How to Save America – Part II - Revelation Movement

Part –I: Thy kingdom come . . . in America
Part – II: Your Church Can Disciple America
Part – III: A Doable Proposal
Part – IV: America’s failed god needs retirement
Last week Ruth and I were on our way to Northfield, MA, to pray with Campus America on D. L. Moody’s campus, now being developed by my prayer-partner Dr. Stan Mattson as the C. S. Lewis College. We were inspired by Trent Sheppard’s powerful book God on Campus (IVP 2009) to pray for the campuses of America. Among other things the book tells the story of how in 1886 a student led prayer conference on that campus began America’s greatest missionary movement.
Driving from Boston to Northfield we passed the exit for Harvard University and then stopped in a small town for dinner. The headline in the local newspaper said that the police had busted a prostitution ring. Among those arrested were five prostitutes: Three of whom were “homeless” young women! The newspaper did not say that this homelessness was after more than a trillion dollars spent by American banks and Wall Street corporations such as AIG, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to fight homelessness in America; after secular capitalism’s compassion that sent the world into recession through liberal financing of homes for the homeless; after Wall Street had surrendered completely to secular economists, managers and lawyers that graduated from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford MIT etc. Indeed, America (and the world) needs to save these corrupt financial institutions and corrupting academic institutions: here’s how your church can help save America.
Part II – Your Church Can Disciple America
“I feel as if I’m sending my teenage boy to live, not in a college, but in a red-light district,” complained Anne.
“But why do you have to send him to that college?” I was curious.
content_The_church_played_a_pivotal_role
“Well,” answered Anne’s husband, Ted, “my grandfather was one of the founders. He built a steel factory here to supply the railways. He made a small fortune and built our church and that college. He believed that in order to build our nation it was more important to build churches and colleges than to build railways, which would be replaced by another mode of transportation anyway.”
“Ted’s father,” added Anne, “was the chairman of the college board when we studied there. He became a pioneer in making our city the Mecca of medical equipment. He wasn’t trained for it, but stumbled into that line after the railways went out of business and steel had no market.”
“Anne’s father also served on the college board,” Ted added. “He was a pastor, and the college belonged to our denomination.”
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“My parents,” Anne continued the story, “had no problem sending their daughters to the college. All my siblings graduated from there. That’s why we want John to continue our family tradition. The college still has a good reputation, especially in sports . . . but things have also changed.”
“Sexual permissiveness is not my primary concern,” Ted said, distancing himself from his wife’s thinking. “We’ve made our mistakes, and the children will make theirs. Hopefully they’ll learn, as did we. I have done stupid things. Anne and I have had our struggles like every other couple, and our failings have hurt our children. They know our weaknesses, but John doesn’t seem to appreciate God’s grace that made it possible for us to repent, forgive, and grow together as a family.”
content_My_Problem“Then why are you reluctant to send John there?” Anne asked.
“My problem,” Ted explained, “is that the college no longer turns the hearts of the children to their fathers. It undermines the important values of marriage and family. In our day the college promoted missions. Now, legalizing same-sex marriage seems to be the most important mission on campus. I’m not homophobic. My complaint is that the college no longer builds character, virtues and skills that are necessary for succeeding as a family, a business, or a nation.”
“John is a born manager—” Anne tried to turn the conversation in a positive direction, but Ted interrupted.
content_Management_is_in_his_genes“Management is in his genes. However, my father always said that managerial leadership is not merely talent and skills. It’s also character. Your team, your clients, your church, your family have to be able to trust that you’ll always act in the interest of your common vision and mission; that you’ll put people above profits; that you’ll act justly and love mercy. Your team will follow you if they know that you’re for them. When you have to act against one of them, the rest of the team doesn’t need to know all the reasons; they have to have the confidence that you discipline your subordinates only because you walk the path of righteousness and expect your team to do the same. That’s lovin’ your neighbor as yourself. That’s what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Your team and your community tend to trust you when they know that you are following the Lord with a clean conscience. That’s what made American management so successful and attractive, but these days education discourages children from trusting and following the Lord. No wonder the world is losing its confidence in our banks, institutions, and economy! Our managers are more educated than ever, but colleges no longer care about character. The church does, but the university drives students away from the church.”
“That’s the issue,” Anne said, putting the finger on the problem. “It will cost us $100,000 to see John through that college. This money will come from a family trust that Ted’s mother created when John was born. But we’re afraid this money will be spent only to help John lose his faith and the values that have been important to our family and its success. In Africa, $100,000 might see several dozen kids through college. Are we being wise stewards? John’s grandmother was very strict. She never would’ve given her money to send her grandchildren to the red-light district.”
content_Surely_the_professors_know“Surely the professors know,” I said to the couple, “that character is crucial for America’s economic success. So why doesn’t the college care about character?”
