That TGC Debate About Christian Parents Sending Their Children to Public Schools

That TGC Debate About Christian Parents Sending Their Children to Public Schools The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show

It’s curious to note the double-mindedness of the people of Israel where their relationship with God and with Moses is concerned, as they’re in that interim between Egypt and the Promised Land.

Sometimes they do precisely as they’re told, or pledge to; other times, they grumble and complain so fiercely they are ready to pick up stones and stone Moses and Aaron so they can appoint new leaders to take them back to Egypt.

Take the following passage, for instance:

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”

Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.”

– Exodus 20:18-21

Do you catch how they dislike being afraid?

‘Just tell us what to do, Moses. We don’t want God to speak with us directly.’

Also, it is almost amusing that the Israelites suppose Moses could “not let” Yahweh do anything, much less speak to His people.

What, is Moses a bouncer here? Is he the administrative assistant who stops the lower level manager from going in to talk with the VP because he’s not to be disturbed?

‘I’m sorry, they’re in a meeting right now, and not to be disturbed under any circumstances. Would you like to leave a message?’

If that’s what Israel believes, they pretty clearly put themselves in the C-Suite, and Moses is to run interference for them with the Most High, like some sort of shift lead, or frontline supervisor. It’s just plain silly.

Yet this is no small part of what, unperturbed, continually causes conflict between the Israelites and their God. They really do think they know better!

It’s almost as though they and their ancestors have been marinating in Egyptian slavery for four centuries. And even at the prospect of newfound freedom, all they know of what freedom is like is to act and reason like their former master the Pharaoh.

As the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:33:

“Bad company corrupts good morals.”

But then they were also bad company to one another immediately before moving to Egypt. Recall with me how they came to that country in the first place, when Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him out of jealousy, then settled on the mercy of merely selling him to a passing caravan of slavers.

Thus, and just so, we should come to the “Good Faith Debates” episode from TGC exploring whether Christian parents in America should send their kids to public school like Jen Wilkins and her husband did.

Spoiler alert: it really wasn’t a debate.

And this underlines the problem, as I see it, with the state of mainstream Christianity in America today. We all are so quick to agree to disagree, but we have so little appetite for being challenged, questioned, examined, and disapproved of.

Sure, for kicks and grins, we occasionally stage the equivalent of what three millennia or so ago might have been a parallel expression of two positions – like whether God’s people can continue on to freedom in the Promised Land, or go back to chattel labor in Egypt.

“At least they know how to bury people properly there,” the high-profile women’s ministry leader says. And the less well-known pastor nods somberly and supportively, all the while pointing out the mild legitimacy of going forward as God commanded.

But then, at a certain point, he has the temerity to reference what specifically, precisely, and exactly God actually said. So she thanks him for mansplaining things she’d never heard before, and he promptly cools his jets, as we can only assume is the proper response.

Some day the both of them, and we as the audience to boot, may get to hear what the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 1:10.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

But this is not that day. Apparently such does not pass for “good faith” in all circles. That’s still 1,500 years or so to come, and we don’t want our mock debates going off the rails and upsetting anyone.

Nor either, and all the less, since it is downstream, are we conversant with what a certain American president another 2,000 years after will say about the nature of the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union:

“So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride—the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”

– Ronald Reagan, “Evil Empire” (1983)

No, these are not the mindsets put forward in our “good faith debates.”

If they were, we might find ourselves in something more closely approximating the modern nation of Japan realizing just recently, after over three decades of putting the wrong facts and figures officially in their textbooks, that they have 14,000 islands instead of 7,000.

That is to say, we are only getting half the number of islands. And, just so, or in a very similar way, we are only getting half of a good faith debate from TGC, on the question of public schooling, and also on many other questions, wherever such questions might threaten the faux unity around the loosely defined evangelion we are supposedly together for.

I think the reason for this has a lot in common with what Israel tells Moses about not letting God speak to them directly, lest they die. It’s not so much the fear of the Lord as it is the fear of the fear of the Lord.

After all, what would the Egyptians think? Maybe the only thing we have to fear is the fear of the Lord itself.

To repent, or not to repent, that is the question.

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