Cedarville Magazine, Fall 2023

In a recent article by The Washington Post, the alarm was sounded for the mental health crisis in our public schools. There is a nationwide shortage of mental health workers in middle schools, high schools, and universities alike. The article states that our schools are 100,000 people short of mental health workers. Who is to step in? It’s you and me. It’s the teachers, the social workers, the Christ-followers who must bring hope to these dark places and difficult times. GOD IS WATCHING, AND THE WORK IS NOT IN VAIN Francis Schaeffer knew this when he said, “Regardless of a man’s system, he has to live in God’s world.” This is God’s world, so whatever systems are being implemented, disputes or clashes are taking place, they are occurring under the authority and sovereignty of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Whether disputing global warming, immigration laws, school choice, or school culture, all disputes are seen and governed by God. This truth gives the Christian a great comfort. A comfort that our work is not in vain. A comfort that God is watching, and He will reward those who diligently seek and trust in Him. It is also a comfort to know our God is a God of justice and righteousness, and we are to search out, fight for, and practice these truths as the Lord gives us capacity, especially in the classroom, a clinic, or social service agency. THE CAPACITY FOR CHANGE God is sovereign, but He has given us capacity for change. Pastor and scholar Carl F. H. Henry said it best: “If we seriously hope to shape these times, we cannot remain in a state of suspended animation between ecumenical pluralism for which enthusiasm has died, and evangelical unanimity that accommodates observable disunity.” And that is why our School of Education and Social Work exists. Our students are trained to shape the times by allowing their doctrine to drive them to duty for those in need. WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT EDUCATION? Education is important because God has given us the capacity to learn, think, and reason, and Christians believe these things should be done unto God. NonChristians believe these things can be done with whatever one thinks is morally right or economically advantageous. Education is important because it is within the parameters of what we understand about reality that drives what education should or could look like. So, important questions to ask are, “What values are driving the process of education?” and “What and whose agendas are driving the process of education?” I cannot fully develop the answers here but will offer a birds-eye view and a few reasons why we need more Christian teachers and Christian social workers all around the world and serving in the public square. Most people do not have an issue with education; the only issue is when a person's goals, desires, or values are not lived out in the educational system in a way that is agreeable and palatable for them, especially when people pay into a common pool to support education. For example, most people would say it is important to teach children to read. Although not always the case, there is a common value in teaching children to read. However, one may value a certain curriculum approach to reading that others do not value. That is where the problems arise. So, we can all say together, “Let's teach children to read.” The friction only comes when we have to decide on the approach. The approach shows what one values. When values are not met, resentment, disenfranchisement, bitterness, and separation occur. So, the problem of education can be seen as a value problem. You can replace the word “reading” in the above paragraph with writing, mathematics, morals and ethics, or chemistry, and the same will remain true. WHY IS THERE SO MUCH FOCUS ON WHAT IS HAPPENING IN SCHOOLS AROUND THE NATION? Albert Einstein once remarked, “We live in a day of perfect means and confused goals.” The Holy Scripture tells us, “Where there is no vision, the people will perish” (Prov. 29:18a, KJV). 1. There is a focus on education because people have agendas: political, social, emotional, spiritual, and financial. However, the people articulating the goals are articulating goals in opposition to what we know is true, and the vision is not for God’s kingdom to come. Our students are trained to shape the times by allowing their doctrine to drive them to duty for those in need. 23