“I’ve thought about that a lot,” Ted said, “because the college is more than my alma mater; it’s a part of my family heritage, and I’m attached to it emotionally. I think the college does care about character. But the problem is that it has discarded its moral compass. Character requires having a stable North Star and following it scrupulously, no matter the temptations from within or the pressures from outside. God’s Word was the moral compass for our culture—our education, business, and politics. Both the church and the college taught the Bible and public figures cultivated respect for it. But now the college turns young people away from the Bible and the church. It leaves them to follow their pop stars or their own foolish minds and sinful hearts.
Without a moral compass they no longer know which of their ideas are noble and which are merely trendy or harmful. Without a compass they’ve become vulnerable to all sorts of Pied Pipers. That’s why we’re seeing lives shipwrecked all around us. If this Recession turns into a Depression, we may see 25% unemployment. I do not know what these unemployed and perhaps also homeless people will do to our country. I am sure, many will turn to crime and even affluent communities in country-side will become completely vulnerable.”
“I understand your dilemma,” I said to Ted and Anne. “Your forefathers built the churches that built colleges and universities for the glory of God. They knew that wholesome education should help students discover truth, cultivate character, grow in social skills, as well as acquire vocational skills and physical fitness. But now Satan has taken over the institutions your fathers built. First he gave them over to secularism and now, increasingly, to paganism. You can either lament this loss or seek the pioneering spirit of your parents to reclaim education.”
“But what can a family do?” Anne sounded skeptical.
“A family may not be able to do much,” I said, “but a church can certainly do more. It was through your church that your grandfather helped build that college. In fact, the church played a pivotal role in the Revolution that liberated America. Now it needs to liberate education from far more destructive tyranny of the secular lie that each child should become the compass of his own truth and morality.”
“But how?” Ted and Anne asked together.
“And why,” Anne continued, “would our church want to get involved in education?”
content_You_just_told_me“You just told me that your church started that college and that Anne’s father served on the College Board because he was a pastor. The Christian church is the mother of Western education. The church started all the universities in Europe and most of the early universities and colleges in America. It was only after World War I that states started universities, often for returning veterans who needed training for new jobs, either because women had taken over many of their jobs and were doing them well or because in their absence their families had been driven to mechanize farming. A State take-over of education meant that the church began losing America. The Church abandoned her responsibility to the world to educate and disciple her youth.”
“That’s true,” Ted agreed. “The separation of church and state has now come to mean the separation of truth and education, morality and education. American Education is in a mess because it is no longer under the moral and theological influence of the church. But how can an ordinary church teach subjects that require specialization?”
“Education has several aspects: worldview formation, character formation, life-skills formation, and teaching of vocational skills. John can still go to that college to learn management, but the church has to take back from that college the responsibility of helping him develop his worldview, character, and life skills. This could happen if John went back to your church for the first four years of college education, formed his primary friendships and community there, got established in his faith, received a Bachelor of Arts degree, and then went to that college for post-graduate studies.”
Anne, still unconvinced, commented, “One church here runs a high school, and it is frustrated with how parents and church leaders keep interfering with the school.”
content_That_was_an_important“That was an important reason why universities separated from churches,” I explained to her. “But don’t forget, secular schools face similar interference from all sorts of lobbies. That is what it means to be a democratic society. However, just as a wise pastor does not interfere with how you run your family, the church and the parents will have to learn to respect the carefully defined autonomy and intellectual liberty of the college. Not everyone in the congregation agrees with everything a pastor or a Bible teacher says. Nor would everyone in the church agree with how a college is run or what it teaches. A church chooses its pastor carefully and then gives him the liberty to teach what he believes is biblical. If the pastor is wrong, there are usually wise people in the church who will study the issue with him respectfully. So should college professors be open to intellectual or methodological challenges from others who may not be professionals but may be right on a specific matter. In subjects such as science, history, arts, literature, or economics, where the Bible gives us greater freedom to study and explore, there ought to be greater room for sincere differences of opinion. If a church is mature enough to respect teachers’ authority in the sphere of education, then a church and a college can benefit from each other and reinforce each other.”
Anne began to think positively. “I still don’t know how our church can do that . . . but come to think of it, the church does have empty classrooms from Monday through Friday. Plus there’s an immense amount of unused talent within the congregation—gifted teachers, managers, executive assistants—not to mention financial resources. If all of John’s friends were there the whole week, studying, playing, practicing music, and making films, they might want to keep coming on weekends, even when they go to that college. But tell me, how can the church double up as a college?”
“I’m not thinking of duplicating the kind of colleges that are already failing,” I assured her. “Academically, spiritually, morally, socially, financially, the education system in America is falling apart. The church doesn’t need to imitate a system that is boring students to death. It can create a new pattern.”
content_American_education“American education has certainly failed to inspire our younger son, Tim,” Anne added. “He doesn’t even want to go to college. I’ll be grateful if he completes high school.”
