Resolutions calling for an “exit strategy” from public schools will be submitted at every state and regional convention in the continental United States this fall, advocates of the “exodus” movement announced Wednesday.
Members of a Southern Baptist Convention resolutions committee were divided this summer over a proposed resolution that would have called on Southern Baptists to develop a strategy for removing kids from public education, giving emphasis to the needs of orphans, widows and the disadvantaged.
The impasse meant messengers at this year’s SBC annual meeting in Greensboro didn’t have a chance to debate or vote on the “exit strategy” notion, first proposed by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler.
While the setback was widely reported as a defeat in mainstream media, exodus proponents insist the movement is still gaining steam. The number of resolutions submitted to state conventions, typically held in October and November, has grown yearly, from 15 states in 2004 to 25 states last year.
An SBC officer, Second Vice President Wiley Drake, is sponsoring one such resolution in California.
“Southern Baptists, and Christians generally, need to plan a Christian educational future for our children,” Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., said in a press release.
Another resolution is being proposed to the Missouri Baptist Convention by Roger Moran, a layman and representative of the SBC Executive Committee.
“Although changing the hearts and minds of people is often a slow process, attitudes about how we educate our children are changing within Southern Baptist life,” Moran said. “Increasingly we are recognizing that if we are going to profess the name of Christ, then our lives should be a testimony to authentic biblical Christianity. Yet, how can we expect our children to have that testimony when they are ‘trained up’ in secular public schools to have a secular mindset that excludes the acknowledgement of God and the Word of God at every point?”
Bruce Shortt, a co-sponsor of the tabled exit strategy resolution at this year’s SBC meeting, says he sees a transformation coming.
“The experiment with government schooling has failed,” Shortt said. “What Baptists need to do now is create a new public education system, a system that is public in the sense that it is open to everyone and that takes into account the needs of orphans, single parents, and the disadvantaged. With our existing buildings, our talented people, and the educational technology available today, it is now possible to create rapidly an affordable, effective Christian education alternative to the government schools. This would truly be the most important and effective domestic evangelistic initiative in the history of the SBC.”
Drake said Christian parents are obligated to provide their children with a Christ-centered education, but children’s faith and worldview is influenced more by five days a week in school than religious instruction in the home and church.
Further, Drake said, “The open collaboration between homosexual activists and many school districts, together with the overall level of crime and violence in the public schools, make the public schools an unsafe place for our children.”
Moran, the other co-sponsor of this year’s SBC resolution, said he believes the day is coming “when Southern Baptists will see with absolute clarity that the making of disciples must include the systematic training of our children into a biblical worldview through the education process that we now call K through 12.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.