was in ancient Israel in the period described in Judges 2. After the passing of generations that knew and walked with the Lord eventually there came a generation “who did not know the Lord or the works He had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10-13)

After many decades, the very memory of the nation’s unique history and God’s engagement with it was lost and the society fell into spiritual, social, cultural, and moral chaos. The younger generation, trained by adults with fading memory, forgot their history and values altogether, and turned away from the Lord to worship the idols of their existential moment in time and space.

Tragically, this is a picture of contemporary Western Civilization, whose history flowed out of both Judaism and Christianity.

Thus, the solution given in Psalm 78 speaks to modern nations who have lost their way as well as those in antiquity: “For (God) established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the coming generation would know them—even children yet to be born—to arise and tell their own children that they should put their confidence in God...”

Practically, according to this passage and others, the ideal is that the family be at the forefront of their children’s education—especially when it comes to worldview, morality, and ethics. The parents are to make the key decisions regarding their children’s educational journey and play a significant leadership role.

Education in the early New England Colonies was usually a partnership between home and school. Worldview formation, while not recognized formally, was a major goal. The “Old Deluder Satan Act” aimed at teaching children to read and know the Bible so they would embrace the worldview described there, and sustain it, and moral boundaries, and not cross them.

What was true then is still true. Old Testament Israel shows how spiritual-philosophical-social-cultural entropy pulls entire societies away from a healthy, transcendent understanding of themselves and the way they see the world with which they engage daily.

The spiritual is foundational in worldview for good or bad, depending on the belief system that comprises a particular religious view. Therefore, the need for worldview education is at the front door of every home and church.

This is radical—but in the original meaning of that word: “root.” Such a strategy was at the roots of ancient Israel in its best times and sustained the nation through a remnant that would not turn loose of the root-worldview in the worst of times.

If we desire a nation built upon, governed by, and manifesting Judeo-Christian values as embedded in the biblical worldview, then we cannot look to today’s secular institutions.

Thank God for state legislative bodies that cry, “Enough!” But families and churches must act on the freedoms of belief and speech that good civil authorities seek to defend, by educating future generations to think and see the world from a biblical perspective.

[1] Rufo’s text appears in the Hillsdale College publication, Imprimis, March 2021, Vol. 50, No. 3.

Wallace B. Henley’s fifty-year career has spanned newspaper journalism, government in both White House and Congress, the church, and academia. He is author or co-author of more than 20 books. He is a teaching pastor at Grace Church, the Woodlands, Texas.

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