“Students that appear to be underachievers are only the first victims of this failing system,” I said. “In fact, the system is destroying your entire civilization. At best it prepares young people to earn a living. It doesn’t teach them how to live or to make sense of life. Pastor Rick Warren’s book Purpose Driven Life has had such a phenomenal reception because secular education has systematically deprived life and universe of all meaning and purpose.
“Obviously I don’t know what makes Tim uninterested in education, but I do know that many students become underachievers because their teachers never become their friends and mentors as Jesus did with his disciples. How many students have a teacher who takes personal and self-sacrificing interest in their education? President Obama says that he was inspired to study because his mother woke him up at 4:30 AM to make him complete his home work. When he complained, she would say, ‘Get up and do it—this is no picnic for me either.’ Parents can do that when you are young. Once you are as old as Tim, you may need an adult mentor who believes in you—even though you appear to be a failure—and takes an interest in your education at personal cost. A positive relationship with a teacher could inspire young people to put in the extra effort in learning. Most college teachers cannot relate with students in-depth because they see students for an hour or so, two or three times a week. Jesus was able to inspire his students to change the world because he became their friend. The problem may not be with Tim. The problem may be that the schools and colleges are not following Jesus’ model of inspiring and teaching students.”
“But,” Ted interjected, “realistically, how can a church succeed where experts are failing?”
content_Studies_are_showing“Studies are showing,” I contended, “that on average, parents who home school their kids are doing a better job than credentialed teachers in public schools. At college level, a church would need to replace parent-teacher with intelligent and motivated mentors who help a small group of students educate themselves with the help of a curriculum that some of us are developing.
“In our scheme, Monday to Friday, John and Tim will go to your church for ‘college.’ For four years 30 students will be a part of a small class with two qualified and trained mentors. They will stay with the same teachers just as the disciples stayed with Jesus the full time. His disciples didn’t change professors every few hours. Together this small group of friends and their mentors will devote an hour or so to studying the Bible, not just devotionally, but also “worldviewishly.” They will work through intellectual and moral questions raised by the text. The rest of the time will be spent on a carefully crafted curriculum. They’ll follow a modular system. They may spend a whole month studying politics—biblical and secular—with the help of Great Books, CDs, DVDs, Internet, satellite and live seminars. Another month may be spent studying literature or philosophy or science.
content_As_a_requirement“As a requirement for their Bachelor of Arts degrees, John and Tim will need to invest at least one evening a week in community service as a part of your church’s outreach to the community. John may tutor an inner-city kid from a single-parent family; Tim might drive an elderly person to the store. They could work with a small group in dreaming up and developing income-generating projects for single moms in community housing. John and Tim will be helped to think what it might mean for them to love their neighbors. They will study the problems and possibilities of the community they are serving, and conceptualize practical projects that could improve the community. This will include understanding actual beliefs and practices of the community and responding to them biblically. As part of their four-year degree program, they may come with me to India to study Paganism, go with an expert in Islam to a Muslim country or join their pastor for an educational trip to Israel.”
“This sounds interesting,” Ted exclaimed. “I know our senior pastor would be open to these ideas. He is very busy, but he is a visionary. He is concerned because his daughter lost her faith when she went to college. If he invited you, would you come and speak to our church on how this might work?”
“I would love to come to your church with my friends who are helping to turn these ideas into an education revolution based on Jesus’ model of apprenticeship. We would discuss the history and philosophy of education and apply Jesus’ apprenticeship model to our contemporary needs. We would also consider what is wrong with secular and ‘Christian’ education today and what your church can actually do to take back from the world those aspects of education that are destroying your nation.”
“We have a dedicated group of families in our church who could take this on,” Ted said. “And if they really do, I’ll suggest to our church that we train ten mature couples and help them buy or rent large houses so that students can stay with them for four years before going to live in the world. These Christian house-parents should become life mentors to young people, teaching them life skills, from personal devotions to dinner-menu planning to budgeting, shopping, cooking, cleaning, serving, hospitality, dating, dancing, gardening, and just getting along with difficult people.”
By now Anne was excited. “Man! If this happens, I wouldn’t think twice about sending my little Leah to live in a co-ed house when she goes to college. Tell me what we can do to make this happen.”
As a first step, send these eblasts on How To Save America to all your friends. That could turn these ideas into a California style wildfire.
Second, visit www.RevelationMovement.com and join our online community of like-minded people. Watch my 11 videos “Must the Sun Set on the West?” and begin serious reflection on how the Bible created the modern West and what is happening to it as it rejects its soul.
Third, encourage your friends to help us with their prayers, ideas and $20 per month to build a team that can turn this vision into reality.
Fourth, visit www.campusamerica.org and www.24-7prayer.com and get serious about prayer. See eblast I for this.

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